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Tsuro» Forums » Reviews

Subject: For the Meeple, by the Meeple (Review of Tsuro) rss

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Michael Carpenter
United States
West Virginia
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Box Art




SUMMARY
Style of Game: Abstract Strategy Game
Play Time: 20 to 30 minutes
Theme: Pasted on
Number of Players: 2-8
Main Mechanics: Tile placement, route building
Components: Good
Weight: Light

SETUP
Start by laying out the game board. Next, shuffle the path tiles and give each player three tiles face down. Place the dragon tile out of the way, it will be used later. Players may look at their path tiles and the remaining path tiles are placed next to the board. They will be the draw pile. Finally, each player takes a marker and places it on one of the notches along the outside of the board.

The board consists of 36 blank spaces and 48 notches around the outside of the board.



Path tiles, front and back.

Back:


Front: The front of each tile has unique formation of four paths on it.


Placing your marker on a notch along the outside of the board.



OBJECTIVE
The objective of this game is to be the owner of the last marker on the board.


GAMEPLAY
Each turn in Tsuro consists of the steps.

Play a tile
Move markers
Draw a tile

Play a tile:
The first step is for the active player to play a tile from his or her hand.



When placing a tile a player must place the tile in a location that is directly connected to the current location of his or her marker. A player may not willingly place their new tile in a manner that will connect their marker to the edge of the board and thus eliminate the player on purpose. Toward the end of the game players may have to place a tile in this manner and eliminate themselves.

Move markers:
Once the new tile is placed, all markers that are on paths that are now connected to the new tile must be moved to the end of their path. A simple example of this is shown below.



In many situations at the beginning of the game markers will only move across one path tile. However, as the game progresses each tile that is placed has a better chance of connecting multiple tiles.





When this occurs markers will be moved across several path tiles.





The game begins to pick up once tile begin to be placed by each other. This is because players are able to place tiles in ways that will impact opponent's markers as well as their own if presented the opportunity. If a tile is ever placed that causes any player's marker to move off the edge of the board that player is eliminated.



Draw a tile:
At the beginning of the game the player who played a tile will be the only player to draw a tile once the markers have been moved. However, as the game progresses a player will eventually draw the last path tile. When this occurs the player will then place the Dragon tile, shown below, where the draw pile was before it was exhausted. When the next player goes to draw a tile they will instead take the Dragon tile. No more tiles are drawn until a player is eliminated and places their tiles back in the draw tile. The player with the Dragon tile will be the first player to then draw one of the new path tiles that have become available, followed by as many players as can take one of the new tiles. Once all players have three path tiles or the draw pile is again exhausted play continues. If the draw pile is exhausted before all players can take their third path tile then the player that attempts to draw a path tile but cannot will then take the Dragon tile.


The player with the last marker on the board wins the game. If two player's markers are on the board when the last tile

MIXTURE OF THEME AND MECHANICS
As with any abstract strategy game that claims a theme, this theme is pasted on. That is not a bad thing, but I'm not sure one person has ever asked what the theme of this game actually is, and to be quite frank, if they asked me I'm not sure I could really explain it to them. That really doesn't my opinion of this game at all though because I expect it to play as an abstract strategy game, not a thematic masterpiece. I suppose though that if you do consider the theme the mechanics make sense, but really has no influence on the game play.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Pros:
- Easy to learn
- Looks nice on the table
- Works well for kids

Cons:
- Unless you can see paths developing multiple turns ahead, the tiles offer very few decisions on your turn.
- Even though the game is short, it doesn't seem to tempt players to play the game more than once in a single sitting.
- While player interaction is hinted at, it is very easy to avoid other markers and thus avoid any true challenge of being effected by opponent's tiles. This isn't AS true toward the very end of the game.

I don't hate Tsuro but I don't really like it either. I never play Tsuro and at the end feel like I outplayed opponents or was outplayed opponents. This may be a poor assessment of the gameplay on my part but I leave the feeling more like the opponent drew one more tile that would work for him than I did, or vice versa. Maybe the game requires a better game plan during the early rounds but toward the middle and definitely at the end everyone just simply looks at their marker's location... checks all possible paths on each of their tiles... then places the only one that works... That to me isn't really compelling, even for abstract strategy games that I am willing to be lenient with.

This was the only abstract strategy game I owned for awhile so it was played when the situation was right, even with my reservations about the game, but now that I own MOD X I don't foresee this one coming off the shelf much. That's not to say MOD X is the best abstract strategy game ever or Tsuro is the worst. I just prefer MOD X to Tsuro and really don't need any more abstract strategy games in my collection. So if I ever do get one it will definitely be something I much prefer over Tsuro.

At the end of the day, Tsuro is about as fun as a puzzle. You aren't really making many choices. You simply find the piece you need, if you have it, and you place it where it belongs. If you enjoy puzzles and get a kick out of them, this may be something to check out. I have never really been a fan of puzzles, and this one give me that feel.



Rating - 4.5/10


If you enjoy my reviews please recommend and check out my geeklist For the Meeple, by the Meeple
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Adrian Brooks
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MariettaTennis wrote:
You simply find the piece you need, if you have it, and you place it where it belongs.


To avoid repeating myself, can I point you at my reply in the thread Why I don't like Tsuro? Tsuro's not a deep game, but there's more to it than you think.
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Michael Carpenter
United States
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I actually read your comment before I ever wrote my review of Tsuro because in some ways I do understand you get to make choices, but what you said just seems like what most people try to do. Maybe not the first time they play it but definitely as they play it a few times. Once you have peaked in this strategy it gets boring. Thus, receiving the low rating as something I would suggest often.

The game's objective is too simple to have a deep strategy.

Also, I'll repeat one point I made... You can strategize early on in the game, you can do a reasonable amount of decision making in the middle rounds but toward the end of the game you're all just hoping you have a tile that doesn't run you off the board. You can apply your strategy for a little bit but there are only 36 spaces on the board. If you're playing with 8 people... You get 4, maybe 5 turns. Lol.

Even with two players, which a lot of people claim is better for strategy. You can't even get to each other quickly if you start on opposite sides of the board. How strategical is it to simply not go off the board when no one is influencing your marker negatively. I do have to say that there are probably people who can play this game at a higher level than me though, for sure.



 
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