Inoka: short and simple card game

Game: by XYZ Games: InokaPlayers: 2- 4 best with 3Age: 6+ Family friendly
Replay Value: HigherTime: 20 minutesDifficulty: Easy Gameplay, Easy Rules



The rock paper scissors mechanic is simple. It’s straightforward–everyone knows how to handle that strategy of luck. With that said, the challenge of creating a unique experience doesn’t stray far from impossible. XYZ labs (or Dev/publisher name what you would like to use) takes on these challenges with full force. Inoka create a world of Warcraft between players creating a strategic take on how someone should tactically approach each move. Each card is designed to not only win or lose to their counterparts but interact with each other based off a strength. Can you prove your strength and be the Forrest’s sacred stones?

Rules and Games

At a glance this game is a very simple quick fix card game for those familiar with rock paper scissors. The way the battles work are implementing a theme and personalizing each move into either a character or something relatable. It’s the extra layers of ingredients that make up the flavor of these types of games and I feel like this game dresses it’s appearance well. It’s playable with two people but to get the full effect of the strategy and use of cards while maintaining the quickness of the gameplay, I’d recommend 3 players.
The rules are pretty straight forward explaining what the components are and how the game plays. I’d say it’s structure is going to help a lot of players follow along as they play the game. Turns are done simultaneously, each player organize their 9 initial cards, 3 of all of the following cards: attack, taunt, shield (which defeats cards in sequential order) into a hand of 5. Keep in mind each one of the cards, attack for example, has 3 tried of strength just in case two attacks go up against each other. 

As found on their kickstarter

A one round example of this will be taking my 3 attack cards, 3 taunt cards, and 3 shield cards and deciding to play with only 2 of my attack cards (ranking 3 and 2), 2 shield cards (ranked 3 and 2) and a level 3 taunt. My only issue was indicating what we do with the following 4 cards that we discard. After asking, I found out that  after a round is over, players are expected to grab all 9 again and redraw a 5 card hand. You maybe ask, “who would use the level 1 cards?” The strategy here is being able to use 3 of one type of card if they wanted to as a tactic to throw off the opponents.
Players play through rounds, each round is made up by first, winning the leaf totem and second, either winning again with an attack card OR using all 5 cards. After a round you’ll receive a sacred stone for winning–3 stones and you win. 
This game is not defined by it’s gameplay because let’s be honest, rock paper scissors is a fairly simple concept. This game is defined by it’s art design and how it implements the little details separating it from the rest. 

Final thoughts

Inoka is a quick to play filler game. Pocket sized and simple for anyone to learn. Like I stated earlier, the designer took a risk playing with such a simple design but used the right design to really enhance this into a fun tactical card game. 
You will like this game if you are looking for a game that is easy to teach, easy to learn, and simple to play.
You will not like this game if you’ve played a rock paper scissors game before and you will not be impressed by another one. 

Joseph Nicholas

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Indietabletop. Communication major. Favorite mechanics include: Bluffing and Deduction, modular boards, and action point allowance. Favorite video game genres are Rpgs, Puzzles games, and Sim/Tycoons.

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