Kickstart This! #200: Holi: Festival of Colors
Designer: Julio E. Nazario (Ctrl, Haunted!)
Artist: Vincent Dutrait (Broom Service, Diplomacy, Discovery: The Journals of Lewis and Clark, Elysium, Jaipur, Lewis & Clark, Lost Cities, Lovecraft Letter, Medici, Mythic Battles: Pantheon, New York: 1901, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set, The Quest for El Dorado, Raptor, Rise of Augustus, Robinson Crusoe: Adventures of the Cursed Island, Treasure Island, When I Dream)
Publisher: Floodgate Games (Legacy: Gears of Time, Sagrada, Vault Wars)
Genre/Mechanisms: abstract strategy, area majority/influence, hand management, pattern building, puzzle
Funding Status: At the time of this posting, Holi: Festival of Colors is already fully-funded. Pledges currently total more than 1.5x the initial funding goal, with 4 days left to go on the campaign.
Player Count: 2-4
Solo Mode: no
What It’s About: “Every spring, celebrants gather to spread colour and cheer during one of India’s most vibrant festivals. With your friends, move around the festival grounds throwing colored ‘gulaal’ powder onto each other and the crowd. Aim higher and let your color fall from above on as many people as you can.”
How It Works: “Beginning with the start player and proceeding clockwise, each player performs one or more actions, then fills their hand up to three cards. Actions may be performed in any order but may not be repeated during a turn.”
On their turn, the active player MUST perform the Throw Color action. “Color Cards are played to place Color Tokens onto the board, and onto other players. Playing Color Cards when on the middle and top boards may cause tokens to fall to the levels below. When playing a Color Card face-up, a player’s marker must replace one of the filled-in spaces in the pattern, and the remaining filled-in spaces must not have a Color Token already in them on the board (locations with a Player Marker or Sweets Token are just fine). Players may rotate the card to choose any of the 4 orientations of the pattern. While filled-in spaces in a Color Card’s grid must all be aligned over the board’s grid, empty spaces do not need to be aligned over the grid. Place Color Tokens of that player’s color from their supply into each of the empty spaces (or spaces with Sweets Tokens) on the board corresponding with the filled spaces in the pattern. Direct Hit: if a Color Token would be placed in a location with another Player Marker, instead place that Color Token and another bonus Color Token (for a total of 2 Color Tokens) in that player’s Color Supply. Tokens belonging to a Player in another Player’s Color Supply will give the token owner 2 points each at the end of the game.”
“A player may instead play a Color Card face-down from their hand. When playing a Color Card face-down, the player may place one Color Token in a space on the board that their Player Marker is located. This token can be played in any space that isn’t occupied by another Color Token or Player Marker. Players may only play a Color Card face-down if they did not play one face-down on their previous turn.”
“When throwing color on the Middle and Top Boards, there is a possibility the Color Tokens will fall down to the boards below. Once a Color Token is placed, check the corresponding location on the board below. If there is no Color Token on the same space below (indicated by the same letter/ number label), the Token “falls” and is placed on the board below. Check again, if it fell from the Top to the Middle Board, and repeat if there is still no Color Token in the corresponding location below on the Ground board. A Color Token can “fall” onto another Player Marker. In this case, place that Color Token in their Color Supply instead of on the board. This does not award the bonus Color Token awarded for a Direct Hit.”
Then, the active player MAY take the Move action. “A player may move their player marker to any space on the board they are currently on, except to a space containing another Player Marker. Players may move to empty spaces, spaces with a Sweets Token, or spaces occupied by any player’s Color Token. If a player moves to a location with a Sweets Token or a Color Token, that player collects the Sweets/Color Token, placing it in their Color Supply).”
The active player also MAY take the Climb Up action. “When surrounded by Color Tokens, a player may choose to climb up a level and aim higher in the sky. If a Player Marker is surrounded on 4 sides (orthogonally) by locations with Color Tokens (of any Player’s color), that player may move to the corresponding space on the next higher board. A Player may not move up if another Player’s Marker is in the corresponding space on the next higher board. Once a player has moved up, they may not return back down to a lower board.
“After performing their actions, the active Player draws cards until they have 3 cards in hand – drawing any combination from the Global Deck and Personal Deck. The next player clockwise becomes the Active Player.”
“At the end of a player’s turn when any two Color Decks (either Personal or Global), two Color Token supplies, or one of each, are depleted, the end of the game is triggered. Play continues until the last player in turn order has completed their turn, then proceeds to Scoring. During Scoring, players gain: 1 Point for each Color Token on the Ground Board, 2 Points for each Color Token on the Middle Board, 3 Points for each Color Token on the Top Board, 2 Points for each Color Tokens in Other Player’s Color Supply, and 5 Points for each player with fewer Sweets Tokens, not including ties. The player with the most total points wins, with ties broken by the player with the most of their color on other players, then by most sweets, and then by the player who triggered the end of the game.”
Comparisons: I could see comparisons being made to game like Sagrada, simply because they’re both light games with a lot of color in their palettes. But there’s not much commonality there in terms of gameplay. In Holi: Festival of Colors, players are primarily dealing with hand management, area control, set collection, and a fair amount of take that. And the game, in essence is an abstract strategy game that has more in common with games like Go and Othello/Reversi. Onitama is a chess-like abstract that takes much of its variable from hand management and card play. Other recent popular abstracts include the likes of the Azul series, Dragon Castle, Reef, the Tsuro series, War Chest. Of that bunch, Reef and the Tsuro games also incorporate hand management.
What Should I Pledge?:
$35 Holi: Festival of Colors: includes the Retail Edition of the game and $1 donated to the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project.
$55 Deluxe Holi: Festival of Colors: includes the Deluxe edition of the game (upgraded Resin player markers, cardboard Color Tokens upgraded to wooden, and cardboard Sweets Tokens upgraded to Wooden) and $1 donated to the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project.
$5 Alternate Resin Player Marker (comes free if you’re on the Floodgate Games email list)
All-In Total: In the continental U.S., you’re looking at $155 for the Deluxe Holi: Festival of Colors plus $5 in shipping for a total of $60.
Holi: Festival of Colors completes its Kickstarter on Friday, March 27th and tentatively ships in November 2020.