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Subject: Oshi : After 1 play rss

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Brian Poe
United States
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Something that would have been purple if there was light to see it by scuttled across the floor.
Time is for Dragonflies and Angels. The former live too little and the latter live too long.
Oshi is an abstract strategy game with an eastern theme. I have to admit some bias toward both the easter theme and abstract strategy due to my Go playing background. The game is simple and this review is being written after only my first play.

The Rules

Players have 8 pieces made to look like Pagotas. There are 4 one level pagotas 2 two level pagotas and 2 three level pagotas. The pieces may move a number of spaces equal to their height. Also pieces may push a number of other pieces equal to their height. The only restriction is that you may not have a piece end up where it was the turn before (you can't just push the same piece back where it was.) The object of the game is to push off 7 "points" of opponents pieces off of the board.

The rules were simple enough but there is a tiny bit of vagueness in regards to wether or not a piece may move UP TO the height of the piece or it has to move the height of the piece. This ends up being pretty obvious after you start play that requiring a full move would be almost impossible to play, but the rules are not quite clear on this matter. It is still a good simple rule set.

The Bits

The bits are certainly nice. They are made of a nice heavy plastic and look very nice on the board. I was however, a bit more dissapointed with the board. The board is two pieces of wood joined together. On my board there is a pretty drastic difference between the two pieces of wood so one side is much darker than the other. This bothers me a bit. I'm a go player and I admit I'm a bit spoiled when it comes to wooden grid boards so please take my criticizm with a grain of salt. The grid also notes the starting position with little icons of the pieces on the grid. It's not a complicated starting position and I would much more appreciate a blank board than to see the little icons when I'm playing. Again, I know this is the go player in me shouting for a nice wooden grid, but it isn't that bad and I suppose it does help in setup time.

The Game/Strategy

Initially I thought the game was a big fidgity. There was a lot of maneuvering and dodging around the board trying to push pieces off. I initially pushed off 3 of the level one pieces without loosing a single one and I thought I had the game in the bag, but as the game developed it became much harder to get the bigger pieces in a weak place to be pushed off. I was suprised with the change in strategy and how hard it became later on. This was a pretty pleasant discovery.

Having a strong Go and (not that you'll get me to admit it in public) Chess background I have an appreciation for the development of abstract strategy and I can't help but feel as though I wasn't really understanding how the game should be played. I feel like there is certainly a large amount of the strategy that I'm missing. There are probably good positions and formations which would greatly help play that I wasn't able to discover. More play will be needed to try and discover it.

Overall Impression

Overall this is a good abstract strategy. I need to play it a few more times to be able to tell how the strategy works out. It's a really pretty game but the aesthetic falls apart with some of the nitpicky things I've stated with the board but I'm pretty sure that's just me. I will definitly bring this out again to see how it plays. But it's a pretty solid little game.
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