Gameday First Play – Karmaka

Posted on by Jesta

I’m a great believer in karma, and the vengeance that it serves up to those who are deliberately mean is generally enough for me.

~ Beth Ditto

Karmaka is a tactical card game set in a karmic universe. Players begin the game as lowly Dung Beetles. In life after life (hand after hand) they climb their way up the Karmic Ladder, racing to see who will achieve Transcendence first!

In this game everyone is climbing this karmic ladder represented by a board. The games comes with a mini travel edition board made from 2 cards that came in handy…


Everyone puts a meeple on the Dung Beetle level of the track and you’re trying to work up to a Snake, then Wolf, then Ape and finally reaching transcendence, first player there wins.

Each player gets 4 cards in their hand and 2 cards in their deck.

On your turn you draw a card then may play a card… If you can’t draw, you have to play.

You play a card in one of 3 ways…

You can put it in front of you face up for its point value.


You can put it face down into your Future Life pile.

You can play the card for its effect… if you do you resolve the effect on the card then you offer the card to your opponent. If they take it they add it to their Future Life deck, if not it’s discarded.

When you run out of cards to draw or play, you die…

You look at the cards you played for points and pick a colour and if the total of those cards is equal to or higher than the required total you go up a level. If it’s lower you discard your cards and take a Karmic Ring. These rings can be used to give you +1 each to your total when you die.

Your Future Life pile now becomes your new hand and you add cards from the main deck to your personal deck so the total of your hand and deck is 6 cards.

This continues until someone reaches the top level and wins.


It’s fun… I generally don’t like to Take That but with this you get the card that screwed you, or you’re forced to give it to another player… so this Karmic balance makes the game tolerable.

The card abilities are good and manipulate each part of the game.. MOSTLY the higher value cards have the better abilities so keeping them for points or adding them to your Future Life deck is a tough choice. You’ll want to keep playing them for the ability but sending a powerful card back and forth doesn’t help you, it hinders.

We had a series of events in our 2 player game where two level 3 Thievery cards (Which steals a card from the opponents score pile) changed hands a lot and someone had to break the cycle. So there’s a balance to be found…

But still, the game is great and the artwork is amazing, looking forward to playing again with more than 2 players this time.

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