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Subject: Tsuro Review: A weaving path into world of board games rss

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Artem Safarov
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Among many games that offer increasingly rich and complex mechanics, Tsuro stands out in its’ almost meditative, austere simplicity. It always remains faithful to its simplicity, yet in the process provides a satisfying, quick and surprisingly interactive experience that serves as a perfect introduction to board games.

The game can be explained within minutes – there is a board with a six by six grid on it (and a gorgeous phoenix artwork). Players take turns placing tiles with intertwining paths (each has a hand of three to pick from) and moves their piece along the path these are on. Each plastic piece represents a standing stone with a stylized dragon carved into it. Any piece that ventures off the board is out of the game and a collision of two pieces eliminates both.



The game accommodates 2-8 players and the more the merrier. Smaller games allow more room to manoeuvre and prepare, while more players means more proximity and proximity always leads to attempts to get your opponent off the board with a well-placed tile.



Tsuro is easy to explain to children (and is a hit with younger audiences in my experience) and most games are finished within 15 minutes. It can, however, be as complex as you want to make it – one could potentially plan out the exact routes that get formed in the endless entangling lines, but planning too far in advance requires lots of spatial reasoning and might make the game drag.



It works best as a filler game, a break between heftier offerings or as a first game you show to those new to the hobby. The components are all visually appealing and the tactile sensation of moving your smooth piece along the curved lines rewarding in itself (until you realize you just got yourself into a dead end at least!).

Tsuro aims low but delivers everything it promises and would be a great fit in any gaming collection.
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Jo Bartok
Germany
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Interaction leads to Immersion.
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Immersion leads to Fun.
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With 2 peeps, I did not like this game. Maybe its better with more... will have to try before I sell it off.
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Artem Safarov
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Jo, thanks for your comment.

I agree that the game takes too long to get exciting with two players. Given how quick it goes and how fun interaction is - I think that the more players the better for this one.
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Alison Mandible
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ionas wrote:
With 2 peeps, I did not like this game. Maybe its better with more... will have to try before I sell it off.


I find it incredibly boring at all player counts. I would much rather play "let's sit around and chat for a minute" if I need to fill 10 minutes at game night. Tsuro is not for everybody.
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Ray W
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One of our favorite rules variations with two or three players is to give each player two stones. This speeds up the game and gives players a chance to try two different strategies at once.
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Artem Safarov
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Ray, that's a really cool house rule, I gotta try it out!

Mandible, I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy the game.
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Virginia Milne
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IMHO Tsuro is to board games as Gilbert and Sullivan is to Opera. It allows people to say "Hey, I play board games!" echoing those in the past who could claim "Ahem, I am known to frequent the opera!"
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Artem Safarov
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David, that is certainly one way to look at it.

Another would be to consider it a stepping stone to "real" board games.
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Igor Panchenko
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The design of the game is amazing. Carvings on stones, board illustration. I think this would be a good addition to any board gaming collection.
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Jerold Wallis

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If you want a more exciting version, try Tsuro of the Seas. It can be played as the original or with added dragons to make things more interesting.

Edit - however tsuro of the seas plays slower (per other folk comments and also per my one play of it) and makes it more random, so it may make the game outstay its welcome.
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