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Subject: 90 Grad - A Fun & Exciting Journey Into A Beautiful & Lush Marble Forrest rss

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ARTHUR REILLY
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The Beautiful Wooden Board - Shows Starting Set-Up


The Gerhrd Speil Undesign Box

90 Grad was apparently published in 2000, but didn't seem to get the attention it deserved. I noticed the game several years back, but overlooked it when I couldn't find the rules on how to play it. I'd go back to the game site from time to time, but still no rules to be found. Recently, someone posted a brief summary of the rules and I just knew that It looked like a game i'd really like. Hats go off to Gerhard Spiel und Design for breathing new life into this game and giving us a stunningly beautiful set with which to play it on.

SO WHAT'S THIS GAME ALL ABOUT ANYWAY

To start with, it's a 2 player abstract strategy game. Each side has 7 marbles in their color, only one which is a Queen Marble. The object of the game is to either push your opponent's Queen Marble off the board, or to get your own Queen Marble to the very center of the board by an exact count. You may only make a push with your own colored marbles. Movement, or so called pushes, are done in a very interesting way. Just take any row or column on the board with marbles on it and count how many marbles there are (both yours and your opponents, gaps between marbles in a line make no difference, any marbles that get in the way are pushed along also during your turn). So the number of marbles in a line will be the number of pushes you must make. The trick is that that for example: If there are 4 marbles in a vertical line, you must move your marble 4 spaces, but in a horizontal direction.

COMPONENTS:

A beautiful thick (20 x 20 cm) wooden board made of Solid Beechwood & treated with protective oils.The playing area consists
of 7 x 7 spaces. There's a total of 14 marbles. On the Light side, there are 6 slightly opaque glass marbles with 1 white shiny marble, called the Queen Marble. On the dark side, there are 6 dark glass marbles with slight stripes in tints of red and white with 1 black shiny marble, also called the Queen Marble. The marbles are 16mm each. Plus a Rules Booklet and a small burlap bag for the marbles.

Some Quick Details On The Game

1. The Insert: It's your typical Gerhard Spiel und Design Box with a raised cardboard insert with the components below & the board on top.
2. Components: As always with Gerhard, they are top notch.
3. Learning Curve: You can learn this game in under 5 minutes,
4. Difficulty Level: It can be Light, Medium, or Heavy, depending on the time and thought you choose to put into it.
5. Type of player who might like it: Anyone who loves 2 player games and or abstract games. Lastly anyone interested in playing a new game with a unique and very interesting game mechanic.
6. Color Blind Friendly: I would imagine yes, being you're only dealing with light & dark colored marbles.
7. Recommended Ages: The game say 10+ but I'd imagine even a smart 8 year old could play it.
8. Playing Time: From my experience I'd say from a few minutes to around 30 minutes.

Set-Up

Place Each of the two Queen Marbles on diagonally opposite sides of the board. Example: Top Left & bottom right section of the board, or the Top Right & Bottom Left section of the board. Each player then places their remaining six marbles (Dark & Light) with 3 marbles directly adjacent to the two sides of their Queen Marble, then your ready to begin the game.

NOTE REGARDING THE RULES:

I pieced together the rules from 3 different sources:

1. Questions & Answers that were posted here on the geek.
2. The .doc file you'll find in the files section for the game
3. A Question & Answer email exchange with the wonderful creator of 90 Grad, Mr. Gunnar Kuhlencord.

It was my intention to put together a complete rule set that explains the game the way the designer intended. Hopefully this will eliminate the House Rules some people had been playing by.

THE RULES AND COMMENTS: (What They Didn't Tell you)

Normally when you have to push a certain number of pushes, you must take the entire amount of pushes required. The exception is when pushing marbles off the board. Let's say you need to make four pushes, if you still have pushes remaining after pushing all the marbles in the pushing line off the board, it's still a legal play.

This is actually stated in the rules but I think it's worth repeating. The winning condition of getting your Queen Marble to the center or central square, it must be done by the exact number of pushes required. Thus if any Queen Marbles should pass the center square before you've completed all your pushes, that's not a win.

It's an automatic win once you've pushed your opponent's Queen Marble off the board, even when you haven't completed all required pushes, but with one exception. If you push your opponent's Queen Marble off the board and your own Queen Marble happens to be in the same line of marbles, you must complete as many pushes as possible, even if it means pushing your own Queen Marble off the board. If both Queen Marbles go off the board, it's considered a tie. This could be used as a way of avoiding a loss.

Draws can actually occur in this game, but according to the Designer, they are extremely rare. I have never encountered a draw myself, even after dozens of games, so I don't really see this as being much of a factor with game play.

If you just happen to push your own Queen Marble off the board do you lose? Well that depends on whether your just playing a friendly game or a more serious and competitive game. If it's friendly, take back the move. If it's serious, sorry, you lose.

Is there a first player advantage? According to the designer, if there is a first player advantage, it's very small. You might compare it to chess, with the White Pieces having a slight edge.

Mentioned in the rules but worth repeating here is that there is one play you can never make. You can never make a move that would put your opponent's marble back to the square it originally started from on their turn. On the following turn, this wouldn't apply.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE PLAYING THE GAME

If you're new to this soon-to-be classic game, you'll start to find strange things happening after many attempts. As it in my case, I was playing and playing and playing, and there would be games I quickly lost or won and I had no idea how or why. "Mmmm", I said to myself, "there must be more to this game than what I'm seeing." So I began trying different moves, while trying to anticipate what my opponent was trying to do. Then the games began to last a little longer. Suddenly, I began to think I was onto something. But no, I still began to experience the unexpected loss in games I thought I was just about to win. Had to look further and further. Then I realized that strategy had to evolve slowly after each play. Then my eyes opened up to the tactics that could be used.

I. learned when I could use my own marbles against my opponent.
2. I learned not to let them use their marbles against me.
3. I began to find situations where a simple play that didn't change the
board much forced my opponent into moving when they would have
preferred not to.
4. Sometimes pushing one or more of my own marbles off the board turned
out to be the best play.
5. When to move out or move in, marbles into my opponent's row or column
of marbles.
6. Keeping track of the distance my opponent's Queen was from the
center winning location.

I could go on, but I don't want to spoil the fun of you finding all the secrets hidden within this gem of a game.

SUDDENLY A LIGHT BULB WENT OFF IN MY HEAD (Wait a sec while I put my sunglasses on)

I realized the game sitting on my table wasn't just a 7 x 7 board with 6 marbles & a Queen Marble in dark and light colors for each side, but this was a mini chess game I was dealing with. So for chess fans, this is a game you'll love. For chess haters, you'll love the game too. Why? Because it has all the good parts of chess and leaves out all the not-so-good stuff' like having to read countless books, memorizing 1,000's of positions or hitting that darn chess clock. Now both groups can sit back and relax and still have a fun with a challenging game where you don't have to pull your hair out (unless of course you're into such things).

NOW THAT I'VE BROUGHT UP CHESS - HERE'S AN IMPORTANT POINT


I've noticed in the photo section of the game on here that some people have made up some makeshift boards, using various components from other games to be able to play this game. If that makes you happy, then so be it. BUT, for a game you're going to love, you'll want to play on the best board with quality components that together look absolutely stunning. Sure, you could play chess with a pocket edition and save yourself a few bucks, but how many people that love to play chess actually do that. This is the only edition of 90 Grad that you'll find yourself playing for hours at a time (called the one more game syndrome) while being able to stare at an actual Work of Art. You just can't beat that.

Having been a Backgammon Hustler in my younger years, I learned to be able to take what for most people saw as a random set-up of 30 checkers on a board with a Doubling Cube, and make perfect sense out of it all. That's why I subtitled this review with:

"A Lush & Beautiful Forrest"

It's Lush because of the beauty of the marbles as they mingle together and a Forrest because it's so easy to get lost in the seemingly endless arrangement of marbles on the board that just keeps on changing. But best of all, when that moment arrives where you'll be thinking to yourself, "What's my best play here?", when you finally see it, you'll take pride in having found the best play, while hoping your opponent doesn't. For yet another game played with such few components and all in a small space, 90 Grad, with rare exception, out shines all the other games played on a small board. So let the battle of wits begin.

P.S.
If this review helped you decide if this is a game for you, or even if you just enjoyed reading it, don't forget to give it a Thumbs UP. After all, at my age, I could use all the Thumbs UP I can get. If you own or have played the game, please give it a rating on here, so we can finally get this game on the map.

Thanks gamers

Arthur Reilly
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Hilko Drude
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I do hope this wonderful game gets a ranking at last (I first played it in Essen in 2000, if I remember correctly) - so you're welcome to rate it, too.
 
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ARTHUR REILLY
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HilkMAN wrote:
I do hope this wonderful game gets a ranking at last (I first played it in Essen in 2000, if I remember correctly) - so you're welcome to rate it, too.


I hope so too. I will be rating it if I haven't already done so.

Your comments are much appreciated.

Arthur
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