A to Z Gaming: DaVinci’s Challenge

We created patterns within the “Flower of Life” in DaVinci’s Challenge, the next in our A-Z game shelf play-through.

Basic Info: DaVinci’s Challenge
Players: 2 or 4
Time: 30 Minutes
Designer: Paul Micarelli
Artist: N/A
Publisher: Briarpatch



DaVinci’s Challenge is a tile laying/pattern-making game for two players (four players if you play teams). Each turn, players lay one of their two differently-shaped tiles to try and make specific patterns. If they complete a pattern (or two or three…) in their color, they declare it and tally the newly-completed patterns on the score sheet. The more complex the pattern, the more points it is worth. The game ends when no new patterns can be completed. The player with the most points wins.

The board is in the pattern of the “Flower of Life“, as the game insert explains. (A quick Google search shows that this pattern does show up in n some ancient structures, but has since been co-oped by the New Age movement, so be cautious doing your own searches.)

Players have two different types of tiles in their color (white or black), and they must lay them on the board on a space corresponding to the tile’s shape. There are no other placement rules, so you can jump around the board or try to build up one area at a time.

Neither of us can remember playing this game before, and, as with several of our other abstract games, we can’t remember when or where we picked it up.

The main strategy decisions involved whether to mess with your opponent or to concentrate on your own pattern-making. Of course, the game was a balance – I’ll let Andrew finish a triangle or eye, but not a circle or flower.

The board itself looks beautiful as you fill in the patterns and shapes. And, of the abstract games we’ve played in the past couple of months, I actually found this one more engaging than most. Andrew, however, found it unbearably boring. Because of that, I suspect, I won handily.

How is it as a 2-player game? DaVinci’s Challenge is fine as a 2-player game – I mean, it is clearly designed as a 2-player game. We found the game itself to not be very interesting, but that’s because it’s just not our thing.

How about the art and component quality? I expected the game pieces to be wooden, but they were plastic, with little burrs on them where the were molded. So, they did the job, but didn’t feel as chunky and satisfying as I was hoping. The end pattern, though, was pretty to look at.

Will this stay in my collection? No. This one is going on the trade or donate pile.




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