Game Buzz: Mandala Stones

A game called Mandala came out in 2019. Now there’s a new, completely unrelated game called

image by BGG user GalaGalaxia

Mandala Stones is a game by Filip Głowacz, published by Board&Dice. The game is for 2-4 players, and is an abstract game about collecting stones to score points.

The game comes with a main board on which you will place 24 random stacks of 4 stones. This will leave nine empty spots, as marked by empty circles. The four artist cylinders will go in four of these empty spots. There’s a mandala board that shows a spiral pattern, and this is placed by the main board. Each player gets their own player board and a scoring marker, which goes on the first space of your scoring track. Each player also gets two random secret scoring objective cards.

image by BGG user van00uber

On your turn, you can PICK or SCORE.

PICK: Move one of the artists to an empty space. You’ll then take all stone adjacent to that artist that match the symbol on top of the artist and that are NOT adjacent to another artist. So you could get up to four stones. These are taken clockwise from a stone of your choice, stacked in order, and placed on one of the five spaces of your player board (that space must be empty). If you can’t take a stone, then you can’t make that particular move.

SCORE: Decide whether you are scoring a color or any top stones. If you do top stones, you take all top stones and place them on the mandala board, starting at the center of the spiral and working your way out. You’ll score one point per stone placed, plus any modifiers you cover up on the way.

If you choose color, you’ll pick a color that is represented at least twice by top stones on your board. You’ll score all stones of that color. Each of the five spaces has a different way to score.

  • The first space gives you one point per different height of towers on your board. So if you have a stack 4 high, a stack 3 high, and a stack 1 high, you’ll get three points.
  • The second space gives you points based on the height of this tower – 4 if you only have 1 stone, 2 if you have 2, or 1 if you have 3 or 4.
  • The third space also gives points based on the height of the tower – 1 for 1 stone, 3 for 2, 4 for 3, or 1 for 4.
  • The fourth space also gives points based on the height of the tower – 1 for 1 stone, 2 for 2, 4 for 3, or 6 for 4.
  • The fifth space gives you points based on the number of different colors in the tower plus one. So if your tower has red and blue, you get three points.

Once you’ve scored, the top stones go on the mandala board, adding any modifiers as they get covered up.

If you place a stone on the mandala board that covers up a space showing hands equal to the number of players, the game is almost over – keep playing until everyone has had an equal number of turns. Alternately, the game can end immediately if the active player can’t Pick or Score on their turn.

Each player now chooses one of their secret objective cards and scores it. The player with the highest score wins, with turn order breaking ties.

image by BGG user van00uber

I like abstracts to begin with, and I especially like those that are visually appealing. I think this game looks like it will have some nice table presence, though I don’t know if I’m crazy about what the mandala board itself displays in the end. Still, I think there’s some good mental challenge here as you need to always be thinking ahead in deciding how you want things to score. This is a game I look forward to trying out sometime.

That’s it for today – stay safe out there, and thanks for reading!

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