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Subject: Gaming with my Girls - Part XVII: Ingenious rss

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Brian Homan
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This is part seventeen in an ongoing series of reviews that I am writing about the games that my family plays, why we love them and what you should know before making a purchase. I have three unique daughters, ages 12, 10 and 7 who love to play games with me, and a wife who sometimes likes to join in. Finding games that we all enjoy can be a challenge, so I am constantly trying to introduce more games to the family to build a collection that we can all appreciate. Today's review:
Ingenious



I originally bought this game to play with my wife, as there are so few games that I own that meet both of our criteria for games that we want to play. Ingenious does not have a lot of rules, it's quick to explain, and has a relatively short play time. After playing this several times with my wife, some of my kids began inquiring about it, so I thought it would be a good game to try with them. As it turns out, I was right.

Ingenious is an abstract game by one Riner Knizia, prolific designer of games with mathy scoring mechanisms. Seriously, this dude loves math. Fortunately, this one isn't too complicated for the kids. The game is played on a board in the shape of a hexagon and is made up of smaller hexagons. The play space is determined by the number of players, with the outer rings of the board being reserved for 3 and 4 player games.

Players begin the game with six two-hex tiles that contain a colored symbol in each hex.



Players take turns playing these tiles to the board and scoring points by how many like-colored symbols are in a line, radiating out from he placed tile, in all directions. Points are awarded to the player based on the number of like symbols your tile is connected to. The game ends when no further plays are possible to the board.

 


When a player reaches a score of 18 in any given color, he is "Ingenious!" and may make an additional play, but may not draw tiles to replace their placed ones until the end of their turn.
Additionally, if players do not have any remaining tiles that contain symbols corresponding to their lowest color, they may remove all tiles from their rack, and replace them with tiles from the bag. The tiles they removed from their rack are then mixed in with those remaining in the bag. At the end of a player's turn, they should always have six tiles on their rack.

Players must be sure to score in each of the six colors, and attempt to balance this scoring throughout the game, as the final score for a player is determined by his lowest color. Red, green, yellow, blue and purple might all be at 18, but if orange is at 2, then the player scores 2 points for the game.



So what's so great about this game?
It's a great way to kill a half hour or so. I'm not much of an abstract guy, but I do really enjoy this game. My wife and I have been known to play several games in a row, and she's usually the one requesting a re-match.
cool It's very accessible. There is very little to this game conceptually, and young and old alike can pick up on it pretty quickly. The scoring is the tricky part, but a few visual examples will have newbies up and running in no time.
It scales well. This game is great as a 2-player game, but is also fun for three or four.
It's good for a game with just a little screwage. A lot of people don't care for direct confrontation, but this game offers the ability to be as nice or mean as you and your family care to play. Generally, you're not going to hose your opponent unless it directly benefits you in some way, as purposely getting in someone's way will often not do much for scoring you additional points.
bag It's pretty cheap. You can find a copy of this for right around $10-$20 here on the geek. You can find it for between $25 and $30 at online retailers.
It's good for newbies. The game looks interesting enough to draw people in, and is enjoyable enough to keep them coming back. The quick start-up time and the fast play time allows for new comers to get in on the action, get a feel for it in a single short game and have many happy returns.

So what's not so great about this game?

robot There's not a lot to this game, so consistent repetitive plays can feel very samey. It's good for a few plays in a row as part of a rotation, but a gamer is likely want something with a little more meat on it's bones as time goes by.
zombie I'll give Mr. Knizia points for not pasting a theme on this one, but for those who love theme games, this abstract may not rev their engine. What it lacks in theme, it makes up for in speed, so at least the pain is over quickly.
angry Another game that only plays up to 4. Larger families won't be able to all play this one together.

So what do we think about this game?
Beka's (12) Opinion: This is a fun game, and I like playing it, but it's not something I ask to play a lot. Beka's Rating: 7

Lindsay's (10) Opinion: N/A. To my knowledge, Lindsay is the only one of us who hasn't played this one. I'll have to remedy that shortly, and will update her opinion when she has one.

Abby's (7) Opinion: This is a great game! I even beat my dad once! (she did indeed blush) I ask to play this one once in a while, and if I see mom and dad playing, I usually want to play too. Abby's rating: 8.5

Kristin's Opinion
: This is one of the games Brian owns that we both like quite a bit. I like that it's short and fun, and that I can win once in a while. I like playing this game as a series, usually best two out of three. I recommend this one for couples, as it plays great as a two player. It's fun with the kids too. Kristin's rating: 8.

My Opinion: I played this game initially at a local meetup, and I knew that this was the kind of game that Kristin and I would both enjoy. As stated earlier, I'm not much of an abstract guy, so the fact that I enjoy this as much as I do is a testament to how good this game is. It's perfect for some couple time, some family time, or any time when you have a half hour to kill. My rating: 7.5.

Overall Opinion: Ingenious belongs on the family game shelf. It's any easy way to introduce others to the hobby and to spend quality time with one another. You'll get your money's worth out of this one. Overall rating: 7.75.

Please feel free to leave comments and let others know what you think, and as always, please feel free to leave feedback. I'm always interested to hear what I can do better as a reviewer. Thanks for reading!

The Geeklist containing this review series can be found here
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Lynette
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Yep, I am a girl Scientist. Come for the breasts; Stay for the brains!
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Nice review and I love the concept of going over games you play with your family like this as a "series".
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Shaun Graham
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Brian, I really enjoy reading your reviews. I think they are very well structured, fun to read and informative. Including your whole family's opinion complements the entire article. Let's hear more from your boardgaming family!
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Ryan Tullis
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I always enjoy reading your reviews! What a nice take on games that are played with a family.

Shame that there isn't too much meat on Ingenious. To compare, would you say it has less on it than chess, go, or other abstracts?
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Brian Homan
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Ingenious » Forums » Reviews
Re: Gaming with my Girls - Part XVII: Ingenious
Tryken wrote:
I always enjoy reading your reviews! What a nice take on games that are played with a family.

Shame that there isn't too much meat on Ingenious. To compare, would you say it has less on it than chess, go, or other abstracts?


I would definitely say there is less meat here than Go or Chess. As I mentioned, I'm not much of an abstract fan, so I don't have that much experience with them. Ingenious, however, is a light-medium abstract that uses series connection rather than area control. The tiles on the board do not belong to any particular person, so you can build off of what your opponent plays to get bigger points. There is a blocking aspect to this that is useful, but no where near the depth of strategy required for games like Chess or Go. Think of Ingenious as an abstract for the masses.
 
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Brian Homan
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Meerkat wrote:
Nice review and I love the concept of going over games you play with your family like this as a "series".


ShaunFable wrote:
Brian, I really enjoy reading your reviews. I think they are very well structured, fun to read and informative. Including your whole family's opinion complements the entire article. Let's hear more from your boardgaming family!


Thanks, guys! I appreciate the feedback, and I'm glad the series has been helpful to you. I'm trying to get one review written a week, so keep checking back for more.
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Lynette
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You should consider putting them all into a Geeklist at some point. So that somebody who wants to find them all can easily do so.
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Brian Homan
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Meerkat wrote:

You should consider putting them all into a Geeklist at some point. So that somebody who wants to find them all can easily do so.


They are already in a geek list mentioned at the end of the review, but you can use this link too.
 
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Lynette
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bmhoman1 wrote:
Meerkat wrote:

You should consider putting them all into a Geeklist at some point. So that somebody who wants to find them all can easily do so.


They are already in a geek list mentioned at the end of the review, but you can use this link too.


laugh Duh!! How did I miss that? shake laugh
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Andy Andersen
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Great game, great review, great series.

Thanks.
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