Review: Kachina Board Game App Needs Major Improvements

The popular board game Kachina has made its way to the iPhone and iPod touch, initially launching as a solo puzzle challenge based on the original game’s rules. Following its debut, an update introduced a $2.99 in-app purchase option for multiplayer capabilities. Currently, the Kachina app available for $2.99 in the App Store includes both single-player puzzles and multiplayer modes. The developers at Gourami Games have issued an apology, stating:

The in-app upgrade has been removed and all copies are now enabled to play 2,3,4,5 player games. Now with an option to chose the computers difficulty level. Those of you that have made the in-app upgrade purchase, Thank you for your support, and we will make it up to you in a future update that will automatically detect the sale.

While the concept of the Kachina game, which draws on Hopi spirit imagery and challenges your arithmetic skills as you aim for the highest score, is intriguing, numerous critical bugs significantly detract from what could otherwise be a refined game.

Continue reading for more details.

The Game

Understanding the rules of Kachina involves some memorization. Each player’s turn consists of placing one of their five tiles onto a grid, adjacent to other tiles, without forming a row or column longer than seven tiles. If the newly placed tile has the highest strength in its row or column, it “dominates,” scoring one point for each tile in that line. The objective is to strategically place tiles to maximize points and block opponents from scoring.

Each tile type has unique abilities that influence the game board. For instance, Koshari tiles reduce the strength of all adjacent tiles to zero, while Eagles can overlay other tiles.

The most potent tiles, the Sun and the Chief, boast strengths of seven and eight, respectively, but lack special actions. The game concludes once all tiles are placed, with the highest score determining the winner. Despite its strategic depth, the game’s dynamics often result in inadvertently aiding opponents, highlighting the importance of knowing the tile distribution.

The App

The app version introduces slightly modified graphics from the physical tile version, enhancing readability on smaller screens. It incorporates OpenFeint for leaderboard tracking. However, the app is plagued with bugs. For example, scoring over 100 points can cause the middle digit of your score to vanish.


George is a dedicated writer for TUAW, your go-to source for all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail and a love for technology, George brings the latest news and insights on Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and Apple Watch. His articles are both informative and engaging, making complex tech topics easy to understand. When he’s not writing, George enjoys exploring new apps and testing out the latest gadgets.