Each go you place Coral pieces onto your 4-by-4 Reef grid in accordance with the colours indicated on the Reef card you play. This card also indicates which patterns and stacks score points. But the trick to high scores is thinking ahead to the scoring patterns on your upcoming Reef cards and placing Coral not only to score on the current card but to set up patterns for one you could play next go.
The final twist is that you can only have four cards in your hand, so if you're not careful you have to play Reefs cards before you have the ideal scoring pattern setup. As you get close to the end your Reef grid maxes out at four-high stacks of Coral pieces, so placement becomes harder. Still, judge the end game well and these complex patterns can bring in big points. The winner is the player with the most points when the Coral pieces or the deck of cards run out.
The result is a novel combination of a geographic puzzle and a card sequencing challenge. You need to set up cunning patterns ready for your next Reef cards while also carefully managing your hand to play them at just the right time. It is an easy game to learn but has a real depth of strategy, so it may take you some time to become master of the oceans.
Our examiner, Rob Prior, first checked Reef 17 months ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 7 months ago.
- At the start of the game, you should focus on getting Coral pieces into order to score points later.
- Aim to string together actions to score a higher number of points as a result.
- When the game ends you can play any cards that are still in your hand, so hang on to high-scoring single-use cards.
Play Time: This game will take between half an hour and 45 minutes to complete.
This game is good if you want to:
8+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Younger players need to be able to plan ahead, taking actions ahead of time ready to score points later in the game. Also they need to be able to visualise the scoring patterns and how it is possible to make them in multiple orientations.
Content RatingWe rate this suitable for 3+ years-olds.
There is one available expansion for this game:
- Reef: Kings of the Coral (2018) - This adds Fish figures and rules.