NIYA Strategy Game Review


Niya Game Review - Gameschooling & Secular Homeschooling at

NIYA is a strategy game by one of our favorite game makers, Blue Orange Games. Blue Orange is known for not only their innovative family friendly games, but their eco-friendly manufacturing process. Please note that there are affiliate links in this post and if you click on one and make a purchase I will earn a small commission. Thank you!


NIYA is a classic strategy game that you win by connecting four tokens, or as The Artist calls it, “Connect Four on steroids”. The game play is quick and to win you have to think one step ahead of your opponent. While the kids love the game for the strategy, I love it for its quick play time and beautiful artwork.

NIYA is a game with a back story. There are two rival clans living in Japan’s Imperial Gardens and by planning your moves and placing your clan members (tokens) in advantageous positions you can rule the garden and Japan.

Niya Game Review - Gameschooling & Secular Homeschooling at HomeschoolGameschool.comThe game consists of 8 red tokens and 8 black tokens and 16 garden tiles. Each token has a face on it representing a clan member and each garden tile has two elements on it (sun, bird, pine tree, iris, cherry tree, poem, leaf, rain cloud).

How to Play NIYA

Game play is straightforward and easy to learn, starting with each player picking a color and taking their tokens. Randomly lay the tiles out in a 4 x 4 square, the tiles are identical on both sides. The first player removes a tile to the side and places their token in that spot. The next player takes note of the elements on the tile that was removed and removes a tile that has one of the same elements as the previous card.

Player 1 removes a card with an iris and sun element. Player 2 can remove any tile as long as it has a sun or iris on it.The player who first connects four tokens (horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or postage stamp) wins. You can also win by effectively blocking your opponent from placing their last token for a win, this is called a blockade.

Niya Game Review - Gameschooling & Secular Homeschooling at

Why We Love NIYA

Easy Storage – The game comes in a metal storage tin and won’t take up much room on your game shelf, but it’s a game you’ll play again and again so don’t store it on a high shelf 😉 This is a great little game and the fact that we’ve played it at least 15 times today without getting bored speaks volumes!

Easy Play – Game play is easy and quick to learn. Even kids as young as 4 or 5 can play.

Quick Play – With rounds lasting 5-10 minutes, this is a great game to use for breaking up the day. This is also a great game for those of us who thrive with ADHD and maybe can’t sit through a longer game play.


Buy it on Amazon
Manufacturer: Blue Orange Games
Cost: $
Play time: 5-10 minutes
Worldview: N/A
Numbers of players: 2
Ages: 7+
Reading level: N/A
Parental participation: unnecessary

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