Since I was very young I have always loved playing board games so when I was asked if i would like to review Indigo from Ravensburger it was a very easy yes please! As soon as the game arrived I was struck by the appealing box art with its interesting intercut design and classy gold (and indigo) colouring. Inside this box of delights I was greeted with a multiple language manual, counters which act as your gates, brightly coloured blue, yellow and green gems, hexagonal tiles and the board itself. Although the gems are made of glass the tiles and counters are cardboard and need to be popped out from a sheet prior to play. This is very easy to do and the box itself has different compartments so the game’s elements can be stored away safely after play.
A Brief History of Indigo
Indigo is a deep shade of blue obtained from the Indian indigo plant since ancient times. Its deep hue is a symbol of eternity and immortality and it is often referred to as the colour that helped shape the world as it was the prominent dye used in clothing and materials imported from abroad as trade routes opened up by ocean travel made the far corners of the earth suddenly more accessible. The colour is said to have a soothing effect meant to provide a clear head - exactly what players need to keep during the game as their search for the most precious gems progresses...
Indigo: the Game
Having a wide experience of board games I found Indigo was particularly easy to set up and intuitive to play. The rules were very easy to follow and refreshingly didn’t involve reading reams of confusing text before the fun could began.
The main idea of Indigo is to collect gems by moving them closer to your gate with each turn. Players achieve this by placing hexagonal tiles on the game board to create a path towards their gates. Sounds easy enough but there is a twist as each of the tiles are different and tiles are collected at random. You may, for example, require a tile that acts as a straight line to get you closer to your gate but instead receive a curved tile that takes you further away from your chosen goal benefiting your opponent.
To set up the game board you must place the main hex tile at the centre of the board and then place five green gems and one indigo gem onto it. Next you place the six blue tiles on their designated locations on the outer edge of the board and put a yellow gem on each of those tiles. Each player then chooses a coloured gate and then places these between the blue tiles on the edge of the game board with the number of players affecting the number of goals. For example, in a two player game the players alternate goals whilst in a three player game each player has one goal to themselves while sharing two others. Finally in a four player game, each participant shares a goal with every other player. This is much less complicated than I've probably made it sound – it’s actually really easy to get to grips with!
In the game each gem colour is worth a different value with indigo, the most sought after, being worth 3 points, green gems worth 2 points and yellow gems a single point. In the end the player with the highest accumulation of points wins the game but be warned - if two gems ever cross paths they are then removed from the board! In addition when a gem is moved to a goal owned by only one player, that player keeps the gem. If two players own the goal then both players collect a gem of that colour taking the extra gem needed from the reserve pile. So you must keep a eye on the board and your gems at all times while trying to think of your next move all the while anticipating where your next tile may lead you...
The overall look of the game is one of quality and each of the components feels well made and durable. The classy box and board design, not too mention the glass gems, give Indigo that extra wow factor and a real feeling of quality. Packing away following play is made easy by the thoughtful storage compartments although Indigo is a game that should see frequent use as it’s so easy to jump into and games remain fun without ever being drawn out.
Number of Players
Indigo is designed for anywhere from 2 to 4 players and if you are able it might be worth playing a quick game or two one on one to familiarise yourself with the rules before a third or forth player is introduced, especially if competing against younger players. That’s not to say it’s exponentially more difficult, far from from it, but more players means more gates and further additions to the rules making the game instantly more competitive as luck takes a back seat to strategy. Children in particular may find things confusing if they have no prior experience of the game before jumping into the fray as they find what they thought was their gem suddenly becomes the property of another player and so on. In a further twist players can team up to prevent the distribution of certain gems adding another layer to the game’s depth. With this in mind a little explanation before hand would certainly serve novice younger players as well as things do move at quite a pace once the game begins.
Indigo is recommended for families and has a suggested age rating of 8 and over but my 7 year old thoroughly enjoyed playing and had no issues understanding the concept of the game or it’s rules during a two player game. As mentioned above there is a certain element of chance involved along with the strategy which keeps things fresh and accessible and Indigo is so adaptable that I would recommend it for couples, families or friends of all ages.
We’ve enjoyed playing Indigo many times over and found that in our experience the average game length was roughly 20 to 30 minutes for 2 to 3 player games.
Indigo is a beautifully designed family game and certainly one that we will continue playing. Each game is different and great fun. Not knowing who might win, even at the last minute, makes it very exciting and unpredictable which keeps the boredom factor at bay. Thoroughly recommended.