On occasion, I fancy a game that has no theme. Removing the possibility of fitting a square-pegged theme into a round hole, an abstract game just presents itself as a function of play, plain and simple. The coagulation of rules and component manipulations dictates its ability to provide a compelling gameplay experience—a foundational rule for any coherent game design. Perhaps this is why CMYK! caught my eye.
CMYK!, published by Kujiradama and Big Cat Games from designer Nagisa Kujira, plays 2 to 5 players in about 15 minutes.
The rules and setup for CMYK! are fairly simple. Depending on the number of players, stacks of 12 tiles are placed at the table within everyone’s reach. Players are dealt a private objective card and one public objective card is placed on the table. These cards offer bonus points, but the way to earn the majority of them is by creating hexagons. The hexagons are created from the tiles publicly available to everyone. Each tile has a shape and color on each of its three sides. The caveat is that in order to place a tile into the blossoming hexagon, any adjacent tiles must match the shape and color found on that side. This usually isn’t too problematic, only more so when one is attempting to complete a hexagon and needing to find that perfect match for two sides.
Once all the tiles are gone, players total up their completed hexagons, subtracting points for any wild tiles which were used in a pinch. Whoever has the most points, wins. There are some additional ways to extend out the game, but this is CMYK! in a nutshell.
After my first time playing this game, the feeling was reminiscent of Nine Tiles Panic from Oink Games. It has the pressure of time constraints while manically arranging components to reach peak score. As games start and finish within a quarter-hour, not doing one’s best only heightens the challenge for the next round. This presses it firmly into the filler category. It doesn’t take long to set up, the most time-consuming being counting and stacking the appropriate amount of tile piles. For that reason, along with the simplistic instruction, I found myself looking for opportunities to introduce it to others.
Credit: CMYK! Review