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Thinking Out Loud

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tsuro >> Quick Follow-up

I did get to play Tsuro, the new non-collectable, abstract boardgame from WizKids. For the price point (around $18) I definitely got my money's worth. I really like the game and its quick pace, even with the player elimination aspect -- but it didn't impress anyone else I've played it with. I love the art, style and elegance of the game. The layout and design is incredibly well conceived and implemented.

Gameplay is very quick, and the rules very simple. Each player has a small hand of tiles with paths on them, connecting opposite ends of each tile (so as more tiles get placed, these paths connect into longer, more convoluted paths). Each player also gets 1 pawn, which starts out placed along the outer edge of the board. The rules and goal couldn't be simpler: Place a tile next to your current piece, then move your piece along the new path created as far as it will travel... And try to be the last one standing on the board.

Sure, there's an initial rush to reach the center of the board, so a path won't take you to the edge right away -- but as soon as more people get toward the center, the more tiles there are that can connect to a newly placed tile, creating some very long circuits sending pawns all over the place. It's a neat, lightly strategic exercise in visualization, with wonderful looking components. That said, Tsuro feels a lot like Dirk Henn's Metro, but with only one "train" to worry about per player...

The Bottom Line: I'd like to get in more plays and see if it changes the opinion of anyone in my group. It plays quickly enough that I'd wager no one would necessarily turn it down -- but I don't think anyone (but myself) will be calling for it to hit the table. Tsuro's stellar production oozes elegance, and the gameplay is very quick. This is a solid, if not spectacular, "filler" abstract. Rating: 7/10.


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