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Subject: Van00uber's acquired taste reviews #5: Abalone rss

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Allen OConnor
United Kingdom
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In this series of reviews, I will look at games which are unloved, unappreciated or unknown to most board gamers. because some game simply don't get the love that they deserve.



Abalone is a two player abstract game with simple rules, and complex strategies. The game components are simple and sturdy, consisting of a plastic hexagonal board, and 28 marbles. The game does not take long to teach, but can be frustrating for new players, as some of the basic strategies are not obvious at first.
Each player has 14 marbles placed in a symmetrical pattern on a hexagonal board. Players take turn moving either one, two, or three marbles positioned in a line to move in a specific direction. if the marbles encounter a smaller number of enemy marbles, then those marbles are pushed to a new location.
The winner of game is the first player to push five enemy marbles off the board. Players will usually fight for control of the center of the board, and will try to keep their marbles together as mush as is possible.
When this game is played between two players of a similar skill level, it becomes a fairly long winded, strategic game. If you make a bad move, your marbles can be split and coming back can be very difficult.
One of the main strengths of Abalone as a game are the variations of setups, which tend to play out in very different ways. The standard setup has each players marbles sat on opposite sides of the board, there are lots of other setups that are more confrontational, and change the dynamics of the game significantly. Some of the setups include the use of different types of marbles, such as the picture below; in this game, the winner is the player who manages to push their opponents coloured marble off the board. Abalone Extra Player Marbles are available to allow the game to be played by up to six players, however the game plays best with two.



Abalone is a great abstract game, and has a lot of replay value and variation. Mixing the various setups, and adding other marbles to the game change the dynamics of the game so much, that you may as well be playing a different game entirely.

Pros:
- Great components
- Different setups keep the game fresh
- High skill curve
- Easy to teach

Cons:
- Hard to mix skill levels
- The marbles don't always go where you want them to
- Hexagonal box hurts my OCD

My Score 9/10

All in all, I would say that Abalone is my favourite abstract game. I love mixing the set ups, and love playing a long strategic game with another fan. If you are a fan of abstract games, you should really try abalone; its design and mechanisms give the game a sense of elegance and simplicity.




Click here to see my acquired taste reviews

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Kendahl Johnson
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Thanks for the review. The problem with abstracts is finding a partner. I just picked this up at Savers though and will give it a shot.
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Allen OConnor
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kendahlj wrote:
Thanks for the review. The problem with abstracts is finding a partner. I just picked this up at Savers though and will give it a shot.


I think that this game gets better when you play it with the same player; if your lucky enough to find someone to play the game with, give it a try with a few different starting set ups.
 
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