Aqualin is a 2 player game where you are trying to create schools of sea creatures based on either colour or species from an ever moving swarm of fish, crustaceans and reptiles.
I first came across this game online and the artwork and theme drew me in. I love the sea and my husband and I regularly enjoy visiting aquariums to see and learn about the creatures that dwell beneath the waves. This game seemed like a reasonably quick, fun game to pick up and play for those times when we want to play a game but don't have much time!
As I said previously, the artwork on the box was one of the reasons I was drawn towards this game initially and upon opening the box, I was a little disappointed to see the colours pale inside. However the tiles themselves are a nice dark blue with colourful geometric creatures and as these are the main pieces you play with, it then made sense as to why the board itself was much paler! The acrylic tiles have a lovely weight and smoothness to them and the game board is a good quality rigid cardboard. The instructions are nice and straightforward and aren't over-explained, making the game easy to learn and teach to others.
Game Play Overview
In Aqualin, players take it in turns to move a tile on the board as many spaces as they wish either horizontally or vertically (without moving across another tile) and then place a new tile in any empty space on the board. Play continues in this fashion until all the tiles have been used and the board is full. Players then tally up their score based on the number of creatures in each group of their type. Player A will be looking for creatures grouped by colour and Player B will be looking for creatures grouped by species. The more creatures in a group, the more points they are worth. Whilst moving and placing tiles, strategic thinking comes into force as you have to weigh up hindering your opponent versus helping yourself.
Pros and Cons
Aqualin is a quick strategy game based upon outwitting your opponent. It's quick and simple to learn and the quality of the components is really good. I was concerned that it may be harder for the player grouping by creature as opposed to colour, however I personally haven't found it to make much of an impact on gameplay regardless of who I've played it with. At it's core, this is a simplistic game, the complexity comes from the amount of strategy you wish to implement in each game you play. The gameplay itself is effectively the same each time, however it created a sense of competitiveness in me and a desire to improve and master the game!
Overall, I actually really enjoyed this game despite it's simplicity and repetitiveness. The challenge of improving your playstyle and mastering the game really hooked me in whilst the ease of being able to teach it to anyone and still enjoy playing it sweetened the deal.
In conclusion, we would rate this game a 9/10