Onitama: Our Favorite Mobile Board Game
A while back we picked up a mobile board game called Onitama. Onitama is similar to chess with a few exceptions. You only have a total of five pieces to work with. You have four “pawns” and one King. The Kings sit across from each other much like in chess and winning can happen in two ways. “Way of the stone” is when you capture your opponents King. “Way of the Stream” is when you steal their home base with your king. Only Kings can win by way of the stream and it is a little riskier.
What we found to be the most unique aspect of movement within Onitama was that there is a card style draft. Each player gets two active cards and one inactive card. Once the card is used it goes to your opponents inactive slot for them to use in another turn. As you can see we have the cobra card chosen and our king is selected. He can now move diagonally and in a few turns our opponent will get the same card. This card system has a huge impact on strategy, you may lead yourself into a trap thinking you picked up the right momentum.
The games in Onitama are pretty short in nature. With only five pieces to go through and a 5X5 board it is pretty likely you will fall into a trap. Once you lose the equal playing field it is difficult to catch back up. You have to keep your pieces safe and think of every advantage possible before moving forward. Keep into consideration which cards you are using and which ones your opponent will have in the future. Figure out if you want to win via way of the stone or stream and focus your strategies around that. Improvisation is good, but a base plan is always better when it comes to strategy games.