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Subject: Tsuro - One lovely 15-20 minute game for up to 8 players rss

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E.R. Burgess
United States
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In Tsuro, I think we've found another good filler for the more casual gamers in our group. With quick play and a clean design that allows for two to eight players, I knew I'd want to add this one to my collection as soon as my friend Matt led us through the first game of it (having nothing to do with the fact that I won the first two games of it handily against three other players).

Tsuro was designed by new-to-me (and designer Tom McMurchie and published by WizKids, a company more famous for hot money-making concepts like Mage Knight Rebellion (what a title, eh?) and HeroClix, where the user can keep buying more and more figures for the same game. Tsuro is nothing like their normal output, however, since it is an abstract strategy game in a single box for a reasonable price.

The game is very simple in design - players start their piece on a hash mark on some space around a grid of squares. Each hash mark is one of two that leads onto the board, where players play a single path-covered tile each turn (from a hand of three) that leads the two hash marks into a path one direction or another (or links them together back in a circle). When the player places the tile, their piece moves along the path created by the new tile and continues on if it leads to another tile. The object of the game is to stay alive by not linking to a path that will send you off the board. The optimal situation is to position yourself so another player will end their path right in front of you, allowing you place your next tile in a way that will keep you safe but send them off the board. There are enough tiles for all spaces on the board except one.

My winning strategy in six of eight games I've played so far was to fake that I was putting myself into a corner with no way out but to actually have a means of shooting back along a path to the remaining open spaces. There is risk involved in this strategy if the other players place a tile that will be a problem for you, but when you are barreling towards a corner, most write you off and worry about staying alive and other players that look to be in less dire positions.

The game takes 15 to 25 minutes and has minimal analysis paralysis problems because there are pretty limited choices each turn. Another good aspect of the game is that more players tend to make the game go quicker, not slower - a real rarity in games with so many players! All-in-all, it's a nice diversion that scales really well all the way from two to right players.
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