Review: Gift of Enlightenment
Publisher: Veritas Productions Ltd.
Year: 2004

Gift of Enlightenment cover

how we met

I discovered Gift of Enlightenment at a charity shop in Wisconsin. If you thrift a lot you may understand what I mean when I say that there are some shops that price high and others that don’t seem to care. This was a shop that prices high, so I didn’t have high hopes as I walked in the door. But I found Gift of Enlightenment for $2.99.

The box is solid and nice. It’s heavy. The back shows that I will be playing with polished rocks and crystals and warns me to avoid false idols. I absolutely, positively could not wait to play it.

how it plays

Gift of Enlightenment is a roll and move game where your object is to be the first player to follow the pathway to enlightenment, which grants you a gift from the book of enlightenment (also included in game).

the board showing circular movement

The path to enlightenment is a circle

To begin, each player is given an AURA card showing each of the seven chakras which they must aim to fill with each of the seven chakra crystals. Each player then chooses a pawn, represented by a polished rock.

Aura card showing three out of four crystals

Three down, four to go on my AURA card

Then each player is dealt five HUMANITY cards which are placed face up in front of them. HUMANITY cards represent positive and negative traits about you, represented by their blue and red text, respectively. As play progresses you may be required to pick up additional HUMANITY cards. If you do, you must keep the one you picked up but can never have more than five. Discarding is often necessary.

Sample HUMANITY cards including love, understanding, peace

My starting HUMANITY cards, because I’m good through and through

On this journey to enlightenment you will encounter many different obstacles. There are chance decks that will cause positive or negative things to happen to you. You may get another turn. You may end up in a jail-like space called FALSE IDOLS. You may be forced to change direction on your next turn. You may land on one of the seven chakra spaces and have to complete a CHAKRA CHALLENGE before being awarded that particular crystal.

False idols area representing jail

You may find yourself in the equivalent of jail

CHAKRA CHALLENGEs are all ever-so-slightly different from each other but generally all involve using your third eye to find a given card amongst a series of cards. For example, to obtain the Solar Plexus crystal you must shuffle the seven CHAKRA cards, line them up in front of you face down and then roll the die. You have that many attempts to find the yellow card using your inner power. In another example, you must give your neighbor the blue, green and indigo cards. They will place them face down in a line in whatever position they wish. You must use your sense of knowing to detect the blue card and energize that chakra.

Chakra cards showing seven different chakras and colors

Chakra cards, the focus of your third eye for much of the game

Once a player has five positive HUMANITY cards as well as a fully energized AURA card, accomplished by collecting each of the seven different chakras, they can safely land on PATHWAY TO ENLIGHTENMENT. The first player to do so wins the game and is rewarded with a GIFT OF ENLIGHTENMENT! This gift is found by using your cards to look up the appropriate entry in the book of enlightenment.

how it went

This game is amazing. I’m not sure how much it cost brand new, but the components are solid. You get a fancy box, you get a velvet pouch full of polished rocks, you get little shiny bedazzler crystal things, you get a book, you get a board, you get laminated instructions, you get a die, you get poker size cards, you get aura cards. And never before has my wayward group played a game with the object of achieving enlightenment.

Velvet bag, die, crystals and polished rock pawns

Some of the glorious components

One of the common complaints about this game is the play length. We were missing one of our group, so we played three player and I didn’t feel that the game was overly long. We played one or two other games that evening.

Overview of board with cards and pawns in play

Our gameplay, mid CHAKRA CHALLENGE

I definitely enjoyed the CHAKRA CHALLENGEs. They are all a little similar in that you are meant to use your intuition or inner power or third eye or whathaveyou to find the correct card. They reminded me a lot of Mario Party mini-games, except related to chakras. One could argue that failing one of these challenges is bad luck, but you could also argue that your intuition muscles are just not being exercised enough.

In either of these cases, the most control you have in the game is choosing which direction to move after rolling the die. In some cases you can choose to gamble by landing on one of the chance decks and seeing what happens. There was one memorable time during our play that Keri gambled on a chance deck; she had five positive HUMANITY cards and needed one more chakra crystal, so it made sense. Unfortunately it resulted in Keri drawing a negative HUMANITY card. As she tried to decide which positive card to get rid of, I gently suggested “Wisdom” and was rewarded with one of the most withering glares I have ever seen in my life.

Example chance cards showing positive and negative

Example chance cards

The game does have a certain amount of take that, mostly within the chance cards where you may be allowed to trade HUMANITY cards or otherwise mess with another player. For the most part, though, you are focused on your own game in this journey to enlightenment.

Unlike many reviews, I think this game is very simple to play. The rules were not overwhelming. Many people that have reviewed the game talk up the enlightenment aspect, some going so far as to say this is not a game so much as a tool to improve your intuition or a gateway to philosophy. I didn’t get that either, although I will admit the game gives you paths to learn more about the chakras in the book if you choose to.

In the end John won and went through the steps of narrowing down his cards to find his GIFT OF ENLIGHTENMENT. And yes, I took a picture of it. So it probably won’t come true.

Gift of Enlightenment entry encouraging one to forgive themselves for not being perfect

John’s Gift of Enlightenment, for all the world to see

play or pass

Play. This is a game of Mario Party on the path to enlightenment. I laughed. I cried (laughing). I now own a small velvet bag.

If you are looking for more shallow motivations to play, you can travel back in time by visiting Gift of Enlightenment’s website and learning about which celebrities were gifted the game. Then imagine that you might be playing at the same time!