Hello! Welcome to the review. Have a seat! Criticism is welcome - bitching isn't.
I worked for the entire Gipf series by demo'ing them across the Netherlands in the good old days of Free Travel. Tamsk is something of the weird uncle of the Gipf Family in several ways. I've played it significantly less than the others, and I like it less. Cause, effect, who knows?
I'll be giving grades on several aspects of the game, such as discussed here.
For ART, I look at the big picture, and how that picture looks. EASE covers ease of play and learning curve, FLEXIBILITY covers the amount of free will you have and is therefore linked to replayability. FUN might be deceptive, as it's a gut thang, but I'll try and specify in the text, and COMPONENTS should be self-explanatory.
The Game Itself: 2 Player Eggtimerrace
You flip timers to get rid of your rings, but not every place can hold as many rings! If you can't move a timer it's lost, and if it's empty it's very much lost as well. Least rings left over wins.
-A bit lower than most Gipfses because, well, there's not much there. The box cover is nice as always, and extra large to boot.
-By far the easiest Gipf, probably because AP-prone people will lose really fast otherwise. It loses some depth while it gains in pressure. There is less room for error.
-By the same token, there is less flexibility than we are used to seeing in the Gipf-series. In a weird way this makes it more like chess, where the winner is often not the one who played the best but the one who messed up the least. Less flexibility does not mean no flexibility, and you can still trap other players with cunning use of your timers.
-The stiffer punishment makes the game less fun and more serious. It's a whole different sort of game. More stressful.
-Timers are not made of bakelite. The rest is very robust, and one of the rings has been hanging on my backpack for years now without a scratch. I don't think it will blend.
It has timers! You walk with timers! How cool is that!
You can still trap other players. As in, you can still WIN instead of NOT LOSE.
The rings are very sturdy.
It's simple and elegant, and the quickest Gipf to play.
The box is huge, and that messes with the nice aestethic of colourful boxes on my shelves. I feel it didn't need the bigger box, but I'm told it did, really.
Bigger box means higher price. Fact of life.
The punishment-for-failure mechanic, while genius, is sort of depressing.
The flipping of the timers and ringing them adds a manual dexterity component, which might be your thing - it isn't mine.
Playing against an opponent with Permanent Phone Syndrom is decidedly unfun.
It's apparently difficult to get a hold of.
It is, by far, my least favourite Gipf. If I get someone to come and play these games, I think Tamsk will be last, but if it's a new player, I might whip it out first (from underneath all the other boxes ). If it were a non-Gipf, it might have been better or worse, but as it is (for me) it doesn't quite measure up. Try before you buy, but definitely try - it has its plusses and fans, and you might be one of them .