Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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We're staying with friends interstate over the Christmas period. One of the presents they gave their son (9) was Khet and he's been a keen player. (He's a bright enthusistic kid, and "keen on" whatever has his attention today.)

So although I'm not often one for pure abstracts, I agreed to play when he asked me... for the twentieth time
Honestly I would have agreed earlier, but (a) there were many things going on that day and (b) I know this is one boy who won't be discouraged by nineteen "no"s.


We played two games. He'd had about three games with opponents before that, and has (before and since) spent a fair bit of time just playing with the pieces or trying out scenarios by himself.


The pieces:

Djed: diagonal double-sided mirror, reflects an incoming laser from any direction.

Pyramid: diagonal single-sided mirror, reflects from two directions, is destroyed from two directions.

Obelisk: no mirror, destroyed from any direction.

Pharaoh: you lose when your Pharaoh is hit from any direction.



The First Game

We played "the CLASSIC setup", or so I'm told. He enthusiastically explained the rules to me. Though I had to ask a number of questions to cover the gaps, he clearly understood and thoroughly knew all the details. He emphasised that the double-sided mirror pieces are invincible.

He played Silver, I was Red.

I spent the first half of this game exploring the extent to which I could stress my opponent with his own laser while getting a feel for the pieces. I was content to lose a couple of Obelisks and one Pyramid to him while doing this, but he was indeed moving deftly and with forethought. (Neither of us moved our Obelisks or Pharaohs at all during the game.) Mid game, I changed tack... having drawn one of his Djeds away from the middle I found I had more leverage and soon clawed back the piece differential.

The game ended fairly suddenly. I was considering various moves, say X, Y, or Z. I noticed that if I did move X he could do A and zap the end piece in the huddle protecting my Pharaoh. Having pondered the various options I did move X. He did move A. But it turned out, what with the piece losses and jostling for position, the "end piece in the huddle protecting my Pharaoh" was actually ... my Pharaoh. D'oh!
blush

(I can't even blame this on the spirits of Christmas. The drinking end of the day hadn't started yet.)


The Second Game

In the second game, we played "the DYNASTY setup".

Again neither of us ever really moved our Obelisks, and a couple were disintegrated early, along with one of my Pyramids. Having learned just a little from the first game, I pushed one of my Pyramids down towards his laser corner where I could annoyingly get in his way with it.

The action near his laser source drew one of his powerful Djeds from the middle, leaving me with more control there. I used this to cut up his centre pieces somewhat, and though he was doing a fine job trading destruction with me this time I kept the upper hand in pieces.

I pressed one of my Djed down to stand right near his Pharaoh, forcing him to move his Pharaoh diagonally out of the protection of his Obelisks. With my Djed adjacant to his Pharaoh and tailing him if he moved, the pressure was on.

Alas, we had to put the game aside for his bed time.

In the morning, we resumed the game as soon as we were both awake. But from here it was two short turns until I won with a laser to the side of his Pharaoh's head.


Safety?

During this second game, my 2yo daughter was fascinated. She kept pushing the firing button to see the lights (and because after all it's a button and what do two year olds do if not push buttons) and I was somewhat disconcerted by her wanting to put her chin on the floor and peer. (We were playing on the floor.) Especially since we'd noticed that the lasers sometimes end up escaping a little higher than the outside "wall" of the game, even when the pieces all seem settled correctly in place.

Obviously this is fairly easy to monitor as a parent. But it did need watching.


Afterthoughts

I don't play a lot of pure abstract games. I was worried that the obvious "gimmick" here would mean there would barely be a game here, but it seems solid enough.

I notice there are "no go" spaces on the board designed to prevent the players considering setting up an invincible fortress protecting their Pharaoh in a corner. I also notice that each player has control of their laser's effective entry point to the playing area by virtue of those same "no go" spaces giving them ownership of the entire natural line of sight from their laser.
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