Review: Cóatl

In Coatl, you will create the most beautiful sculptures of snakes in order to win the title of High Priest!






Game explanation

Cóatl is a colorful abstract puzzle game in which you will make the most beautiful "feathered" snakes. By making the most beautiful snakes you will try to win the title of High Priest. 

You set up the game by placing the market board in the middle. You place body, head and tail parts on the designated spots. Deze delen pak je uit de daarvoor bestemde zakken. Place the supply of 6 prediction cards with the deck stack next to it. Each player receives a supply board, a temple card and a prediction card. You also place 2 temple cards face up on the center of the table. A temple card gives you bonus points if you complete a Cóatl that meets certain conditions, for example that it is 6 long and has no red parts. A prediction card can be placed near a Cóatl you are making or that you have just completed. These also give you points at the end of the game.

During a turn, you can choose from 3 actions.

Take Cóatl parts: During this action you may choose 1 field and take Cóatl parts from it. You may choose from 2 body parts, 1 head or 1 tail. You must pay close attention to which color you take in order to meet the conditions of your prediction and temple cards. The Cóatl pieces you have taken are placed on your supply board, where you can place up to 8 pieces.

Take prediction cards: On prediction cards, there is a certain condition that a Cóatl must meet to get points for it. You may take as many cards from the supply as you like, but you may only have 5 cards in your hand. An example of a prediction card is that you must have colors in a certain order.

Build a Cóatl: When building a Cóatl, you may perform a number of actions as often as you wish. You may start a new Cóatl, expand an existing Cóatl and/or place prediction cards next to the Cóatl. When the Cóatl has a head, a tail and a number of body parts, it is finished and you cannot continue extending it.

The game ends when a player completes 3 Cóatls. You then get points for temple and prediction cards that you have completed. So make sure that you have fulfilled the conditions of these cards in the best way possible. If you have the most points at the end of the game, you are the winner and may bear the title of High Priest!

Our thoughts

If you like abstract puzzle games then Cóatl is highly recommended! Many people make the comparison with Azul, but we don't think you can compare these 2 properly. Cóatl and Azul are indeed 2 different games, but if you like Azul then you will love Cóatl too. In Cóatl, you have multiple ways to win. Essentially, you try to satisfy all the prophecy and temple cards as best you can and build the perfect Cóatls. You can also choose to build 3 Cóatls as quickly as possible, which may leave your opponent with less finished Cóatls. As a result, a game can be over very quickly or take a very long time. We really like this diversity, although it can also be annoying when you are doing so perfectly and your opponent rushes it. In any case, these different options allow you to try new tactics. 

Cóatl plays nicely and the gameplay feels very streamlined. You will go through the rules quickly and all actions speak for themselves. You have several actions you can perform during your turn, but not so many that you have to think for 5 minutes. A game of Cóatl is therefore reasonably quick without having to wait a long time for your opponents. Because the game does not take too long and the actions are simple, you can also introduce this game to new board game players. 

Besides the gameplay this game looks really beautiful. All components are of very high quality and the game is very colorful. It is really a party on the table! We find it a plus that the scoreboard is on the other side of the supply board, this saves a lot of space on the table. We also find it a plus that the score is calculated afterwards, so you can play quietly without constantly having to keep track of the score. In games like Azul, calculating the score after each action can sometimes hinder the fun. On the other hand, we can imagine that the immediate calculation of the points would add a kind of racing element that makes the game just a little bit more exciting. For example, you could check your opponent's score to see how many points you need to overtake him or her.

All in all, we are very excited about Cóatl. We are fans of abstract puzzle games and always enjoy having some variety in our collection. That said, experienced players probably get bored of games like Cóatl and Azul a little faster. The games generally offer lower replayability and less depth than other more elaborate board games. We therefore like to have a number of these types of games in our collection so that we can rotate. This ensures that playing remains fun in the long run! Cóatl is a keeper in our collection. As far as we are concerned, Cóatl is a new great game in the collection of abstract puzzle games!

Playing with 2 players

You can play Cóatl with several people, but you're still doing a lot on your own. Everyone is working on their own puzzle. If you have played the game more often and are experienced, you might be able to interfere with the other player and take away parts that he or she needs, but this is not usual. We can imagine that with 4 players it can take quite a long time before it's your turn again, so we think it plays better with less players.

 Pros and cons

+ Beautiful parts
Challenging puzzle
+ Different viable strategies

- Can miss some depth and replayability for experienced players

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This game has been kindly gifted to us for review purposes by Asmodee Nederland.