Publisher: Kosmos / Rio Grande
Tropic of the day
Basically just a repackaging of Arabana-Ikibiti with a couple of different rules, Kahuna is an enjoyable strategy game with only a small amount of luck.
The aim - to control as many of the twelve islands as possible by having a majority of bridges leading from those islands - sounds simple, except of course that your opponent is doing the same thing.
The game can turn around rapidly with the strategic placement of one bridge, causing an Othello-like ripple to occur down the archipelago. But wresting control back from the leader isn't always easy, and the game can often end up a whitewash, particularly if one player is stronger than the other.
I find that the board and pieces, while constructed better than the average American game, aren't up to the usual German game standards. The board doesn't lay flat easily and the bridges - while made of wood - seem flimsy and almost matchstick-like.
One very clever thing about the map board and cards is that they have alignment markers - orange fish and purple turtles - on the corners, which makes it very easy to keep your cards (which also have a map on them for reference) oriented the same as the board. Smart thinking!
Kahuna is a worthy addition to Kosmos' Two-player games (others including Die Siedler Kartenspiel, Caesar & Cleopatra and Lost Cities).