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Subject: [Review] Triagonal rss

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Tom Vasel
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I wanted to pick up a game of Triagonal (Acumen Board Games, 2006 - Dave Barnes), simply because it looked so colorful and entertaining. And, a quick overview reminded me of a time-wasting pen-and-pencil game that we played as a kid when the teacher got boring in class. Most people use squares to play this game - drawing a line between two dots one at a time, with the person completing a square putting their initials in the square. I enjoyed playing with triangles, and this game looked exceptionally similar.

Guess what? It IS the same game, in a board game version, with some additional rules. The game comes with seven different options of play, and more are available online. However, some of the options are absolutely silly nonsense, and only a few make for a decent game. The rules are frankly too short in the game, although the components are decent, and I keep thinking that Triagonal has a lot of potential, but that much of it is unrealized. A few variants can make games interesting - as it stands now, most games either follow the same pattern time and time again, or are completely ruled by luck.

The game board is a large triangle, made up of forty-nine smaller triangles. Each player takes a pile of small triangles of their color, and a pile of black sticks are placed to the side. Players will be playing these sticks on the sides of triangles. When they form a complete triangle, the player places a triangle of their color in the spot. The components are quite nice - everything is plastic, and the black pieces fit snugly into recesses in the board, with the color triangles easily inserted between them. The four colors (red, yellow, blue, and green) look quite good, and a completed game has a very pretty and geometric look to it.

The rules, I am sorry to say, are quite poor - being simply printed on the back of the box. Each game has around three lines of explanation, and this won't answer every question asked - or have any examples or diagrams. There is a longer, better rules explanation on the internet, but one shouldn't have to hunt there to fully understand the game. Games ARE easy to teach, taking only moments to get up and running.

Let's take a look at each of the seven games:
1.) Pure Strategy: In this game, players place one black piece per turn. If they form a small triangle on their turn, then they may place an additional piece. This can lead to a chain reaction, and a player continues to go until they do NOT form a triangle. At the end of the game, players who have the most triangles on the board win, with five bonus points going to anyone who creates a hexagon shape. Players also win automatically if they form a larger triangle (nine small ones) in their color. I don't mind this options, although it leads to situations where one player invariably ends up placing 16 or so triangles at the end of the game. Clever placement ahead of time can mitigate this, but it all comes down to one other player making a mistake. In a multiplayer game, this can be extremely annoying, especially if the poorest player does NOT play before you. I've seen teenagers enjoy this game, but they played for entirely too long, analyzing moves, and never were they completely satisfied with the outcome of the game. It's strategic, but I'm not sure if it's too scripted. If there were more shapes that players could get bonus points from, I might be more interested. Rating: 5 out of 10
2.) More Chance: In this game, players roll a die, and place as many black pieces as shown on it (0-3). This is so ridiculous I can't imagine anyone enjoying it . Rolling a zero on your turn has to rank as one of the most annoying things ever in a game. Other than the die, everything is the same as above. Rating: 2 out of 10
3.) A Quicker Game: Here, players roll a color die. That person gets to put out five (or whatever number players determine at the beginning of the game) black pieces. White and black are ignored. This is even WORSE than the game above - more chance, and so annoying I shall no longer speak about it. Rating: 1 out of 10
4.) Confusion: Here player's roll both dice on their turn. The player whose color is rolled gets to place the amount of pieces shown on the number dice. If a color is rolled that is not in the game, then the player whose turn it is gets to place the tiles. This is just as random as the above game, but I rate it higher because there is slightly more of a chance that the player whose turn it is gets to place the tiles. Rating: 2 out of 10
5.) Place Your Bets: In this game, players are NOT a color, instead they simply guess what color will win the game. They then roll both dice as in game # 4, and do the same thing. This is easily my favorite game in the lot, as it offers the most strategy. (especially if the guesses are secret - something the rules don't mention). Players can attempt to mess certain colors up and help their own colors. The biggest problem this variant will experience is when two players pick the same color. Still, it's slightly interesting, and certainly better than the other included games. It can be played solo, but I don't recommend it. Rating: 6 out of 10
6.) First One Out: This is exactly the same as the first game, except the first player to get rid of a certain number of tiles wins (like 10). What's the point of this? How is this any different than the first game - except to end it quicker? Rating: 4 out of 10
7.) Marathon: Play a pile of games, choosing from the above six options. The first player to win a certain amount (5-20), wins the marathon. Right. Rating: This ain't happening.

A few other games are included in the internet rules
8.) Line 'Em Up: YES! This is innovation, something that makes sense. It plays just as the first game, but the first player to form a line of a certain number (I recommend five) wins the game. This makes the game a strategy game - and this is the best game of the lot - why wasn't it included with the game? Rating: 8 out of 10
9-12) Not worth mentioning. Variations that are either too lucky or just don't work.

So is this game worth picking up? My first inclination is to tell you no, but I really think the extra game # 8 is fairly interesting. Still, there are other games with "five in a row", such as Pentago and Quinamid, that are just as interesting with absolutely fabulous components. Triagonal looks good, is fairly enjoyable with kids, but I think it falls short of being a complete, excellent package. I'll hang onto my copy, but I don't think it will be played often.

One saving, possibly buying grace, is that the black rectangles and colored triangles can be used to design patterns and pictures. You may find that enjoyable.

Tom Vasel
"Real men play board games"
www.thedicetower.com
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Dave Barnes
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Thanks for your review Tom and for noticing Triagonal’s similarity to the old paper based game we all played in school many moons ago, only now, it’s triangular in shape making it more scary, and includes two custom dice which allow for the creation of several additional and different game options.

Generally the objective is to be the player who wins the most sectors of the game board, and during the game, for players to always look out for the opportunity to form as many hexagons as they can for additional bonus points, whilst also watching out for others doing likewise and to prevent them from doing so wherever possible, or to attempt to win the game ‘Instantly’ by forming either a ‘Pre-Set line length’ or a ‘Large Nine Piece Triangle’.

Both dice are included to bring “CHANCE” into the game, giving the dice thrower an ‘Unexpected’ result each time they are thrown… This is why dice exist and are used in dice related games.

The ‘Numeric die’ informs a player ‘how many sector formers to play’ (0 to 3) but it is the player who decides where to place them hopefully winning them more than one or two sectors of the board.

The ‘Colour die’ informs each player 3 pieces of information… Firstly, who will play any formers gained on the value die, Secondly, whether a player will miss a turn and thirdly, whether the game-play order is to be reversed.

So when Triagonal is played using either or both of the dice, Triagonal is a ‘Chance Game’ which requires skill from each player to… Win the most sectors on the board, form as many ‘Bonus Hexagons’ as possible, obtain an ‘Instant Win’ by forming a line of 4, 5, 6 or 7, or a another ‘Instant Win’ by forming a ‘Large Triangle’ containing nine pieces.

Millions of kids have played a similar paper based game to Triagonal, however Triagonal is far different including many different game playing options, using either ‘none, one or both of the custom dice’. One thing Triagonal doesn’t do is create mountains of waste paper.

All game options are included to give everyone the opportunity to play a game which suits their mood. A particular option may not suit you personally, but it could suit lots of other people so, why not include them for the people to make their own choice…!

Some game players like to play ‘Very Serious Games’ like ‘Risk’ etc. and cannot abide having to ‘miss a turn’ at a crucial point in a game…
Others like to play ‘Just for Fun, or a Laugh’, and if a player has to miss a turn, which may or may not give other players an advantage, then what’s wrong with including a ‘Zero’ on a dice that causes exactly that to happen?
Triagonal is a ‘Game of Fun’… It’s not meant to save the world, although it may help with the waste paper and dead pen mountains.

Maybe the game rules could have been included inside the game box rather than on the box base, however, if the rules on the box are followed in the order printed, the rest of the game options are easily understood with only the few lines of text.
As of today, a full printed list of all 12 game options will accompany all new orders and the downloadable file will remain online for anyone to download at will.

Now let’s take a DEEPER look into the game options and the ‘sometimes missed’ subtleties within them.

Option 1: In this game we use no dice at all.
As the game progresses and the board closes down on you, you must be careful to select the best placement of you sector formers, otherwise another player may take control.
Remember: You gain five bonus points for ‘Each and Every Hexagon’ you form in your colour.
Also within this, and some other options, players can choose to win more bonus points by forming a pre-set line length too…
i.e. a line of four tiles = 4 bonus points and so on… (This is optional).

Option 2: In this game we use the ‘Numeric Die Only’ which displays values ‘0’ to ‘3’.
Usually in a ‘Game of Fun’ it is often very pleasurable for other players when someone has to miss a turn; well, by using a die which contains a ‘Zero’ this is possible, and is included for just that kind of fun.
The ‘Zero’ value can change a game quite dramatically in so much as, if you had taken risks and ‘almost’ completed a ‘Bonus Hexagon’ and opposing players throw a Zero each, they would not be able to prevent you forming that hexagon.
If the die displays a positive value, a player may win 0, 1, 2, 3 or even 4 sectors of the board on their turn.
If you don’t like a Zero on your die, then simply play one of the other options which don’t use the numeric die, or re-value the die to suit.
Remember: You gain five bonus points for ‘Each and Every Hexagon’ you form in your colour.
Also, players can choose to win more bonus points by forming a pre-set line length too… i.e. a line of five tiles = 5 bonus points and so on… (This is optional).

Option 3: In this game we use ‘The Colour Die Only’.
The colour die displays a colour for each player, plus a black face and a white face.
This game is designed to be a very quick game for kids wanting to have ‘just one more game before going to bed’.
Players decide how many ‘Sector Formers’ to play on their turn, five for example.
If ’Red’ is the result on the die, then player ‘Red’ places their 5 formers and scores any winning sectors, at least one or more each time. So obviously the board fills much faster and the game is finished quickly.
Sector former placement skills are required as in all games.
Remember: You gain five bonus points for ‘Each and Every Hexagon’ you form in your colour.
Also, players can choose to win more bonus points by forming a pre-set line length too… i.e. a line of Six tiles = 6 bonus points and so on… (This is optional).

Option 4: In this game we use ‘Both dice’. This game is a mixture of games 2 and 3, and so…
Any points on the ‘Numeric Die’ are played by the person playing the ‘Colour Shown’ on the colour die’.
It’s a game where players can effectively ‘Steal’ points and play them for their self.
Remember: You gain five bonus points for ‘Each and Every Hexagon’ you form in your colour.
Also, players can choose to win more bonus points by forming a pre-set line length too… i.e. a line of seven tiles = 7 bonus points and so on… (This is optional).

Option 5: Option 5 can be played in ‘Three’ different ways as follows…
5a.
Play it solo (but don’t cheat, because you’ll only be cheating yourself)…
Before starting try to predict what colour you think will win the most sectors of the board.
Throw both dice and place the quantity of sector formers indicated on the numeric die, then place tiles of the ‘Colour Shown’ on the ‘colour die’ into any newly formed sectors.
Can you predict the future?
In option 5a, a solo player throwing ‘White’ or ‘Black’ simply re-throws the dice.

Option 5:
5b.
Play this option as ‘5a’ but with upto 3 opponents.
Players would normally declare to each other which colour they predict will win the game, however if players wish to write down their prediction and keep it secret until the end, that’s fine too.

If two or more players declare the same colour to win and actually win the game, then the game will be a draw.

If a player throws ‘0’ or ‘the colour black’ they miss their turn and pass the dice to the next player.

Any time ‘white’ is thrown on the colour die two things happen…
Firstly: The player would place any formers as usual, and then insert ‘their own chosen colour tile’ into any newly formed sectors.
Secondly: The white face indicates ‘a reversal of game-play order’, so after placing any formers and tiles, both dice are now passed to the previous player and play continues in reverse until white is thrown again.

Option 5:
5c.
Play this option as ‘5b’ above.
The ‘BIG’ difference with this option is… It will cost you something each time you place ‘any coloured tile’… That’s one coin for each tile placed - Like it or not…!

This can be a ‘simple fun game’ or a ‘serious gambling game’ so, you choose whether to play it just for ‘Buttons’ or for ‘Real Hard Cash’. If playing for real cash, players must set the ante before each game begins.

Players would normally declare to each other which colour they have bet on to win, however, if players wish to write down their choice and keep it secret until the end, that’s fine too, it really doesn’t matter, because the dice and or skill will ultimately determine the fate of each player.

If several players choose ‘the same colour to win’, that’s okay because ‘IF’ their colour wins they simply share the kitty equally between them.
If ‘no one wins’ the kitty is ‘left as is’ and built on during the next game.

After throwing both dice a result might be for example…‘Red and III’…
If the thrower had bet on ‘Red’ to win, they would immediately form as many sectors as possible using the 3 formers and then place ‘Red’ tiles into them, giving them an advantage, being one step closer towards winning back the coin(s) they must now input to the kitty.
If however, the thrower had bet on ‘Yellow’ to win, they would try their very best to avoid forming any new sectors and having to pay coins into the kitty - to ‘Yellows’ advantage.

If a player throws ‘0’ or ‘the colour black’ they miss their turn, but don’t despair if this happens to you, because it is still possible to win this game without you placing a piece on the board and here’s how…
Your opponents might have thrown lots of ‘Your Bet-On Colour’ and had to place ‘Your Colour Tiles’ onto the board and pay into the kitty for the privilege of doing so...!
You on the other hand… Could have always thrown a ‘Zero and/or Black’ - resulting in you never placing a thing on the board…
Also the effects of the ‘white’ die face, may have allowed you to just sit back and watch it all happen before your eyes without lifting a finger…! Now that is wicked..!

Any time ‘white’ is thrown on the colour die two things happen…
Firstly: The player would place any won formers as usual, and then insert their own ‘chosen’ colour tile into any newly formed sectors.
Secondly: The white die face indicates ‘a reversal of game-play order’, so after placing any formers, tiles, and coins, both dice are now passed to the previous player and play continues in reverse until white is thrown again.
Just for a bit more fun, try throwing the dice one after the other, in any order, and watch their faces!

Option 6: Anyone considered to be a ‘Lucky Player’ can in this option be handicapped by loading them with more tiles to play with than the less lucky players.
Before starting the game, players decide ‘how many’ tiles each must play – 8 for example.
You can if you wish handicap lucky players with extra tiles - 10 for example.
Play this game as detailed in option 1, 2, 3 or 4.
Once a player places their last tile on the board they win.
But of course you could continue to discover who wins 2nd, 3rd and 4th places.
If players choose to play 13 or more tiles each, and the board fills up before anyone places all of their tiles, the player with the most on the board wins.


Option 7: If players wanted for example, to play an assortment of different game options over a period of time to finish at say 7pm. and to see who is the ‘Overall Winner of Points’ then this is the option to play. If you just want to play a single game, then just play a game but you won’t achieve an overall score.

Option 8: Wow..! Tom really liked this one, “It makes sense and is an innovation” just like the first game apparently… And I’ve got to agree, it is one my favourite options too …!
It is a variant of ‘Connect 4’ which can be played on the Triagonal board, only now, you have to first ‘form and win’ the sectors in order to create a winning line of 4, 5, 6 or 7 sectors of your colour tiles, without others destroying your chances…
Whoopee! So if nothing else then…
“Game Option 8 makes Triagonal an Innovation”… Brilliant…!
So all the other included game options are all free, and if you like any of them too, then you’ve got yourself a real bargain.
Please note that…
Triagonal was designed to ‘Include Something for Everyone’, and it is now proven ‘It does that’.

If anyone wishes to know why ‘Options 8 to 12’ were not included with the production game…
The reason is… They didn’t exist at that time, and once created were posted as ‘ADDITIONAL OPTIONS’ to the game on the web.

Options 9 – 12: What’s wrong with a game being fun?
Should a game be thrown aside or be ridiculed if it’s not deadly serious?
I’ve always believed a game should be ‘Fun to Play’ and several of our customers believe Triagonal is just that, and came back to purchase five, yes that was five, more games for their friends and family because they know it’s an absolutely brilliant game, because, it offers so many fun options to play for an absolute bargain price of less than a Tenner.

Option 9: is a team game where two players can compete against two other players.

Option 10: is a Mathematical game to assist kids with their maths, some people may think this isn’t necessary these days but, as a parent myself I think ‘Option 10’ is absolutely fantastic as it requires maths to be calculated using addition and multiplication throughout the game.

Option 11: is a game that’s played without the board altogether. A game where tiles are passed among players and the kitty until only one player remains with any tiles.

Option 12: This is the ‘Exchange Option’ and can be included into any of the standard games you might choose to play.
By including the exchange option, players can, if they get a “Lucky Chuck” on the dice, exchange any one piece on the board with one of their own, which just by chance, might allow the player to form that missed hexagon and gain themselves 5 bonus points; they might also form a winning line of 4, 5, 6, or 7 they missed earlier, or they may even form the instant win triangle of 9 pieces.

We’re certain that, just as Tom did, players will find at least one game option to suit their taste.

All additional game options are included for your entertainment and are in addition to you receiving the normal one game option in a box.

And if you want to make further use of the game, you can spend hours doodling with the 200+ pieces to create some colourful designs… It really is enjoyable!

David Barnes
http://www.acumenboardgames.co.uk
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