Mount Fuji is on our list of one of the things we still would like to see, so when we came across this game Fuji with it’s beautiful cover, we found out Feuerland created this game. Imagine you are visiting the most famous volcano in Japan, and the ground starts to shake… Together you have to flee from the deadly lava as quickly as possible in order to survive. Intrigued? We definitely were.
How to Play.
For the set up each player takes a character card and the components and screen with matching colors. each player also takes a skill card, it will tell you if you get five or six dices and how many equipment cards you can randomly take. After that, you shuffle the equipment cards, landscape cards and village cards and you take a scenario card. Place one of your tokens on the stamina tracker on top of the heart and place the chosen difficulty level next to the stamina board. Then you create your scenario. The scenario card will show you where you place the volcano, rubble, landscape cards and village card. Simply follow the scenario lay out and place the tiles random on the table. Next you take out the eruption tokens and equipment tokens and place them on your scenario as shown on your scenario card. If you play with three or less, you can place you meeple on the white meeple symbol on your scenario card, with four players, you place two meeples on white and two on gray.
In order to escape the eruption, you need to move together with all the players to the nearest village tiles, there you will be safe. If any of the players get swallowed by lava or run out of stamina, you all lose.
Each round has six phases. In the first phase, each player roll the dice behind their screen, no one but you can know the results. Then comes the planning phase. Here you can discuss and decide where your meeple, or other meeples will go. You can move up to three spaces vertical or horizontal and you cannot move over rubble or lava. You can also choose to stay on your spot. In order to decide if it’s smart to travel where you want to go, you will have to cleverly discuss with other players what your dice results are. Because in phase five, every player will compare the results and you might block each other. If you have a tile that asks for only pink and blue dices for example, every dice you have thrown with a pink or blue side up, will count. You add the numbers of the qualified dices together, this will be your result. In order to move to the destination of that tile, your result will have to be higher then the one from your neighbors. Otherwise you won’t be able to move and lose stamina. You can’t communicate any numbers, like I have three pink dices for example, but you can still help your neighbor out with his decision by saying: ‘I am a danger to you if you want to go to that tile’ for example. So with good communication and clever thinking, safety won’t be that far out of reach. In the planning phase, you can also freely place your destination marker where you want to go, this can also help communicate what is a good decision. You can move your destination marker as often as you want during planning.
In phase three you can reroll your dice to help you perfect your dice for the movement phase. If you move one or two spaces, you can reroll one time, if you stay in place, you can reroll two times, if you move three spaces, you cannot reroll. Sometimes a landscape tile will also have a reroll icon, then you gain one additional reroll In order to reroll, you choose what dices you want to keep, and what dices you reroll. You can reroll any number of your dices. During this phase, you are not allowed to communicate.
In phase four you can use your equipment cards. Every equipment cards shows a number four or two. That indicates in what phase you can use it. An equipment card can help you or your neighbors out. With a compass you can change one of your dice from one to six for example. A detailed description of every equipment card can be found in the rulebook. In the equipment phase, you can communicate what cards you have an what you want to use, but remember the communication restrictions are still valid.
In phase five, each player removes their screen and compare the dices. If your results are higher then both of your neighbors for the destination you want to move to, you can move your meeple to that tile. If your results are the same or lower, your movement fails and you stay where you are. On the level card that you have chosen at the beginning of the game, you can see how much stamina you will lose. On level one for example, if your movement is unsuccessful, you lose three stamina. Or if you only have two more points then your neighbor, you lose two stamina. If you come across a wound on with your stamina tracker, you take one wound and place it on one of the four spaces on your skill card. You won’t be able to use that skill anymore.
In phase six, the volcano erupts and lava spreads. Flip all landscape tiles adjacent to an eruption or lava. If you came across an eruption token, this will also erupt in phase six. If a player dies, you all lose the game. But if all the meeples are standing at a village card at the same time, you win the game.
With two players there are some additional rules. There is an easy way but more luck based, or a harder way less luck based. For the more easy way, simply place another screen and a set of six dices on the table. Throw three dices in front of the screen in phase one, and the other three behind the screen. You cannot reroll these dices. You will have to compare your results with these six dices in order to move.
You can also set up another character with a skill card, meeple and equipment. One player will throw three dices, the other player the remaining dices. Together you will decide where this character will move to and when to use the equipment cards. The meeple of this character will also have to travel safely to the village in order to win the game.
Playthrough of the game.
We were very excited to start this beautiful light game. The art of the tiles brightens up your table and the set up looks very nice. Although, I must say we are a little disappointed. We have played this game with two players, and also a couple of times with four players. We came to the conclusion that this is not a good game for two players in our opinion. If you only add a screen and dices, the game is to much luck based and significantly harder, but if you add a completely new character that you have to play with the both of you, it takes away the simplicity of the game that we both like so much because you have to think and act for another player. We understand why it’s designed this way, we would just rather like a warning like Stonemaier Games does for example. They place on the box of Between two Castles that it’s a game for 3-7 players, but in the rulebook they give a two player variant. This way, you know up front that the game is better designed to play with more people.
If you play this game with three or four people, this is a really nice game where you have to race from the lava in order to survive. The most fun part about Fuji is the communication. You have to communicate to know where you can move, but you can’t use any numbers. You could have mostly yellow dices for example, so you know you will be a danger to your neighbors who want to go to tiles that ask for yellow dices. It’s a fun aspect of the game to see how to manipulate this communication in Fuji without breaking the rules and to see how well everyone knows and understands each other. This game also doesn’t ask you to always throw high dices. In one round we played, one of us took an enormous risk by wanting to move to a tile that requested uneven pink and blue dices. We had no time left as the lava was coming, so this was the best we could do. The problem was, that player only had one blue dice with one dot on it. When we revealed all of our dices, we came to the discovery that luckily no one had even one uneven blue and pink dice. And thus we all reached the village safely.
Fuji is a light game where clever communication skills and strategic thinking is needed. This game is easy to learn and quick to set up but the game is more enjoyable with three or four players, rather then two. The tension will rise as the lava will spread trough the landscapes and only by working together and good communication you will be able to reach the safety of the village in time.