Inis - A Five Second Board Game Review

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Inis Board Game

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Ancient Ireland Comes Alive

Inis is a multiplayer game of area control set in a gorgeously illustrated fictional Ireland.  The game combines deterministic combat and drafting to create one of the most tense and perfect examples in the genre.  The victory system is fairly unique in that there are three separate methods of victory all of which must be declared in the action phase preceding the actual checking of victory conditions.  This allows everyone a chance to actually prevent the end of the game minimizing unsatisfying cheesy wins that everyone just happened to miss.

The drafting of cards is all done with the same set of cards every round which allows for a satisfying arc where you learn the power of the cards with each successive round.  The battle system is purely deterministic where you choose which player loses either a figure or card from hand each turn, but the rule that you can agree to lay down arms at any point makes battles both tense and humorous at the same time.

I have played this game upwards of twenty times and consider it absolutely perfect in its space.  It lasts about an hour avoiding the major flaw of the genre where one player can feel effectively eliminated for too long. It hits every note I want hit in this type of game: funny, tactical, political, and just some real almost stand up moments.


Mason Sokol
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Mason plays games and has opinions.

Articles by Mason Sokol

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Articles by Mason Sokol

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Summary

Inis
Inis is absolutely perfect in its space.  It lasts about an hour avoiding the major flaw of the genre where one player can feel effectively eliminated for too long. It hits every note I want hit in this type of game: funny, tactical, political, and just some real almost stand up moments.
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hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #295757 19 Apr 2019 09:44
I'd like to play this one at some point. Thanks for the review!
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #295758 19 Apr 2019 09:49
Inis is magnificent. I'm eager to try the expansion which comes out soon, but the base game is just such an elegant and smooth dudes on a map game with a core draft mechanism that is wonderful to grapple with. This game just feels so peaceful and serene while still cutthroat and vicious.
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #295759 19 Apr 2019 09:55
I enjoyed this game a lot more than I expected to.
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #295760 19 Apr 2019 10:09
Inis was wildly divisive in my experience. I thought it was cool, but enough people violently disliked it that I stopped trying to introduce it to people and eventually traded it away. One person called it Munchkin with a board 0_0

I also think its best with 2, and got less good the more players you added. Awesome 2p game.
BaronDonut's Avatar
BaronDonut replied the topic: #295761 19 Apr 2019 10:09
What a wonderful game. Sometimes the endgame can be a little tedious, with all the stop-this-person-they're-about-to-win that can happen, but for the most part it's such an elegant and engrossing experience.
JonathanVolk's Avatar
JonathanVolk replied the topic: #295762 19 Apr 2019 10:11
My favorite game of recent years.

I played Millennium Blades the other night, and I couldn't help but compare it to Inis. What To Do is an agony in both games, but the former because there are a Billion Things to Do, the latter because there are only 16 (and, really, far less than that per round, given the draft). Inis has been compared to chess in that it plays great even with two, and that it is probably "solvable", but you'd need to be a good Russian boy, blessed by the Bloc with all the time in the world, to do that solving.

AND it is distractingly gorgeous--the psychedelic art, the cards oversized like tarot, and the needlessly complicated jigsaw board pieces, make it a rococo, campy classic. I wish more board games aimed for the Celtic moon.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #295766 19 Apr 2019 10:48

JonathanVolk wrote: My favorite game of recent years.

I played Millennium Blades the other night, and I couldn't help but compare it to Inis. What To Do is an agony in both games, but the former because there are a Billion Things to Do, the latter because there are only 16 (and, really, far less than that per round, given the draft). Inis has been compared to chess in that it plays great even with two, and that it is probably "solvable", but you'd need to be a good Russian boy, blessed by the Bloc with all the time in the world, to do that solving.

AND it is distractingly gorgeous--the psychedelic art, the cards oversized like tarot, and the needlessly complicated jigsaw board pieces, make it a rococo, campy classic. I wish more board games aimed for the Celtic moon.


If you haven't played it, you should check out The King is Dead by Osprey. It's one of the best 3 player games I've ever played, and actually it's the only way I've played that game so far. Very lean, and I think up your alley.
JonathanVolk's Avatar
JonathanVolk replied the topic: #295767 19 Apr 2019 10:55
For the bargain price...

hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #295771 19 Apr 2019 11:39
Oh wow.... I think I paid $35. But I like you, so I'll let you buy mine for only $499!
MasonSokol's Avatar
MasonSokol replied the topic: #295773 19 Apr 2019 12:22

Ah_Pook wrote: Inis was wildly divisive in my experience. I thought it was cool, but enough people violently disliked it that I stopped trying to introduce it to people and eventually traded it away. One person called it Munchkin with a board 0_0

I also think its best with 2, and got less good the more players you added. Awesome 2p game.


I keep hearing that it is better with 2 than I’d ever imagine, really need to try it at 2 at some point, this review was entirely based on about 20 3 and 4 player plays.

Also I regularly describe it as munchkin crossed with risk but in the absolute best way.
MasonSokol's Avatar
MasonSokol replied the topic: #295774 19 Apr 2019 12:23

hotseatgames wrote:

JonathanVolk wrote: My favorite game of recent years.

I played Millennium Blades the other night, and I couldn't help but compare it to Inis. What To Do is an agony in both games, but the former because there are a Billion Things to Do, the latter because there are only 16 (and, really, far less than that per round, given the draft). Inis has been compared to chess in that it plays great even with two, and that it is probably "solvable", but you'd need to be a good Russian boy, blessed by the Bloc with all the time in the world, to do that solving.

AND it is distractingly gorgeous--the psychedelic art, the cards oversized like tarot, and the needlessly complicated jigsaw board pieces, make it a rococo, campy classic. I wish more board games aimed for the Celtic moon.


If you haven't played it, you should check out The King is Dead by Osprey. It's one of the best 3 player games I've ever played, and actually it's the only way I've played that game so far. Very lean, and I think up your alley.


I’m super in to try this, just need to find someone already with a copy...
MasonSokol's Avatar
MasonSokol replied the topic: #295775 19 Apr 2019 12:24

BaronDonut wrote: What a wonderful game. Sometimes the endgame can be a little tedious, with all the stop-this-person-they're-about-to-win that can happen, but for the most part it's such an elegant and engrossing experience.


Totally true but sometimes the end game is the best ten minutes of gaming I’ve had in months :)
Nodens's Avatar
Nodens replied the topic: #295777 19 Apr 2019 13:00
The King is Dead is a new edition of King of Siam, I think. That one is a little cheaper on ebay while also quite brilliant.
drakesflames.blogspot.com/2009/07/board-...ing-of-siam.html?m=1