Building game Coral combines the beauty of coral and the tactics of play

Great! A game with simple rules. You play it in 15 minutes. It looks nice, with wooden playing pieces. And it is also a challenging brainteaser. Perfect combination! That’s why Coral is in my countdown list to Christmas this year.

When I dove into the preparations for games fair Spiel 2022, Coral immediately caught my eye. For Pen & Pion, I am of course always looking for games that are easy to use in education, for example to practise executive functions

As far as I am concerned, Coral is a good candidate for that. I’ll tell you why.

Each time a different construction

Each player gets 6 building blocks + 1 coral plant in the same colour. If you play with three or less, everyone gets 6 of their own building pieces and the last set is divided among the players. You then don’t play with 6, but with 8 pieces, for example. Executive function: organisation.

1. Get the rock overgrown

You start the game with a bare block (the rock). In turns, the players place one of their building blocks against the block. This continues until the rock is no longer visible. Executive function: goal-directed behaviour.

2. Place your coral plant

Then the players take turns placing their coral plant on one of the building blocks. You can do so anywhere except (!) on the building blocks of your own colour. Good to know: you can build on the square where your coral plant is placed. So pay attention to where you put the plant, because you want to be able to add something to it. Executive function: planning.

3. Let’s play!

So, now the real game begins! Players take turns placing or placing a building block or moving their coral plant. Together, you build a coral rock that is different every time. Executive function: sustained attention.

4. Who won?

When nobody has more building blocks, look down on the coral rock from above. Each player gets one point for each visible building block of her colour.

Ieder bouwwerk van Coral is anders
Van bovenaf punten tellen
Goed kijken waar je je bouwblokken neerzetten.

It seems so simple….

If you’re playing your first game of Coral, you’re probably still figuring out how to build in a handy way. You need to know how to move your coral plant (not over your own building blocks, for example) and how to connect it to the block spatially. But then you enter the second round and you will probably play much more tactically. After all, you can not only ensure that your own building blocks are visible, you can also ensure that those of others are no longer visible. Executive function: flexibility.

Every time we play Coral, we start off sitting neatly around the table only to stand all pensive around it at the end. You want to be able to see it well from above ánd you want to make the very best move.

By the way, you can also play Coral solo. You put all the building blocks in the bag and play for as many points as possible, using a number of cards.

Another wonderful coral-themed game is Reef. A totally different game mechanic: in this game, you have to plan very well and actually perform small programming steps. For this game, you need to set aside a bit more time (think 30-45 minutes). Read the review here.

General information on CORAL

  • number of players: 1 – 4
  • time: 10 – 15 minuten
  • from: 8 years, the game is language-independent so younger players can puzzle along too
  • You can’t yet order Coral at the Dutch online, but you can at game shops. Or buy it directly from the Dutch importer via this link (€ 24,00 – Dutch price update fall 2023)

This review was updated in November 2023.

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