Recommend
16 
 Thumb up
 Hide
6 Posts

Twixt» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Twixt: No Luck, Just Skill rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
John Mitchell
United States
Jacksonville
Florida
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
If you like games where the outcome is determined by skill rather than luck, you might well enjoy Twixt. The only "luck" in Twixt is a bad move by your opponent or perhaps a fortuitous move you make that turns out well despite your inability to foresee how the move would work to your benefit. In that sense, it is much like chess or checkers.

The game is beautifully simple in concept--I will not describe it in detail because that has already been done very well in the earlier reviews. Suffice it to say that two players are trying to construct a continuous chain of linked plastic pegs running from one edge of the game board to the opposite edge. However, a player's chain cannot cross the chain of his opponent. Thus the game sets up a situation where only one player can be successful. Blocks, traps, feints, and double connections are all part of the game.

One should not be fooled by the simplicity of the game design. Twixt offers an incredible variety of game situations, and the outcome can turn dramatically on a single move. I have played any number of games where one player appeared to have the game well in hand, only to make a sub-optimal move late in the game that opened the door for the opposing player. When that happens, you cannot blame your fate on a poor dice roll or the fact that you drew an unfortunate card. There is no one to blame but yourself!

Games between two evenly matched players who have some experience with Twixt can easily last two hours.

Despite the simplicity of the game and the ease of learning basic play, many beginning players find Twixt incredibly frustrating as they struggle to achieve a competitive level of proficiency. Good players must be able to envision the game board several moves in advance, and this is exceedingly difficult for a beginning player.

In fact, a good Twixt player can generally defeat a novice in a shockingly short time (my wife, who likes board games in general, absolutely will not play Twixt as I made the foolish mistake of wiping her out during her first four attempts at the game). But the beauty and magic of this game make it worth enduring the early humiliation. Stick with it, and Twixt will reward you with many hours of terrific play.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Bush
United States
Radiant
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the unsolicited testimonial. BTW there is an unofficial "row handicapping" system available, if you think that might persuade your wife to play again. The smallest handicap is to eliminate the swap rule. Beyond that, one dimension of the board is reduced. The less experienced player moves first and has less distance to cross. This could be indicated on the board by two pieces which look nothing like Twixt pegs, but which fit in a hole. Place them in the corners of this now rectangular grid, to indicate the new location of the first player's border row. You might alternatively stretch a rubber band across the board if you have one the right size, as the new border line. Six rows plus move (18x24 board) can make a challenging game for both sides between a newcomer and an experienced player. The idea is to find a handicap where both sides win about half the time. You could let the handicap receiver decide how many rows they want. Of course there is no swap rule in any handicap game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The essential elements you are celebrating in Twixt are fairly standard to modern abstract strategy games, and if you haven't already, you should take a good look around the genre.

I'll admit I respect Twixt (another debt we owe the 3M company), but my patience isn't great enough to sit down and endure the frustration to start catching the geometrical nuances of play. (...I suppose a 10x24 board could work.... cool ).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alan Hensel
United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
You're right, the OP didn't distinguish what separates Twixt from other abstract games. For me, it's this:

In a game like Hive, Yinsh, or Blokus, I feel like my progress in learning strategy, heuristics, and tactics has hit a wall after the first couple of plays. There is too much chaos. Beyond some simple rules of thumb, all I can do is brute-force the combinatorial explosion. Maybe I just don't "get" these games, but I don't feel like I'm learning much. On the bright side, this means that I am still reasonably competitive with my friends, despite any disparity in experience with the game.

Twixt has a better balance of order and chaos than these other games. Too much order would mean that you can figure out a pretty optimal strategy and just apply it. With Twixt, I've continued to learn and get better. As you would expect, the range of ELO ratings for Twixt players on Little Golem is broader than for other games, despite not being one of the site's more popular games. I think this is because of this long, gradual period during which you can continue to improve.

I'd love to hear about other games that are not only deep, but have this kind of gradual depth (besides the popular ones I've already heard of, like Go).
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dvd Avins
United States
Kendall Park
New Jersey
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Alan, if you can stand a bit of luck and more than two players, I think you'll find many of the Euros fit your need for gradual depth. That's why I got hooked on them. Puerto Rico was on the top of the rankings here for years in large part because it's so rewarding in that way.

--
Dvd Avins (from Little Golem)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alan Hensel
United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
Hi Dvd, thanks for the suggestion. I like a lot of the Euros already. My wife's really into them, so it would be hard to avoid them anyway. I don't really need gradual depth; I'm just requesting it because I like figuring stuff out, and I'm much keener on learning things that emerge as a logical consequence than things that someone made up.

I have to add, I don't think there is much of a correlation between the amount of fun I've had, and the amount of rules in a game. Simple games are more hit-or-miss, while the more complicated ones are usually between "OK" and "pretty good". The more rules, the more probable mediocrity becomes. So it's hard for me to justify the drudgery involved in memorizing the rules of some of the more complex Euro games, especially since I'm an infrequent gamer and need a rules explanation for some hot new game almost every time I go gaming. I'm sure it's not so bad if you go gaming frequently, but I'm not gonna keep up with that. Just tell me what the "hits" are so I can avoid the "misses", "OKs", "pretty goods", and "mediocres". It's my meta-strategy ;-)

I played Puerto Rico once. It may be rewarding in the sense of gradual depth, but I'm looking for LOW investment, high rewards ;-)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.