It’s the late age of Classical Japan and two influential families, the Genji and Heike clans are competing for power at court. In the Imperial Garden, courtly manners and natural beauty veil a dark political conspiracy.

Each representing a clan, players must follow the patterns set by their rival to position their tokens in one of the victory conditions. Strategy and shrewd decisions will lead your clan to seize control of the garden… and power at court! – Blue Orange Games

Publisher: Blue Orange Games

Game Designer: Bruno Cathala

Artwork: Cyril Bouquet

Players: 2 players

Ages: 8+

Playing Time: 10 minutes

Game Mechanics: Pattern Building

Contents: 8 Red Genji Tokens, 8 Black Heike Tokens, 16 Garden Tiles

Suggested Retail Price: $13.99

Parental Advisory: Safe for kids

Awards: Niya

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Niya is a two-player strategy game in the Garden of Conspiracy from Blue Orange Games. Designed by the extremely popular and famed Bruno Cathala, Niya challenges both players to outwit each other in a short, sweet game in based in feudal Japan.


Niya Game Components

Niya is composed of players setting up a four-by-four grid of Garden Tiles randomly. Each player represents either clan as players take turns placing a token of their clan on a tile, thus removing it from the game. The player whose turn is next, must then place a token of their clan on a Garden Tile with at least of the same elements on the previous tile just played on from the opposing player. The first player to either be able to have a line of 4 members of their clan in a diagonal, vertical or horizontal row, to have a 2 x 2 square of 4 clan members or to block your opponent from making a legal move wins the game.


Niya Box Insert with Components

Analysis and Evaluation

Niya is an amazing compact, fast strategy game that really hits a sweet spot for quick games while waiting for others, couples to play together or even to play during a lunch hour at work. That fact that it only takes roughly 10 minutes to play makes it a great game to use with children as well. Allowing for them to learn basic strategy, pattern recognition while being able to keep their attention without getting bored and losing focus.

I have played this game with players of all types and demoed it at conventions and it always comes out as a surprise as to how much depth there is to this little game. Not one person who has played it has come away not wanting more info on where to get it, how much it costs and finding it a fun game to play with just about anyone.

Players must see the 4 x 4 grid and be able to see the artwork and how they link together tile to tile. If  the next player can player can play their token then there is a chance that you may not be able to play your next token. Players must recognize the patterns a move or two ahead to prevent being caught with no legals moves and losing the game, while at the same time not allowing the opposing player to either get 4 in a row or a 2 x 2 grid. This provides enough gaming tension to make players really focus for a couple of minutes and be very aware of the tile layout.


Niya Components

The components for Niya are very solid. The Clan Tokens are thick plastic pieces that will last forever although I can see some spots on the edges where the coating is wearing off.  The Garden Tiles are thick cardboard that have stood up just fine to repeated plays. The artwork is a perfect fit for the game and well done. The box itself is a tin box which while makes it hard to stack, is very attractive and well made. It does pop open fairly easy in my game bag but that is a minor quibble. The box insert is nice and there is never any issue of pieces moving around or not fitting in the box. The rule book is clean, super easy to read and understand.


Niya Clan Genji Tokens


Niya is a big game in a small box and short 10 minute time frame that should appeal to all types of gamers. It is absolutely perfect for couples and families and the set-up takes seconds to do making it fit into any time situation. It provides great depth for the short play time and has great replay value as the grid is always random. Although this game is a head-to-head type of game, it is obvious going into it and their isn’t any surprise action that should upset other players and cause you to lose a friend or partner.

You can’t beat this for the price and is a great addition to any game collection.

Club Fantasci Scoring (Based on scale of 10):


Artwork: 8

Rules Book: 8

Re-playability: 7

Component Quality: 8

Club Fantasci Overall Score: 7.75

I am giving Niya 7.75 out 10 stars because it is an incredibly solid game with a short time frame, good depth of strategy and easy to learn and play with in minutes.

This game is Club Fantasci Certified!

Club Fantasci Certified


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Note: A review copy of this game was provided to me.

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