Reviews of Bin'Fa
The latest review of Bin'Fa!
"...the original Bin’Fa creator has updated the rules and artwork and now offers a very engaging six-player abstract game that just barely resembles the original. Oh sure, the basic concept of the game remains the same (capture your opponents’ pieces), but with the addition of new pieces, obstacles and a modular board, this 21st century version is much greater than the previous incarnations." Read the full review at Sahm Reviews!
The Board Game Makeover - Space Bin'Fa
By Mike Parkinson
We are so excited to share this review of Bin'Fa - made over into a space game, by reviewer Mike P. for "Board Game Makeover" Check it out to see how you can totally jazz up your Bin'Fa Game!
The Dice Tower Review of Bin'Fa
By Zee Garcia
Unbiased Unboxing -Review of Bin'Fa - Episode 11
Table For Two Show
Mini Review #21 BIN'FA - The Tao of War
We don't play war games often, but this game was given to us by the manufacturer to take a look at. Ken Hodkinson invented this game over 40 years ago and he was there, demoing it at Origins this year. Game timing depends on each player's strategy but this game only took us a little over an hour. With two players you could choose to run one two or three armies. We chose two but next time we may choose one just to make the game a little shorter. Also since only one army left is needed to win - you could potentially be going after yourself to win the game, if there are only two of you. You may want to bring friends over for this one. :) We really enjoyed it and think you may too! See the full review, with pictures on Facebook. Click here.
Warrior with a Pen Review
I received my copy of the game, and have, as yet, to play against someone, but I did play a 2 player simulation (alone) to learn the rules and some basic strategy for the game. The depth of planning seems simple, but is designed with amazing agility, and it becomes painfully obvious how even the best planned strategies can go up in smoke in a single second.
The mechanics of the game are, again, simple. Yet they hide a well-choreographed balance; the triangular spaces and random-ish terrain markers make some areas of the board especially tricky to maneuver safely.
I will be playing against an opponent in a couple of days, and I think this may be a new favorite for us on game night. Thanks for the great game!
Nathan Lusk - Warrior with a Pen
"I could be happy to play no other board game... The game is just great fun to play. The varied terrain, the die-rolling, the different ways to play, the interesting strategic choices, keep Bin'Fa fresh, original and entertaining. The new edition of Bin´Fa is absolutely beautiful. Most importantly Bin´Fa's gameplay is first rate... this game will blow you away"
The Games Journal, Mitchell Thomashow
"When I started at Avalon Hill, I discovered a huge number of boxes and unopened packages. There must have been more than a hundred boxes, all containing prototypes. I was in charge of deciding the fate of all these prototypes. The first step was to read the rules to every game. That narrowed the field down to about two dozen games, with the rest all being sent back to their owners. I playtested the remaining candidates and wound up with a half dozen or so that I thought were really good. From this process, I became the developer on HEXAGONY."
Alan Moon, considered to be one of the foremost designers of German-style board games who worked with Parker Bros and Avalon Hill and first developed Bin'Fa under the name of Hexagony.
"Invariably exciting and pleasurable... One of the best strategy board games on the market to date. It's an engrossing game of wits that's exciting, limitless, and sophisticated yet minimal with a style that's unpretentious... a game that vacillates between moments of absorbed contemplation, frantic action, and jaw-dropping disbelief... Bin´Fa is enrapturing... Without a doubt Bin´Fa is a must to own"
5 star Wargamer Award for Excellence The Wargamer, J. Lloyd
"Bin´Fa combines simplicity and challenging play in a game that is worth playing over and over... this latest edition has a good balance of simplicity and depth to make an exciting multiplayer wargame. One thing that contributes to the replay value is the terrain that players can place anywhere to start the game... Few board games rival it's quality."
"I will add another voice of praise to this game... after my single session, I find myself eager to try this game again. Bin´Fa surprised me. Abstract games are not usually my favourites. However once we got it on the game table, I found the full game to be a lot of fun!"
TheGameBistro.com, Kevin Whitmore
"It is a stimulating game that will provide something new and unanalyzed for Go and Chess fans without being so simple as to bore you after a few tries."
The American Wargamer
From Board Game Geek:
For those who know me (and/or have been reading my reviews on BGG), it should come as no surprise that I was a member of my High School Chess team. I was not a great player -- I was the fourth seat in a team of five players. The members of our chess team would hang out together, play chess (obviously), and occasionally play other games together. Some of our favorites were Conquest, Go, Pente, and Hexagony.
Hexagony was different in that it was the only game that the members of the Chess team liked to play together that involved dice. Sure, they would indulge me occasionally; as a role player from circa 1977, I was certainly not averse to using dice in a game. But the hard core chess players on our team had a true distaste for randomness in their games. So the fact that they played -- and enjoyed -- Hexagony was an oddity.
I had not played Hexagony for a long time after High School; my old copy was lost back home sometime after I joined the Navy. After ten years in the service, I returned home to Cedar Rapids, Iowa; I was a busy man with a lot going on and so I had not thought about Hexagony in years. As my exposure to the advances in board game design grew, my feelings of nostalgia also swelled. So I started looking for some of my old favorites. I was pleasantly surprised to see Hexagony on eBay at a very reasonable price.
Since getting it, I have played in many times. Not as often as I would like -- we each have limited time after all -- but it has always been fun, challenging, and very interesting in weighing your options. In other words, it was everything I remembered it being.
Hexagony is surprising when you play it. The strategies are not always obvious, and the ways in which a couple of players can work together to take out a common enemy -- or to back-stab one another are almost limitless.
The board is relatively compact -- but the triangular spaces and the way movement works gives the illusion of a much larger space. And the twelve terrain markers can make the board seem entirely new each time you play it. It really is amazing how different the board can seem depending upon the relationship of those simple walls.
The game's production values are not up to modern standards -- thin, light card stock pieces; two-piece board; cheap plastic terrain markers; and so on. But the play is quite exquisite and thought provoking. One could hope that it would get re-released at some point... just not if Hasbro/Wizards/Avalon Hill does to this game what they did to Acquire (this has got to be the most embarrassing production values for a modern release of a game in recent memory).
"Bin´Fa has two advantages over other war games. First, it is easier to learn... Second, two to six players can take as little as 15 minutes or as long as three hours to complete the game. Bin´Fa is well thought out. But be careful, Bin´Fa is addictive.
" The Brandeis "Justice" 5 Stars Jeuxsoc, Francois Haffner
Yes there are great games other than all those two-person war games or European games. BIN-FA THE TAO OF WAR combines simplicity and challenging play in a game that is worth playing over and over. It is an abstract game that is more challenging than checkers, but simpler than Chess or Go.
BIN’FA is a game of armies, maneuver, position, dogged defense, and daring offense. 2 to 6 players make it one of the few war games perfect for two-way or three way alliances. BIN’FA was first released in the 1970’s and with several rule tweaks over time, this latest (1998 Seacoast) edition has a good balance of simplicity and depth to make an exciting multiplayer war game.
Few board games rival its quality. It comes in a long tube. The vinyl “board” comes rolled up inside. It is divided into six triangular home regions that are further divided into triangle “hexes”. . . Players can start their armies anywhere in their home triangular region. One thing that contributes to the great replay value is the terrain that players can place anywhere to start the game. There are mountains that are impassable and vortexes that you can use to teleport to another vortex, although with some risk of getting lost.
The rules are very simple. The goal is to eliminate your opponents by surrounding their armies There is great suspense not knowing how long a player’s turn will go. Will they meet their tactical objective or fall short and perhaps be left in an exposed position? You can take an enemy’s position if your have superior numbers in a stack and roll a six on either die. In this case you push an enemy stack back and get to advance. So even a great defensive position is not impregnable.
The other limiting factor, as any commander knows, is (that of} supply. Each time you roll the dice (to move army units), you expend one supply. You gain supplies by moving your supply marker along a colored track. The supply rules are simple, but add extra challenges that a commander must balance and consider.
At the heart of any great game are the choices faced by the players. In BIN-FA, you must decide between moving or getting resupplied, moving or attacking, employing a defensive or offensive strategy, going in for the kill and exposing your units or playing it safe, risking the vortex to get in the enemy’s rear or marching around, and of course where and when to attack. BIN’FA boils down a commander’s decisions to their essence without the complexity of common war games.
You can play in 30 to 90 minutes depending upon how many players and how cautiously they play. My one lament is that it requires knocking other players out one by one meaning that the vanquished have nothing to do while the others continue to battle. Oh well, there’s always the leftover pizza as a consolation prize.
Bin'Fa, the brainchild of Ken Hodkinson, has existed in one form or another for over 25 years. (Now over 40 years) Avalon Hill published a stripped down version of the game called Hexagony, with development by Alan Moon, no less, back in 1980).
Surrounding the enemy is the key and your main goal in the game. You eliminate opposing forces by surrounding them on three sides with your forces in stacks of two or more armies (provided the surrounding stacks are at least as tall as the enemy stack). If an enemy is reduced to only three armies, that enemy is out of the game!
Vortexes are an appealing option in devising strategy. They allow armies to transport across the board! Simply put, armies ending their turn on a vortex may then exit onto another vortex across the board, on their next turn. The downside? Roll doubles and your armies in the vortex are eliminated!
What elevates Bin'Fa from the myriad games of abstract strategy, however, is the addition of supply. A player may move his armies (at a cost of one supply chip per roll of the die) OR try to get more supplies. Land on a color in a sector where your armies occupy a space and you collect supply chips. Land on the home colors of an opponent and you can either collect supply chips from the bank OR that opposing player. Land on some other color and you get nothing!
Bin'Fa benefits by an attractive presentation and a rulebook where the rules are easy to read and understand. What's more, the rules are complete. Every question raised during play was addressed within the rules. As the placement of terrain markers and vortexes can vary with each game, tactical considerations change, keeping the game fresh. The yin-yang of needing supply chips to power your movement versus giving up a movement turn in order to generate supplies presents players with challenging choices. The danger of running out of supply (or of rolling doubles which stops you in your tracks) adds a heightened sense of tension and excitement to play.
The down side to this, however, is that you have to be prepared for a lot of die rolling - and, since combat and movement involve dice rolls, the luck factor is significant. (But, in all fairness, no worse than in a spirited game of Risk.) Since dice rolling is such an integral part of play, it is a little surprising that only two dice are included in the game. Giving each player his own pair of dice would have been a welcome touch.
Instead of "last man standing", use a "point system". I recommend players score 1 point for each army they eliminate while all players score 1 point for each army that vanishes in the vortex (except, of course, for the player whose armies are lost). The first player to amass a score of 10 (15 or 20) points gets the win.
Despite the Asian flavor of the title, this is an abstract strategy game of "war". Such games are nothing new. (Think of Chess, for example). But Bin'Fa does combine elements into a pleasing package of movement strategies, supply considerations and pressing your luck (with a hefty dose of dice rolling) that make the game well worthy of attention.
Herb Levy, Gamer’s Alliance
Bin'Fa game artwork and content © 2009 Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. All Rights Reserved