I love Menara. Menara is a cooperative dexterity game where players work together to build a temple to a certain height, every mistake they make requires the temple to be one level higher. Menara is both beautiful and challenging and incredibly engaging. I’ve enjoyed it both solo and cooperatively with 2, 3, 4 and 5 and it works well at all player counts.
Rituals and Ruins adds a whole new layer of complexity and I love it even more. We have won Menara more often than we have lost, but with the expansion that ratio has definitely shifted. The expansion adds a ton of additional modular content which can be combined together in any way the players choose, however the designers have supplied 10 scenarios in the book to get you started.
The first of the modules are the Golden Columns, these generally make the game easier by adding two golden columns that can be used when you don’t have the required colour to place. The downside to these columns is they are shorter than the original ones so don’t actually support floors and once placed cannot be moved.
Secondly we have new floors, these introduce wildly different mechanics such as floors where you need to place the columns in order, or move columns along a path or even place the columns lying down. Each of the floors does something new that makes the game harder but adds a new layer of skill too.
Thirdly we have the Tears of the Gods. These are a set of gems that must be placed by the end of the game on glowing spaces printed on the floor cards. Players sacrifice columns to take the tears and all the tears must be placed before the game ends. The trick here is that red gems can only be placed on the dark side of floors and blue on the light side meaning you need to ensure you can control which way up the floors are placed.
Lastly we have the Ritual Cards which each give a special rule that must be adhered to throughout the game, for example, when moving columns you may only move yellow columns or when you draw blue columns from the bag they must go back in. Each of these cards vastly alters play and in many cases requires skill, thought and precision planning in order for the players to win.
As well as that the game also comes with a batch of new task cards to shake things up and provide further challenge as well as a deck of floor cards to help randomise which floors are placed during the game.
Rituals and Ruins is a little fiddly, requiring a little extra set up to use the included components, but that is a small trade off for something that is a much deeper, more thoughtful experience that exponentially expands the replayability of the game along with requiring more dexterity from the players in order to win. This is a superb expansion and one every Menara fan needs to own.
On the sixth day of Christmas, Santa gave to me... Six columns that are about to fall!