2002 Gamers' Choice Awards Nominee  
deutscher Text über Kanaloa



A tactical game for 3-4 players aged 12 and up*

This Kanaloa.Bambus is not the same game
as the Kanaloa published by Tilsit

Pele - goddess of firePele - goddess of fire


Game Contents
How to Play
Setting Up the Game

Start phase

Gods cards:   Kanaloa  Ku   Pele   Lono
Game End + Scoring

Rules for Three Players:
Rules for Two Players:

Tactical notes
Thanks to...

--> Easily Missed Rules by Rick Heli

*with additional rules for 2 players
   Duration: about 90 minutes

Designer: Günter Cornett  -  Graphics: Claudius Schönherr  -  Translation: Rick Heli


Game Contents:

  • 1 game map: It shows 12 islands connected by 28 ocean currents, as well as a Dolphin.

    There are two offering sites on each island.
  • 28 fish
    (7 per player color)
  • 8 playing pieces
    (2 per player color)


  • 4 gods cards:
    Kanaloa, Ku, Pele und Lono
  • 4 protection cards:
    Kanaloa, Ku, Pele und Lono
  • 2 overview cards
Kanaloa Pele
  • 110 temple pieces:
    (in the colors of the 5 gods)

40 of         40 of             30 of
value 1      value 3         value 9

  • 104 wood tiles:
    • 11 volcano tilesvolcano tiles
    • 93 offerings:offerings
VulkanausbruchOpfer für Kanaloa Opfer für Ku         
Opfer für Pele oder Lono
Opfer für Kane
      • 24 related to a god
        (per god, 3 each having values 4 and 5)
      • 36 related to two gods
        (in each case having values 2, 3 and 4)
      • 33 universally-applicable Kane tiles
        (having values 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  • 1 cloth bag for offerings and volcano tiles
  • 1 volcano
  • two copies of these rules

    Before the first game...

    ... stick the labels showing the offerings and volcanoes to the wooden tiles. Simply remove the overview cards, gods cards and protection cards from the cards sheet.

Special Note for Fewer Players

In two- and three-player games the protection cards are not needed and only eight or ten islands are used. Also, in two-player games some of the wooden tiles remain in the box.

More on this at the end of these rules.

How to Play:

An archipelago of twelve islands somewhere south of Hawaii: the players travel from island to island and collect offerings suitable for the gods. In return they receive support and the temple pieces necessary to win the game.
kanaloa Kanaloa [pronounced kah nah low ah] - god of the sea and the wind - helps players travel from island to island.
KuKu - [koo] - god of war (and of herbs) - helps players in the struggle for food. Also called the "Island Robber".
PelePele - [pay lay] - goddess of fire - her anger causes volcanoes to erupt.
LonoLono - [low no] - god of fertility (as well as peace, recreation and the weather) - ensures that sufficient food is always available on the twelve islands.
KaneAbove all there is Kane [kah nay] - god of life and the sun.

The four gods Kanaloa, Lono, Ku and Pele support in each case those players who sacrifice to them most. Offerings for the most important god, Kane, are particularly important for scoring at the end of the game.

Setting Up the Game:

The temple pieces and the protection cards are placed beside the game map.

The offering tiles (but not the volcano tiles) are put into the cloth bag.From this, 24 offerings are randomly drawn and placed face up on the designated island spaces.

Now, without revealing them, draw 6 further offerings. Add to them a volcano tile. Place all 7 face down on the Bambus logo portion of the game map. These tiles are only needed shortly before the end of the game. The remaining 10 volcano tiles are now mixed into the bag with the offerings.

Each player receives two playing pieces and seven fish of the same color, as well as a randomly-drawn gods card. The player with the gods card Pele also receives the volcano.

Make available for ready reference the two overview cards and the tactical notes at the end of these rules so that each player can quickly become familiar with the turn flow and the capabilities of the various gods.

We recommend for your first game:

One player explains the game on the basis of the rules, another uses the second copy to look up any questions which might come up.

Additionally we recommend skipping the "Placing Fish" rule and using the following starting setup instead: starting setup
(enlarge picture)


Start phase:

If the above starting setup was used, please skip ahead to Placing playing pieces.

Placing Fish:

Beginning with the player who has the Ku gods card, in clockwise order each player places one of his fish.

Each fish is set on an ocean current between two islands so that the fish is clearly heading towards one of the two islands.

In the later course of the game the movement of playing pieces from island to island always follows the direction of the fish: note that by the end of this phase each island must have at least one fish head and also one fish tail pointing to it.

Moreover: Each island must be theoretically reachable from every other island.


There is the theoretical possibility that during the start phase through inattentiveness a situation develops such that from two (or more) adjacent islands all fish are pointing away (or all fish adjacent to these islands point inward).

If this is the case, the fish that will be placed on the connection between these two islands, will violate the rules. In this case the fish is placed in this state for the time being.

Then the player holding the Kanaloa gods card adjusts the fish so as to conform to the rules, i.e. the direction of exactly one other fish adjacent to the islands in question is turned around.

But this procedure is only to be understood as a makeshift solution. Should a player notice that a placement of a fellow player will lead to a violation of the rules, he should make him aware of it. This player then makes a different move.

Also, note that the Kanaloa player is not allowed, when rotating a fish in the course of game, to create a situation which causes a rules violation.

It is left to the player placing a fish whether the white or the colored side is showing. During the start phase it should be observed:
playing pieces may only move over white fish or over a fish of its own color. After each time a fish is moved over, it is turned over to show the other side (either white or colored). It nevertheless maintains the same orientation.

Placing playing pieces:

After all of the fish have been placed, the players -- beginning with the player holding the Ku gods card -- in clockwise order place their first playing pieces. During the start phase only one playing piece may be placed on each island. In later course of play this restriction no longer applies.

The second playing piece may not be placed during the start phase. It can only come into play as a result of an offering to Lono, the fertility god.


For tactical reasons it is important that fish not be placed only with one's own color showing.

When placing a playing piece one should ensure that the predatory Ku player cannot move onto one's current space or onto the space onto which one wants to move.

(See also the tactical notes at the end of the rules.)


Course of Play:

When all of the fish have been placed and each player has chosen a location for a playing piece, the Ku player takes the first turn.

The current player has two options.
Either:   He moves one of his playing pieces.
Or: He sacrifices as many offerings as he likes to a god.

One of these two actions must be executed. Additionally one can use one characteristic of his gods card.


The player moves his playing piece (from tail to head) over a white fish or a fish of his own color to an adjacent island. Immediately afterwards the fish is turned over, so that the other side is showing. However, it maintains the same orientation.

If a player cannot move, because no white or same-colored fish is pointing to an adjacent island, then the player can execute one of two alternative actions:
  1. Turn over the fish of a fellow player. A fish with its tail touching the island where the player's playing piece currently stands is turned so that the white side is showing. In his next turn the player can then use this fish to leave the island.

If another player comes to this island, it is possible that he might use the turned fish to continue his movement and thereby turn it back to the colored side.

  1. Call the Dolphin: The Dolphin takes the player to any island, but at the cost of more time.

    The player places his playing piece on the Dolphin at the top of the game map. On his next turn he must place the playing piece on the selected island. There he gives a tile to the Dolphin, i.e. he removes it from the game and replaces it with a new tile from the bag. He cannot take any further actions (also cannot perform the special action conferred by his gods card).

    Several playing pieces may be on the Dolphin space at the same time, each one for only one round. A Dolphin is not affected by volcanic eruption.

If a player has two playing pieces on the board (see Lono) and is only able to move one, he decides whether to move this playing piece or execute an alternative action with the blocked playing piece. Of course he may also sacrifice instead of moving a playing piece.

Upon arriving on an island, the player takes one of the two offerings. Then he draws a new tile from the bag. If it is a volcano tile he places it on the edge of the game map and draws tiles until he gets an offering. This he places on the island.

Vulkanausbruch   Note: With the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th volcano tiles placed on the game map, there is a volcanic eruption, the turn passing immediately to the Pele player. First, however, he draws to get a new offering tile and places it on the island.

If there is no volcanic eruption, then it is the turn of the next player in clockwise order.


A player voluntarily sacrifices as many of his offerings as he likes to a god. One may never sacrifice to more than one god at the same time. Additional restrictions:

At least one tile of an offering must show the symbol of the corresponding god. Additional tiles showing the symbol of this god or that of Kane can also be offered at the same time. (Thus, if all tiles show the Kane symbol, they must be offered to Kane.)

An offering tile showing two symbols may be sacrificed to one of the two gods whose symbols are depicted.
Offering for Kane Offering for Kane  Offering for Kane (7 points)
Offering for Pele or for Lono Offering for Pele or for Lono (2 points)
Offering for Pele or for Lono Offering for Pele or for Lono Offering for Pele or for Lono (7 points)
Offering for Pele Offering for Pele Offering for Pele Offering for Pele (8 points)
Offering for Pele Offering for Pele Offering for Pele Offering for Pele (11 points)
nicht erlaubt nicht erlaubt nicht erlaubt Not allowed, because there is no god who accepts all three offerings.

The point values of the sacrificed tiles are totaled. The player takes temple pieces in the color of the god in question and stacks them in front of himself to form a tower. The large pieces count nine points, the medium, three, and the small, one point. For a better overview, players should exchange smaller for larger pieces as soon as possible (three ones for a three, three threes for a nine). In this way it can be grasped more easily, who has the most valuable temple to a particular god.

The expended offerings are removed from the game.

Gods cards

If a player has sacrificed more to a god than has every one of his fellow players (compare temple values), he immediately receives the gods card of the god in question. The player, who previously had the gods card, now receives the protection card.

The protection card is also given to the player who sacrifices more to a god than the past owner of the protection card, but not more than the owner of the gods card.

A condition for the receipt of a gods or a protection card is in any case that the player has sacrificed to this god at least as much as to Kane.

As soon as the owner of a gods card has sacrificed more to the god Kane than to the god corresponding to the gods card, he must give this gods card to the holder of the protection card. The protection card is now given to the player with the third most sacrifices to the god. If there is a tie, the card is instead unowned and placed beside the game map. Follow this same procedure if the owner of a protection card has sacrificed more to Kane than to the god in question.

When sacrificing one should definitely consider the possibilities and consequences conveyed by the special characteristics of the gods!

Ownership of a gods card brings the player the strong support of the respective god. Ownership of the protection card brings a weaker form of support. Mostly it protects from the effects of the gods card.

Each player may possess more than one gods card and protection card. However, a player may only execute one gods card action per turn. This limitation does not apply to protection cards.

KanaloaKanaloa Gods Card: After his turn the Kanaloa player may additionally turn any one fish. He may alter either the orientation of the fish or change its color, but not both. He may not change a fish so that all fish of an island point inwards or that all fish of an island point away.

Also he may never take away a playing piece's last chance to leave the island on which it is currently standing. However, he may try this on an island which a player will presumably later enter.

Kanaloa Protection Card: The owner of the Kanaloa Gods Protection Card may forbid the Kanaloa player from turning a fish of his color, regardless of whether or not the color is currently showing.

If this happens the Kanaloa player may instead choose another fish to turn.

Ku Ku Gods Card: The Ku player robs a fellow player upon encountering him on the same island, i.e. he takes the offering tile of his choice. This may occur during the turn of either the Ku player or the other player. If the Ku player moves to an island already containing several playing pieces, he selects one of these players to rob.

If a player moves to the island where the Ku player is, then the robbery occurs before the player picks up his tile from the island. A player who has no offerings at the start of his turn thus cannot be robbed on this turn.

If at the start of his turn the Ku player finds himself on the same island with another player, this player cannot be robbed since robberies only occur at the moment of first meeting.

Ku Protection Card: The owner of the Ku Protection Card cannot be robbed by the Ku player.

Pele All volcano tiles previously-drawn over several rounds are collected together. Every second volcano tile causes a volcanic eruption, thus on the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th volcano tiles. If more than two volcano tiles are pulled in the same round, e.g. the 6th, 7th and 8th, then there is nevertheless only one volcanic eruption in that round.

Pele God Card: When there is a volcanic eruption, it immediately becomes the Pele player's turn (the player who drew the volcano tile may not take any more special actions such as turning an arrow or placing a playing piece in this turn; other players before the Pele player are passed over). The Pele player places the volcano on the vacant island of his choice. As long as the volcano is on the island, it may not be entered by anyone.

Then the Pele player takes his turn. However, if he holds multiple gods cards, he may not during this turn execute any further special actions.

Playing pieces on the islands which are adjacent to the volcano island lose a turn (even if it they have already been passed over in this round). They may not move, sacrifice, or execute a special action. The Pele player does not lose a turn, unless he has not sacrificed anything at all so far to the goddess Pele (but rather received the card at the beginning of the game).

When the Pele player has finished his next turn, he removes the volcano from the island.

If there is a volcanic eruption and no player holds the Pele card, then the Player, who drew the volcanic tile carries out these actions.

Pele Protection Card: The owner of the Pele Protection Card does not lose a turn to the volcano.

Note: If a player has two playing pieces on the game map, he may take a turn with a playing piece that is not adjacent to the volcano island.

Lono Lono Gods Card: The Lono player may exchange any two offering tiles of his choice from adjacent islands. Subsequently, he takes a normal turn (move/sacrifice). If the Lono player has not performed such an exchange, and his second playing piece has not yet been placed, he may instead place it at the end of his turn.

Exception: The Lono player may not place a second playing piece until he has sacrificed to Lono at least once.

Lono Protection Card: If the owner of the Lono Protection Card has not yet placed his second playing piece, then he may do so at the end of his turn.

The second playing piece: The second playing piece is always placed on a vacant island. If a player does not wish to place his second playing piece as soon as he has earned the right to do so, he may delay until the end of a later turn during which he still holds the Lono Gods or Protection Card.

If at the beginning of his turn both of a player's playing pieces are on the game map and he holds neither of the two Lono cards, the player must remove one of his playing pieces. That is: the complete loss of support from Lono is the only one way for the second playing piece to be removed from play.

It is always the case that only one playing piece is moved. If one sacrifices, no playing piece is moved. If a playing piece is blocked by a volcanic eruption, he may move the other playing piece if it is not blocked, or he may sacrifice. If both playing pieces are blocked by the volcanic eruption, he may not sacrifice. In this case, the special actions are also not available (turning fish, robbing offerings, ...)

Kane does not have a special function during the game.
He ensures that players lose the support of a god if they sacrifice more to Kane than to the other god. Offerings for Kane are very important for the scoring at the end of the game, however.

Game End

After all tiles have been drawn from the bag, the seven tiles which were placed on the Bambus logo at the start of the game are put into the bag and the game continues as usual.

When the 11th volcano tile is drawn, the game ends immediately and no more turns are taken.


Each player's Kane temple determines how his other temples are scored:

Temples whose values are smaller than that of the Kane temple are not scored. Temples whose values are larger than that of the Kane temple are reduced to the value of the Kane temple. To show this, the surplus pieces are removed, if necessary by replacement with smaller pieces (but save those removed in case of a tie -- see below).

Now each player sums the values of his Kane temple and his other temples having the same height as the Kane temple. The player with the highest total value wins the game.

In the case of a tie the higher point total of the unscored temple pieces (removed temple pieces and unscored temples) decides.

An example: At the end of the game a player has temples of the following values:

Kane: 16Ku: 9Kanaloa: 16Pele: 15Lono: 22

The temples of Ku and Pele are not scored since their values are smaller than the temple of Kane.
The Lono temple is reduced to 16. Thus the temples of Kane, Kanaloa and Lono score in each case 16 points (= 48 points).

If the player had sacrificed only 15 points of offerings to Kane, the Pele temple would have been included in the valuation and Kane, Kanaloa, Pele and Lono would have scored 15 points each (= 60 points).

Note: It is thus neither worthwhile to sacrifice exclusively to Kane (since then other gods are prevented from scoring) nor to excessively promote certain gods and neglect Kane.

Rules for Three Players:

The protection cards are not used; no player is protected. Also, the Pele player is affected by the consequences of the volcanic eruption.

It is played on only 10 islands. No tiles are placed on the two bright islands showing shipwrecks and no fish are placed adjacent to these islands either. Thus they cannot be entered. Of course no volcano can break out on these islands either.

At the beginning of the game the Pele, Lono and Ku gods cards are distributed to the players. The Kanaloa gods card comes into the play only if a player sacrifices to Kanaloa.

Rules for Two Players:

Kanaloa should only be tried with two if one has already played the four-player version multiple times.

The protection cards are not used; no player is protected. Also the Pele player is affected by the consequences of the volcanic eruption. Now the volcanic eruption occurs not on an island, but in a sea space. The Pele player places the volcano on a light blue space between islands and ocean currents. The three (or two) adjacent islands are all affected. As long as the volcano is in this sea space, the adjacent islands may not be entered. Also, no special actions may be taken here (no arrows to these islands may be turned, no playing pieces entered).

Each player receives two gods cards. The strongest gods, Lono and Kanaloa, should not be assigned to the same player. We recommend: Lono and Ku against Kanaloa and Pele.

It is played on only 8 islands. No tiles are placed on the two bright islands showing the shipwrecks or on the two dark islands adjacent to the canoes. They may not be entered. Two fish of a color not being used are placed colored side up on two ocean currents. Ideally so that each island is connected to three or four of the other ocean currents. During the game these fish can be turned just like all of the others after movement or by the Kanaloa player.

Four volcano tiles and a third of the offerings are not needed. Since each of the 31 different offerings is available exactly three times, one can select out the appropriate tiles. The offerings can of course also be chosen randomly, but this can lead to games of an extreme nature.

The game ends with the 7th volcano tile draw.

Tactical notes:

At the start of the game the players, particularly those who do not enjoy the favor of the god Ku should beware of placing all of their fish with their own color upward. This is because when they travel over their fish, they will be turned to show the white side -- an ideal way for the Ku player to follow his victim and to rob him round after round.

Mainly is it useful to first collect a few offerings before one sacrifices several to a god all at once. Frequent sacrificing means a loss of speed. It is also important to consider that through sacrifices one can take the support of a god from another player. When sacrificing, consider whether another player is able to sacrifice a larger point total to the same god.

At the start of the game the god Kanaloa is very strong. The support of this god rather strongly permits obstructing other players and itself provides an advantage. With advanced players there is strong conflict over this god already at the beginning of the game.

Support from Pele becomes particularly interesting if there is already a Pele tile available and as it becomes more probable that a second will appear. At this point one should at least think about passive protection from Pele. Also, the player order is interesting: if the Pele player sits directly left of a player, he is more likely to force this player to lose a turn than if he sits to the right of him.

Support from Lono becomes particularly important towards the end of the game, since at that point the players need very specific tiles in order to come out in front in the scoring. Use of a second playing piece is often a good idea, however, it also facilitates attacks by the Ku player.

Ku is the weakest God, particularly in four-player games. Constantly present as a threat, he frequently does not really have a chance. He becomes very strong however when played with Kanaloa, the (even if only passive) support of Lono (2 playing pieces) or Pele (players who have lost turns cannot flee).

Special thanks to...

...Steffi, Holger, Mirko, Antje, Uwe, Martin, Faxe, Achim, Gabi, Monika, Matthias, Jochen, Michael, Brigitte, Wolfgang, Robert, Ulf, Benni, Michael, Alexandra, Christiane, Kagi, Gela, Annaberg-Team, Hippodice-Spieleclub und alle anderen SpieletesterInnen, die ich vergessen habe, hier zu erwähnen...

... Rick Heli, /, for English and
Frank Wils,, for dutch translation.

The designer
Günter Cornett: born in 1960 in Flensburg I live, play and work in Berlin; I construct web-sites and review games; I like to play Tichu, Settlers of Catan-basic game, 1830...

The graphic designer
Claudius Schönherr, architect, lives in Berlin, Designer of La Bandera.

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