Published by: R & R Games
# of Players: 2-4
Mombasa contains a lot of components in the box. Each player has wooden discs that track the various share levels and also act as workers. Each of the 4 companies in Africa is represented by different color wooden houses. The game also contains book tiles, starting tiles, bonus tiles, and coins made out of sturdy cardboard that does not flake. A main part of the game is the action cards that are used each round to determine what you are able to do. These cards are of good quality and should stand up to lots of wear and tear. The rule book does a good job of explaining everything but is very intimidating with how long it is. It does provide lots of colorful illustrations that help explain the games finer points. For how big and daunting the rule book looks, I was able to find answers very fast to questions I had while playing. Mombasa may not be the flashiest euro game out on the market but the components will stand up to many plays and are easy understand.
The goal in Mombasa is to have the most money after 7 rounds. Players will earn money based on their position in diamond mining, bookkeeping, and from the shares of the 4 companies (Saint Louis, Cape Town, Mombasa, and Cairo). There are 3 phases to each round. During the planning phase, players will simultaneously place action cards down in their action slots. After everyone has chosen their action cards for the round, they will reveal them. This takes us to the main action phase of the game. Players will take turns performing 1 action each and keep going till everyone is finished performing actions for the round. During this phase a player can use or more of a type of good to purchase new action cards or advance on a company track. After performing that action those goods are no longer available for the rest of the round for that player. You may use hat symbols to perform the expansion action. You will move one of the house tokens from the company of your choice and expand their territory one area per exploration point. If a territory has 2 lines for it's boundary, it requires 2 points to move into it.
Mombasa is a very deep game that will challenge your mind. Mombasa has so many fine points that I could not explain each of them during the gameplay section of this review. What makes Mombasa good is how seamless each part of the game meshes with the other parts. Once you understand the game, it moves at a fast pace and can be completed in under 2 hours. The various ways to earn money and how each direction you take in the game influences others, makes this a great game to play. The game components may be a bit bland but they do their job in the game. The rule book is very detailed and long. Some will like this and others will try and learn through an instruction video online or have someone else teach them. Mombasa took me a long time to read through and understand all the rules to a point where I could explain and teach others. The use of actions cards and having to put them into resting decks instead of back into your hand was interesting, as you had to think 2 to 3 rounds ahead. Putting an action card in the wrong slot and you may end up not seeing that card back in your hand for the game. The game was solid as a two player game and as a three/four player game. As far as economic games go, I really enjoyed this one above others I have played. This is going into my collection and I hope to play it again real soon. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys challenging economic or euro style games. If I had played this when it was released it would have been my top euro of the year.
+ Many strategies that can win the game
+ Seamless mesh of deck-building, area control and worker placement mechanics
+ Rule book is very detailed and explains everything
+ Heavier euro style game that can be played in under 2 hours
+ Plays well at 2, 3 and 4 players
- Bland components may turn off some
- Rule book is very long and intimidating
- I get Toto's Africa stuck in my head whenever I play