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Subject: ChipChuck Reviews: Tsuro rss

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Chip Crawford
United States
Aubrey
Texas
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Facts:

Designer: Tom McMurchie
Year: 2004
Players: 2 - 8
Ages: 8 +

Factors:

Presentation:

Covers the overall look and feel of the game (graphics, box art, board art, pawns, etc.) Scored 1-5

Tsuro’s presentation is beautiful. Starting with excellent box art, you open into a rice paper insert covering the rules card that unfolds like an official decree but not as long. Everything about this game is pretty.

Rules:
Rates how easy to understand the rules are, and how those rules apply to gameplay. Scored 1-5

The rules are easily understood. The experience of reading the rules goes back to presentation. Even the card is a visual. The designers definitely put some time in on maintaining aesthetic flow.

Time:
Covers the amount of time needed to play based on a standard knowledge of the rules. Scored 1-5

Tsuro can be played very quickly due to elegant mechanics and parts. This is a perfect “Coffee Table Quickie” type of game, but it can also hold its own with hard-core abstract strategy players.

Gameplay:
Rates how the game mechanics work to create an enjoyable experience. Scored 1-5

Gameplay is fairly straightforward. Lay a tile, move your piece along the path, and try to be the last piece on the board. The only real issue I have is here. Depending on the situation, the game can end abruptly with one lucky tile pull allowing you to ditch your opponent, or in games that reach board capacity, the game ends in a cascade of “no other choice but to ditch myself” actions that result in the last player taking the win by default.

Overall:
Represents an average of Presentation, Rules, Time, & Gameplay. Shown 1-5

Tsuro is worth the shelf space. It’s a beautiful game visually, and its simplicity makes for a relaxingly pleasant experience. It’s Zen Gaming.
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Steve Bachman
United States
Colonie
New York
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I agree Tsuro is definitely worth the shelf space. My sons - of varying age and skill - and their non-gamer mother all enjoy playing this game with me. You can up the cutthroat level against hard-core gamers, or enjoy a relaxed game against non-gamers. It also handles up to 8-players which allowed me to use in a Cub Scout meeting with 6 year olds.

My question about your review: How would a game be able to get 5 stars in 'Time'? Tsuro is a pretty quick game.
 
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Susie_Cat
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Oxfordshire
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To me, I wouldn't give 5 stars to the quickest game, or the longest game, but the game that is the perfect length for the game. In other words, the game that never drags, and never feels that it's over too quickly, but always leaves you wanting more.



Susie_Cat.
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David Gibbs
Canada
Ottawa
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I agree that the game can end quickly with forced death moves -- but a main part of the strategy (what there is, in this quick & light game) is to maneouver yourself so that you end up in one of the bigger, rather than smaller, separated sections the board gets broken up into. So, often that "win by default" is the result of earlier careful play.
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Susie_Cat
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A week after I'd been given this as a pressie from my other half, I had the opportunity to buy Indigo for a very good price. I was told that it was the same as Indigo, but better. This gave me a problem, as I didn't want to get rid of the gift, but I couldn't see that I'd want to keep both. In the event, as I didn't have a space problem then, I bought it and decided to see what happened.

Our conclusion is that Indigo is clearly a better game. A much better game. No question. However, Tsuro still has a place on our shelf because:

1) It plays 8.
2) It is a quick game.
3) It is very easy to teach.
4) It has player elimination, but as games are short this is not a bad thing - effectively it is the penalty for losing!

Then Tsuro of the Seas came out and I wondered we should get that. Many people said it was a more strategic game and I liked the colours. Then some friends bought it and the expansion, so we played it with them...

We concluded that Tsuro of the Seas definitely does NOT have a place on our shelf, because it takes all the things we like about Tsuro and breaks them:

1) It plays 8, but gets worse with more players.
2) It is a much longer game.
3) It is not as easy to teach and has a randomness that is hard to explain.
4) It has player elimination and as games are long this is now a bad thing. We played a game of this and someone was out right at the beginning and spent the next hour or so watching...

Susie_Cat.
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David Gibbs
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Thanks for the pointer to Indigo, I may add that to my collection -- though with both Tsuro and Metro, it may not be different enough.

And while I haven't played Tsuro of the Seas, looking at the changes involved I came to about the same conclusion you did -- that it wouldn't help things, but, in fact, hurt the game.
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