Arthur
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I am starting to get interested in the GIPF project, and I am wondering what would be a good introduction to that series of games. Which game in the project do you think is the best game to start off learning that sort of gameplay?
 
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Karl Schmit
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Menomonee Falls
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Hey OMOMS,
DVONN and YINSH are the most accesible games in the series, IMO. I'll show them to you on BSW sometime if you'd like.
 
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T. Rosen
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Arlington
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Hey Arthur,

I asked this question a little while back on a GeekList of mine (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/9020), see entry #2. People suggested different things, but YINSH seemed highly recommended, and I ended up going with that. I'm glad I did, I really enjoy YINSH. I do plan on buying both DVONN and ZERTZ within the next month or two, but have not really considered getting GIPF, TAMSK, or PUNCT really.

Also, I think I've seen you around the BGG channel on BSW, so you should definitely try out the GIPF games available on there, which are YINSH and DVONN, to see what you think of them. I'd be happy to teach either or both to you sometime if you don't want to just join a random game. I think there are other places on the Internet to try out other GIPF games, well at least PUNCT I think, but hopefully someone else will come along to share those URLs.

Best of luck deciding! meeple
 
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Brad Miller
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I only own ZERTZ, and find it quite the brain-burner. Good, quick, abstract. Though the shrinking board and forced moved mechanism might seem to be the antithesis of the rest of the series. I did see DVONN being played a week ago, and thought it looked pretty solid as well. Haven't seen or played the others.
 
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Ed Sherman
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I agree on YINSH and DVONN. Both are great. ZERTZ is also cool but can be a brain-burner.

ratpfink wrote:
Hey OMOMS,
DVONN and YINSH are the most accesible games in the series, IMO. I'll show them to you on BSW sometime if you'd like.
 
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Matt
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can't go wrong with YINSH
 
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Matthew Maisey
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Yes, Yinsh did it for me...although hopefully any should get you thinking. I love them all!
 
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Jeremiah Lee
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DVONN or YINSH would be the way to go in my opinion, and I would give the edge to DVONN. YINSH is a great game, but DVONN is a far shorter game than YINSH, and I've found it's easier to get to the table.

DVONN also is more strategic than YINSH, which seems to be much more tactical due to the chaotic nature of the board (you plan ahead, but not very far ahead).

A good game of DVONN will go 20-25 minutes, whereas a good game of YINSH is likely to clock in at 45-60 minutes.
 
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Kenneth Hullett
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Yinsh is the only one I own. Dvonn & Punct didn't work for me. Zertz is worth picking up if you like abstracts a lot.
 
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Arthur
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Wow! Every time I ask for something from this community, I always forget how good it is at providing answers. I think it is clear that YINSH is the runaway winner from popular opinion. Thanks, everyone! And I will also be taking ratpfink and/or Thommy up on those BSW offers..
 
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Darren M
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Another vote for YINSH and DVONN from me. Both are good and If I had to pick one over the other it would likely be YINSH... but they are different enough from each other that they are both worth owning.
 
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Michael Kandrac
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Grand Prairie
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Zertz or Dvonn. My 8 year old granddaughter has shown a preference for Zertz...

"Grandpa, let's play a game of Zertz."

I made the mistake of playing "casually" and she beat me 3 games in a row over 2 different sessions. Then a kicked it into high gear and took that 4th white ball.

Of course, I have to wonder, did she let me win?

Nah.

Dvonn is a much slower developing game while Zertz gets tense in a hurry. I enjoy both types of game experiences.

Gg
 
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Darren M
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Part of the appeal (to me anyway) of these games is the clean feel of the rulesest as well as the actual tactile feel of the pieces. I think it makes the game an even classier experience over just some cheap plastic bits.

A bit of a tangent but...

I've never played Go with really nice pieces but I CAN fathom how some would spend several hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a really nice board and stones. It gives a classy "elite" feel to the game and elevates the experience to a higher plane beyond simply playing an abstract game. I'm sure others have felt that feeling when you almost become "one" with the game as your mind is transported into it... and in many ways a good abstract allows you to do that better than any themed game can. A strange irony I suppose.
 
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Michael Howe
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Cromwell
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I personally find GIPF to be the best and deepest of the games, followed by YINSH. My least favorites would be TAMSK and ZERTZ. I'm lukewarm about DVONN and have not played PUNCT, though I suspect it lacks the clarity of the other games.
 
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Bill Koens
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Watsonville
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Quoted (and expanded on) from http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/7177

Which GIPF game? I’ve got them all and they are all good, but they are all different in their little ways.

GIPF. Perhaps the deepest of the bunch. It has the simplest rules set, so it is quickest to get into. But the number of different choices you have each turn, (place a piece anywhere on the edge and push in) makes each turn’s choice tricky. Also, because you can only directly manipulate the edge of the board it is can be hard to see how to use and manipulate the pieces in the center of the board. It can also be difficult to visualize what effects a move you make might have. It can run long if players think a long time about the moves as there is no internal time-limit as most (all?) the other games in this series have. In fact, now that I think of it, all of the other games in this series have a self-imposed time limit, but this doesn’t. This can’t be accidental.

TAMSK. The most innovative and unusual. The time-limit comes from the fact that each space can be landed on a limited number of times, not so much from the hourglasses. Due to the timing aspect of this (you must move an hourglass before it sand runs out or it is frozen and dead) this has the most tension during play: it requires a strange combination of focus and openness of vision. There are clever tactics you can use, like cornering an opponents hourglass with one of your and waiting for its sand to empty, then moving yours away. It is easy to teach, because the what you can do each turn is straightforward, and the winning conditions are easy (if you can’t move, you lose.) I enjoyable this every time I play, but its not my favorite, because I don’t understand it as well as some of the others.

ZERTZ. This one is the one where inexperienced players will get whomped by experienced players the most often, as it is easy for inexperienced players to fall into traps set by more experienced players, especially successive sacrifices leading to isolating a chunk of the board. Another reason it can be hard for beginners is the different victory conditions: 6 black, 5 grey, 4 white, 3 of each. The time-limit comes from the fact that the board shrinks after each player places a marble. The beginning of this one is fast, as there is a lot of space to work with, but near the end, this can have the most calculating, as the board is small: it can become a sort of anti-GIPF with only two or three decision trees that you can look down five or six moves because of the forced jumps that can occur. It tends to run in waves of build up of marbles and board shrinking followed by a series of jumps that clear up the board somewhat. I like this a lot, but don’t find many opponents cause I’m pretty good at it.

DVONN. My favorite of the bunch. The time-limit comes from the fact that every move empties a space that will never be refilled, effectively shrinking the board. Can feel directionless at the start, as there is often no obvious moves at the start. But quickly the game evolves into collection of islands and fingers providing isolation threats. The skill comes from perceiving those possibilites earlier than your opponent: this, more than any other of the series, is about seeing what is going on before your opponent. I always teach beginners that it is a good strategy to keep as many of your single pieces around as possible, as those are the most mobile. Of the series, this one plays the fastest, and has the strongest ‘catastrophes’ (in the mathematical sense) in that single moves can cause huge islands of pieces to be removed.

YINSH. I need to play this more often to evaluate it properly. The time-limit comes from the fact if you run out of pieces the game ends, but removing pieces from the board always moves one player or the other closer to victory, as you are trying to remove three of your lines before your opponent. Didn’t impress me on first play, as it seemed similar to GIPF, but much more wild. It has a similar ‘difficult-to-read’ feel as GIPF, but even more so, as you can place a piece anywhere on the board and then jump any direction. This prevents a deep ‘look-ahead’ tree, and forces you to be flexible in your thinking. I should give this a few more tries, but right now, it’s the one I like the least. But it is highly rated on the Geek, so who knows.

PUNCT. The newest one in the bunch. I enjoy this quite a bit, and would now rate it second (behind DVONN). This is a connection game: you are trying to link two opposite sides of the hexagonal board with your pieces. You can either add a piece to the board or move a piece on the board; the time-limit is due to the fact that when one player places his last piece on the board, the game ends. There is a nice three dimensionality to this game lacking in the others: the different shaped pieces and the rules for stacking lead to interesting configurations. Plus, since you can unstack, you have to keep track of what's going on beneath other pieces. Punct lacks the sudden sweeping changes in Dvonn, and the line removal Gipf and Yinsn; in fact, of the series, this is the game that proceeds the most incrementally---there are no sudden changes to the board configuration.
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Jon
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yinsh may be the easiest to learn, but it lacks the panache of zertz, which is also simple to learn.
 
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Bill Herbst
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Sayville
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They're all good but Zertz is the best in my opinion and would make the best first game.
 
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Ashfield
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I like them all, but would suggest Zertz as the first game, followed by Yinsh.
 
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Derek Gallacher
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My favourite series of games. If you are going to get into them I would suggest this order based on enjoyable and repeated gameplay.

Zertz first - people like marbles and playing surface manipulation.
Yinsh next ( my favourite of the series ) - best overall game play, awards repeated playing with consistently improved and enjoayable matches, an artform in capturing diminishing returns. A winner!
Gipf - The advanced format is an excellent two player game whether in a serious gaming night or a relaxed evening at the cottage
Punct - Don't be fooled by the rinky dink pieces. Ebb and flow of white offense and black defense. Very good game but often makes my eyes hurt. If played by strong players, the end game sets up nicely.
Tamsk - Stay alert, drink lots of coffee. This one comes at you fast and twists your gut ( in a good way ). It sucks to watch your time slowly slip away from you with each move. Can be very hard to find. if you see it at a reasonable price I'd grab it.
Dvonne last - The most predictable of the series if you have any mathamatical sense and can plan out number patterns well. People like to stack things. Good kid intro to the series. My buddy's youngest siblings (mid teens)love it.

It's a great series of games, read the reviews for each and enjoy.
 
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