HASHI Boardgame review

Hashiwokakero translated into English as ‘Build Bridges!’ is a Japanese game that sees players having to link islands together. Simple enough. However its a tad more complex. Each island has a number on the island and this identifies the number of bridges that can be built. Its a classic of sorts and it is one that has been around since the 1990s, when those who designed it at Nikoli (who were a prolific game designer) for the blossoming  magazine market. NSV Hashi might take some inspiration from this game but on the other hand it is also almost as similar and different as the substantive spaces of a house and an apartment in London. One being slim and speedy, the other being a card drawing colossus, where players compete and a solo variant adds multiple layers of direction and mis application. A game that takes it inspiration and runs a mile and more from it.


Inside the box is 4 wipe clean boards, with two sides. One marked A for the easy games and B for the harder test for players. This has a set of 18 islands. Four red flags and 4 blue flags. 4 Faber and Cassel pens and 18 cards. That is it. Lean but seriously sufficient.


Each player is handed a wipe clean board. A or B side is chosen. Easy or hard. Each given a pen. Now there is a solo version I will be outlining that via bold. Shuffle the 18 cards and then remove one card. Lay the rest face down. Now for both solo and multi, players have to chose an empty island and fill it with a number 3 or 4. This is the starter island. If you are playing solo, sort them into 7 in one pile and two others with 5 each. This is for scoring and I will get to that. Now turn the first card over and on it will be an island with a  number and a number of bridges. The island number can be put into any open island (you can only put this number into an island with a flag, once a bridge leads to it). Now work all the way through the cards, trying to get all of the bridges leading from islands and onto others, circling a bridge with the number of bridges required running from it. On the Solo game, end of the first set, check to see if you have circled the blue flagged islands. Second set, red flagged islands. You cant cross bridges or place a number in an island with more bridges running from it in both games. If you cant draw all bridges, you must not draw any!  


Hashi is a simple beast and one that I don’t feel needs heavy verbiage. It lives and dies on its simplicity and often it lives long and well. Reflecting a game that is both simple to learn and hard to master. NSV have allowed for its transportability and this motto of it ‘can be taken anywhere’ helps players to engage rapidly. This and its wipe clean surface and simple rules add to the ease of play.


A lovely simple game. A lovely simple game. It will not challenge some of those demanding game players.


I could see this really make everyone who plays it happy for its 20 or so minutes of brain ticking fun. I can see its replay value for sometime but in the long run, it will lose its momentum and then its play rate.




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