FTW Staff Picks - NMBR 9

For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new. 


Genre: Puzzle

Designer: Peter Wichmann

Player Size: 1 to 4 Players

Game Length: 20 minutes

For fans of: Ubongo, Patchwork, Fits

Tile-placing, puzzle games are among our favourite types of games here at the cafe. Ubongo and Patchwork are two of our most recommended titles. Last year a sneaky little number (pun intended) released with relatively quiet fanfare. NMBR 9 incorporates the various puzzle elements we love about those games, while adding a new dimension to the gameplay - depth.


In NMBR 9, players use unique number tiles to build their displays, scoring points only for tiles placed on higher levels. To begin the game, a deck of cards representing each of the tiles is shuffled and placed face-down. Each turn, one player reveals the top card of the deck. Each player must then decide how to place that tile in their display. The rules for placing tiles are as follows: the number side must be face up, tiles must be adjacent to one another, a tile on a higher level must overlap at least 2 tiles beneath it, and no tile may be moved after being placed. When all numbers have been placed, players score their display. The bottom level is scored as 0. Each tile scores its number value multiplied by the level it is on. The player with the highest score is declared the winner!

It sounds brutally simple and it is. You may worry that there is less complexity because you only have 10 tiles to work with, and everyone is completing their display simultaneously. But just like in games such as Karuba, you tend to focus on what you think will be better for yourself. As much as you focus on other players, you will likely divert to your own strategy.


Just as the game itself is simple and concise, so too is our reason for loving it. The game can even be played solitaire as a challenge to beat your high score. It may not be the meatiest choice of games, but it does succeed in bringing you back to continuously attempt to beat your previous best.

Earl OliverosComment