Kites is a real-time cooperative strategy game wherein players are attempting to collectively play all of their cards while keeping a number of kites aloft. This game is meant to be played in between 6 and 10 minutes and it’s surprisingly quick! Shuffle the cards, deal a number to each player, and go! Likewise, the rules are quite simple to learn, but this does not stop the game from being fast, strategic, and a bit of a challenge.

At its heart, Kites is about keeping a number of sand timers from running out. Each player will have a number of cards in their hand with symbols of various colors. Players will play cards face up in front of them. If two symbols are on the card, the player playing that card must flip both sand timers matching those colors. If one symbol is on the card, that player may either flip the matching color sand timer or they may flip the white timer, which shows the show duration. If any timer runs out of sand entirely, all players lose, so it is in the team's best interest to be constantly monitoring the sand timers and talking with each other about what cards they are going to play as they play them. The sand timers have variable lengths of time that they dispense, from the speedy red at 30 seconds to the slower colors at 90 seconds.

Play tends to follow a moderately mellow first few moments, followed by some rushing, followed by a frantic rush to victory at around the 6 minute mark. There are three challenge cards which may or may not be implemented depending on the mood of the group, and whether they are looking for a puzzle or a collaborative race to the finish line.

I found this to be a perfect addition to my cafe travel bag. I enjoy meeting strangers at cafes or introducing new people who are not very familiar with games to this style of dexterity game. It's not very challenging in terms of dexterity; more often than not, as the adrenaline rose in the room, we would knock over our white sand timer and have to pause to pick it back up. It’s a fun way to spend a few minutes, and it's great for when waiting for the barista to bring over an assortment of lattes, muffins, or what have you. While strategy’s a factor in the game, the replayability is most important, making it appealing to teach to new players. It's certainly fun for kids, but I'd also recommend it as a quick reset kind of game, perhaps for an office lunch break or similar.

Kites is available now from our webstore.