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Subject: Mage's Triangle rss

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Josie Straka
United States
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Mage's Triangle is a 2 player game of skill. The play reminds me of checkers in that you move stones on boards and can capture the other players pieces. However, it is not checkers. The twisted rules, goals and board variations keep this trio of games interesting. I enjoyed the last level the most, and typically skip to it if we only have time to play one of the games.

The first game has a checker-like board, but is cut into 4 parts to allow each quadrant to be rotated if a special squares are landed on and invoked. There are other special squares as well - allowing you to regain lost pieces, make multiple square moves, push and stun an opponents piece, or swap with an opponent. The game play seems slow, it is hard to complete an action that really takes your opponent out, they can use the special squares to negate most actions, although the game eventually builds up and one side wins.

The second game has a barbell shaped board with hex shaped squares. There are a couple twists in this game that raise the interest level for me, such as a transport spot that allows you to move to a random square and explode any piece already on the square. You win by getting more of your pieces to the end row than your opponent by the time the game ends. Your opponent could have 8 pieces left on the board, you could have one left, and you could still win if you got your piece to the end row before they got any of theirs to their goal.

These first two games were fun to play, and I would be most likely to play them as a diversion. Don't get me wrong, there is strategy involved in the first two games as well, they are just lighter and the play didn't lend itself to thinking several moves ahead.

The third game is challenging and has good replay value. The playing board consists of six circles connected with paths. Each circle contains a central spot and six outer spots. There is a circular path you can move along within each circle, and spokes that connect the inner spot and each circle to their neighbors. What you can do on the different paths varies. You can use either type of path for jumping and capturing. There are two ways to win. Either by occupying one of the two central circles completely with 7 of your stones (the Shaman's Circle) or by capturing 7 of your opponents stones. Within just a few moves the game picks up pace and strategy becomes important. There is give and take, no real obvious right way to play, and real thinking involved. You have to really watch how the board changes and not focus too much on a preplanned strategy as the jumps are not always easy to spot. I'd recommend this game to gamers who like to figure out puzzles and pit skill against skill without relying on luck.
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