Kahuna - General game info
2 players, 10 years and older
AuthorG√ľnter Cornett (Lono)
IllustratorsClaus Stephan
Anke Pohl
Thilo Rick
Published byKosmos
Rio Grande Games
Online since 2004-10-01
Developed byKay Wilke (Sparhawk)
Yucata.de owns a license for the online version of this game. A big "thank you" to the copyright owners (publisher and/or author and illustrator) who make it possible to have this game for free online here!
Note: This online implementation uses slightly changed rules!
Kahuna - Rules

English translation by Jay Tummelson


Two priests, wielders of Kahuna magic, compete to learn who is the more powerful. They have selected a small group of 12 uninhabited islands and will use their magical powers to build bridges linking the islands. Each bridge gives a priest some control over the forces of the islands. When a priest has built enough bridges linking an island, he claims control over the island and its vast powers. As the magics and the control of islands shifts, the gods track the contest, declaring, in the end, who is the most powerful.


The gods watch for three rounds, keeping track of who controls the islands. The sum of these scores are tallied to determine which priest is the winner.


1    game board with 12 islands connected by dotted lines representing possible bridges
50 Kahuna magic bridges, 25 each in black and white
20 Kahuna stones, 10 each in black and white
24 cards, 2 for each island


  • Place the board on a table between the two players.
  • Each player takes 25 bridges and 10 stones of one color.
  • One player is chosen as dealer. The dealer shuffles the 24 island cards and deals 3 to each player face down; these are their starting hands. Each card bears the name of one of the 12 islands and shows the island in red on a small map of the archipelago.
  • The dealer then turns 3 cards face up next to the board.
  • and places the remaining cards in a stack up-side-down next to the board.
  • The non-dealer is the starting player and moves first. Afterwards, the players alternate turns throughout the three rounds.

Playing the game

During a turn a player may play from 0-5 island cards. After playing all the island cards desired, the player draws one card to add to his hand. A player may never have more than 5 cards in his hand.

1. Playing island cards
  • When a player plays a single card, he places it face-up on the table and then places a bridge on one of the available dotted connecting lines between the island on the card and one of its neighbors.
  • If the player wants to play several cards, they are played and bridges placed one at a time. (exception: removal of opponent's bridge)
  • All cards played are placed in a face-up discard pile.
  • Instead of playing card(s), a player may discard one or more cards secretly under the discard pile.
  • A player may choose to play no cards in a turn.
2. Control of an island: Kahuna stone placement
  • When a player has bridges on more than half of the connecting lines from an island, he controls that island and may place one of his Kahuna stones on the island. Note: the cards indicate the number of connecting lines under the island name.
  • When a player gains control of an island, he removes any bridges on that island belonging to his opponent. If such a removal causes the loss of control on a neighboring island, the Kahuna stone on the affected island is also removed. Bridges and stones thus removed are returned to the player who owns them.
3. Removal of opponent's bridge
  • A player may play a pair of island cards to remove an opponent's bridge between two islands.
  • The two cards must name only the two islands connected by the bridge to be removed. For example, the bridge connecting HUNA and ELAI can be removed only by playing one of the three following pairs of cards: "HUNA - ELAI", "HUNA - HUNA" or "ELAI - ELAI". The bridge is returned to the owning player.
  • The player could then play a card from either island (in the example above: HUNA or ELAI) to place his bridge between the two islands.
4. Drawing an island card
  • After a player has played all cards he desires, which could be none, he may add one card to his hand,
  • taking either one of the three face-up cards or the top card from the face-down stack. When one of the three face-up cards is taken, it is replaced by the top card from the face-down stack.
  • However, if a player chooses not to take a card, his opponent must take a card on his next turn.
  • If a player has five cards in his hand and chooses to take a card, he must first discard one or more cards.
  • A player's turn ends when he takes a card or indicates he has chosen not to take a card.

Scoring between the rounds

  • When the last card is taken (from the face-down stack and the three face-up cards) in the first and second rounds, the players count the number of islands they control (the number that have Kahuna stones). If the players control the same number of islands, no points are scored.
  • After the first round, the player with the most islands scores 1 point.
  • After the second round, the player with the most islands scores 2 points.
  • Note the scores on a piece of paper.
  • After scoring, shuffle the discard pile, draw three cards and place them face-up next to the board, and place the remaining cards face-down on the table. Bridges, Kahuna stones, and cards in the players' hands remain for the next round.
  • Play continues with the player who was next to play when the last card was taken.

Final scoring and game end

When the last card from the face-down deck is taken at the end of the third round and the last of the face up cards has been taken, each player takes one additional turn (without taking cards). After those two turns, the islands are scored for the third and final time. This time the player with the most islands is awarded the difference in points.

These points are added to those previously earned. The player with the most total points from the three rounds is the winner. If there is a tie, the player who scored most in the third round is the winner. If there is still a tie, the player with the most bridges at the end is the winner. If that does not resolve the tie, declare the game a draw and play another.

Premature ending

The game ends prematurely, if a player in the second or third round has no bridges on the board. In this situation, the other player is declared the winner.


The following example shows how within two turns, the control of the islands can change:

White's turn:

1) White plays BARI and places a bridge between BARI and DUDA, achieving the majority on BARI and places a white Kahuna stone on BARI. White then removes the black bridge between BARI and ALOA. Thus, black loses the majority on ALOA and removes the black Kahuna stone from ALOA.

2) Next white plays ALOA and places a bridge between ALOA and BARI. Thus, white now has the majority on ALOA and places a white Kahuna stone on ALOA. White now removes the black bridge between ALOA and HUNA, causing black to lose control on HUNA. Black must remove the black Kahuna stone from HUNA.

Black's turn:

1) Black plays two HUNA cards and removes the white bridge between HUNA and ELAI.

2) Then black plays ELAI and places a bridge between HUNA and ELAI and now has the majority on both HUNA and ELAI. Black places black Kahuna stones on HUNA and ELAI. White removes its bridges between HUNA and DUDA, DUDA and ELAI, and ELAI and BARI. Additionally, white removes its Kahuna stone from DUDA, having lost majority on that island.

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