Table for Two: ‘Tiny Ninjas’

Reading Time: 7 minutes

In the event you’re out there for a fast 2-player ninja duel that’s designed for portability, take a look at Tiny Ninjas!

Tiny Ninjas was funded on Kickstarter in June 2018 by 2niverse Video games, and delivered to backers on the end of the yr. It’s now obtainable for purchase (from Amazon for US and Canada, or from 2niverse Video games for the remainder of the world). 2niverse sent me a replica of the completed product to try out.

What Is Tiny Ninjas?

Tiny Ninjas is a dueling recreation for 1 or 2 players, ages 8 and up, and takes about 15 minutes to play. It retails for £19.99 (about $25 USD). The game has primary and superior guidelines, and I feel the age score seems about right; the power to mix in additional advanced playing cards means you can regulate the complexity a bit based mostly on the gamers.

Tiny NinjasTiny Ninjas elements. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Tiny Ninjas Elements

  • 58 Ninja playing cards
  • 2 customized cube (a shuriken die and a kunai die)
  • 2 Reference cards
  • 4 Sensei markers
  • 2 Well being dials
  • 2 Connecting Partitions
  • Reworking Gamebox

Tiny Ninjas box during gameplayThe field turns right into a dice tray and card tray. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The box for Tiny Ninjas turns into a gameplay accent: the lid has a magnetic flap that unfolds and turns into the cube tray, with the help of the connecting partitions. There’s paintings printed on the inside of the lid so as to add a splash of shade in the dice tray. In addition, the walls maintain the 2 well being dials, as well as the sensei markers for monitoring what number of occasions you’ve used the sensei talents. The base of the field has a small divider and holds the “dojo” (the draw deck) and the “arena” (discard pile). It’s a intelligent box design—not absolutely needed to be able to play the sport, but I like that the whole lot has a place. It’s a fairly compact field (just barely longer than the Tiny Epic games), so it should travel nicely and function its personal enjoying floor.

The health spinners have notches to attach to the wall items. They appear to be the ninja face emblem, with a small window within the brow where the well being (from 1 to 10) exhibits by means of. The spinners work nice—they flip simply, but aren’t so unfastened that it’ll spin freely.

The sensei markers are also small cardboard cut-outs with a notch, and every one has a sensei face on it. They’re double-sided so that every participant has a selection of the same four options.

Tiny Ninjas diceTiny Ninjas cube. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The 2 cube are customized six-sided pearlescent cube, engraved and painted. The shuriken die is white, and has 1- to 6-pointed shuriken on its faces, which additionally are available three totally different colors. The kunai die is purple, with 1 to three kunai on every face, in both black or white. Every die is dual-purpose: the shuriken can be used to find out a worth from 1 to six or to select from three colors (with an equal probability of every). The kunai die can be used for 50/50 odds with the black and white or with a weighted 1 to 3 (since there are three 1s, two 2s, and one 3).

Tiny Ninjas reference cardThe reference playing cards explain all the icons, what die to roll, and what the outcomes mean. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Every ninja card contains a ninja of some type, with some numbers and icons representing that ninja’s assault and protection. Some have particular talents moderately than an attack value. The paintings is cartoony, with huge round heads—and there are some very foolish ninjas, just like the Panda ninja or Child ninja or Pirate ninja. At the bottom left, there’s a number indicating how many copies of that ninja there are within the deck; a ninja head icon in that nook indicates that it’s a complicated card. (A lot of the particular talents are on advanced playing cards.) The cardboard quality is fairly good; the playing cards have a nice snap and a shiny end.

Easy methods to Play Tiny Ninjas

You’ll be able to download a replica of the rulebook here (in considered one of seven languages).

The Aim

The objective of the sport is to get rid of your opponent.

Tiny Ninjas setupTiny Ninjas beginning setup. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu


Open the field lid and slot the 2 connecting partitions onto the sides to type the cube tray.

Every player chooses a sensei and locations the marker on the first slot (closest to the cardboard part of the box). Place the 2 health trackers on the slots farthest again, with the dials set to “10.”

Shuffle the deck and deal 5 cards to each player. Place the deck in a single aspect of the box—this is the “dojo.” Younger (or much less experienced) player might select to attack or defend first after seeing their playing cards.


If you end up attacker, you draw back as much as a hand of 5 cards. Then you definitely play one card at a time to attack your opponent, they usually might play one card per attack to defend if they might take injury. You might continue enjoying playing cards to attack, one by one, until you select to cease or run out of cards.

Then, the roles reverse: your opponent turns into the attacker, and you turn out to be the defender. The trick, though, is that you simply do not draw playing cards once you grow to be defender.

Tiny Ninjas basic cardsA number of the primary playing cards. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Most cards have two icons on the higher left aspect: the top icon is for attack, and the underside icon is for protection. The attack and defense icons have a numerical value or a variety, in addition to a colour.

To attack, you play the card into the “arena” (discard pile). If it has a single value, then you definitely do this a lot injury. If there’s a variety, then there will even be icons on the correct aspect that indicate which die to roll and what each value will do. As an example, in case you performed the Panda ninja shown above, you’d roll the kunai die: when you roll white, you do 1 injury, and in the event you roll black, you do 2 injury.

For those who would take injury from an attack, you might play a card out of your hand to defend. The colour of your protection should match the colour of the assault, purple or blue. Yellow defense playing cards may be used to defend towards any colour. Some defense playing cards also have a variety slightly than a single quantity, so you’d roll to see how much injury you keep away from. Any injury that you don’t defend towards is subtracted from your health, and also you regulate your well being dial accordingly.

Tiny Ninjas advanced cardsA number of of the superior cards with special talents. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

There are additionally advanced playing cards with different powers—these are spelled out in textual content on the cards, and lots of of them should not have an assault or protection icon if the cardboard does one thing else as an alternative. As an example, the Medic can be used to restore up to three well being, based mostly on a die roll, as an alternative of attacking.

There are 4 sensei decisions; every one has a particular capability that could be used up to 3 occasions within the recreation. Each time you employ the power, you progress the sensei marker one notch. You could solely use a sensei capability once per part. (Since there are two units of sensei markers, each players might use the identical sensei if they want.)

Tiny Ninjas sensei markersSensei talents may be used as much as three occasions throughout a recreation. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

  • Purple: Use this capability before enjoying a card to add +1 injury to a pink assault
  • Blue: Use this capability before enjoying a card so as to add +1 injury to a blue assault
  • Inexperienced: Defend 1 injury; use any time you’re Defender
  • Pink: Heal 1 well being; use any time you’re Attacker

Recreation Finish

The sport ends immediately when one participant has been lowered to zero well being. The surviving participant wins.

Tiny Ninjas health trackers and sensei markersThe health trackers are giant and sit on the back; the small sensei markers move on the four notches once you use their powers. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Variant Rules

There are a couple of other non-compulsory rules for altering the texture of the game. A few of these require you to remove certain cards that don’t work nicely with the variant guidelines.

  • Blitz: Gamers start with 15 cards (and may take a 5-card mulligan). Each assault part is 1 card only and it’s essential to attack; defenders might choose whether to defend or not. You don’t draw extra playing cards. Remove the opponent to win, or else the participant with more well being after each gamers run out of cards wins.
  • Survivor: Players start with 8 well being, and each has a Grim in their hand for your complete battle. The Grim can’t defend and doesn’t rely towards hand measurement. Firstly of your assault, chances are you’ll use the Grim or heal for one health. (The Grim enables you to roll the die and randomly discard playing cards from the opponent’s hand.)
  • Champion: A multi-fight championship. Players don’t use sensei talents. Each participant begins at Degree 1 with a maximum of 6 well being. Once you lose a battle, you achieve a degree and your maximum health increases by 2. First player to win 3 fights wins the championship.

Solo Mode

You struggle towards an automated participant. If you assault, the AI participant plays the top card of the dojo to defend before you choose your assault card, so you might have a preview of what is going to be defended towards. In the course of the AI player’s assault part, it’ll attack 3 occasions, from the highest of the deck. The principles have some more particulars about the way to resolve a number of the advanced cards.

There are also three problem ranges that permit the AI player to defend with totally different colored shields.


On the finish of the rulebook, there’s additionally an inventory of achievements that you would be able to examine off as you play, like “Win a battle with one health remaining” or “Fully deplete the dojo twice in one battle.” Some achievements apply to the variant modes, and there are additionally more and more troublesome challenges for the solo mode.

Tiny Ninjas hand of cardsDo I spend my cards for attack, or save them for defense? Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Why You Ought to Play Tiny Ninjas

Tiny Ninjas is a cute, small recreation that is straightforward to study, and plays pretty shortly. The cardboard talents have a mixture of guaranteed values and luck-based values. I’d say there’s a fairly excessive amount of luck in the recreation, both in the cards you draw and how nicely you roll the cube.

Nevertheless, one of many key selections you’ll need to make every flip is when to cease attacking, since you don’t draw extra playing cards as a defender. That twist could seem fairly small, however it makes for some actually robust decisions. When you press the attack, perhaps you possibly can run your opponent out of defensive cards and get a couple of hits by way of. Then again, the more you attack, the more weak you’re. Managing your hand is essential.

You even have to guage whether or not a card could also be simpler as an assault or a protection. The Cat card (seen above) might do as much as 3 injury to your opponent… nevertheless it additionally has a 1/6 probability of damaging you. Blue icons are barely much less widespread than pink icons, so blue assaults sometimes have a greater probability of going by way of. Then again, that Cat additionally supplies 2 yellow defense—that’s nothing to sneeze at.

For many skilled players, I’d say you’ll be able to in all probability throw within the superior playing cards instantly. For probably the most part, they felt self-explanatory to me and we didn’t have hassle figuring them out. Nevertheless, in case you’re enjoying with younger or newer players, sticking with the essential cards will save a little bit of studying time whenever you’re still studying the sport.

The sensei talents are okay, but they don’t feel like game-changers to me. The pink sensei, particularly, seems the least useful, because it heals you solely in your assault part, whereas the green sensei can forestall that injury during your protection part. When you’ve got 1 health left, the inexperienced one can maintain you alive in case you get attacked for 1 injury, but the pink one can solely assist in the event you survive to your subsequent attack part. I do like the choice between taking an assault sensei or protection sensei, however it may need been nice to have a special means on the pink sensei.

General, I’ve had some fun with Tiny Ninjas and I like the best way the field serves as a built-in gaming floor (despite the fact that, admittedly, I’ve solely played it at residence up to now). It’s not as deep as another 2-player duel games I’ve performed, however it’s fast and straightforward to dive in. The varied ninjas are fairly entertaining, too. In the event you like funny ninjas and also you’re wanting for a journey recreation for your lunch break, Tiny Ninjas might fit the invoice.

Click right here to see all our tabletop recreation evaluations.

To subscribe to GeekDad’s tabletop gaming protection, please copy this hyperlink and add it to your RSS reader.

Disclosure: GeekDad acquired a replica of this recreation for evaluate purposes.

Appreciated it? Take a second to help the GeekFamily Network on Patreon!

Get the Official GeekDad Books!