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Keith "Boaty McBoatface" C
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Zagami is an IceHouse game where you take control of a colony of microbes in order to take over the microbe world (in this case a standard 8x8 chess board). The design of the game is such that it would probably work best with two or four players, but if you use “IceHouse” boards this should be easily modifiable for any number from 2 to 6.

This game uses pyramids from any series of IceHouse games: small, stackable, plastic pyramids.

The game starts with each player having four medium microbes positioned on the center of the board creating a 4x4 square. This is your initial colony that you will use to try and destroy everyone else.

Play is fairly straight-forward. On a player’s turn, they choose which microbe will become “active”. This microbe will then have the option of moving a number of spaces depending on its size (smalls move one, while larges can move three) in any orthogonal direction. You can use movement to move your microbes around as a whole. If you’ve got a large microbe on the bottom of a stack, you can choose to make that the active microbe and everything on top of it will move as well. This is a good way to make smaller microbes more mobile.

If you move onto an opponent’s microbe you get to eat them (or part of them as the case may be). There is no size restriction on what can eat what. When you choose to eat an opponent’s microbe, you replace it with another of their microbes that is one size smaller from either his pool or your enzyme pool. If the necessary piece can’t be placed, then that microbe cannot be eaten. If it already the smallest size, it is gone. You may then use your strongest enzyme of matching color to the opponent you just ate.

All microbes that are eaten are placed in your “Enzyme Pool”. This is where the strategy really comes into the game. Your enzymes are built out of microbes that you have eaten. There are four different types of enzymes that allow your microbes to perform special functions.

- Grow: This allows you to make you r microbes grow in size.
- Spore: This allows you to create new microbes by bringing small pieces onto the board.
- Attack: This allows you to completely kill a microbe.
- Escape: This allows you to send you microbe to any other space on the board.

Both ‘grow’ and ‘attack’ are performed on any microbe in the stack where your active microbe is. This will be where you have moved to if you chose to move, so there may be others of your microbes in this stack as well as opponents. For ‘spore’, you place the new pieces adjacent to the active stack. ‘Escape’ allows any of your microbes in the active stack to move to any other location.

The basics behind building your enzymes are that they must be composed of only one color, cannot be more than three pyramids in size, and cannot contain two pieces of the same size. Because of this, you are limited to what you can use to build your enzymes. The size of the enzyme determines how strong it is (e.g. a 2-piece ‘grow’ enzyme will allow you to grow microbes a total of two sizes, a 3-piece ‘spore’ enzyme will allow you to place three new microbes on the board). Enzymes are added to by placing eaten microbes into them. They can be reduced by using them to replace eaten opponents on the board.

Planning your enzyme pool is the key component of this game. You can only use enzymes after eating opponents of the same color and you can only use the largest enzyme of that color that you have. So while you can build multiple enzymes of one color, you can only use the largest. If all of your enzymes of one color are the same size, none of them can be used. You need to keep an eye on how the board is developing and make sure that you always have a food source available to you and you aren’t specializing in a source that is disappearing too quickly. Changing your enzymes around is definitely a part of this game, so don’t be afraid to change strategies.

The game is played until only one player remains.
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Max Pfennighaus
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So did you like it?
 
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Keith "Boaty McBoatface" C
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Well it's been a while but I remember most games coming to a stalemate at the end. I haven't played in a long time so I guess that says something.
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Russ Williams
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I've been wanting to try this for years, but the higher-than-average rule complexity (for a Pyramid game) and the requirement of exactly 4 players has thwarted my efforts so far...
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Max Pfennighaus
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Agreed. I'm a bit of a John Cooper fan, so I may have to try it anyway!
 
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