I recently came back from a week of intense tabletopping, and I believe that I might have to consider updating my favorite game list in my “about me” section. If you’ve been keeping up with at least a couple of my reviews, you’ll know that I’m really into the shorter, more straight forward games. Following my awesome week in Seattle, I learned that I am really into deception games, and I am also moderately competitive when it comes to strategy. I typically lose every game I play, unless the game is up to mere luck of the draw. Losing isn’t necessarily a huge let down for me because it’s all fun in games; however, winning every so often for reasons other than chance is a huge boost in confidence for a gaming novice like myself.
We recently received Tsuro The game of the Path from Calliope Games, and I was completely blown away by what this game has to offer. It’s fast, easy to learn, and as straight forward as it gets. I was amazed at the little details that the box included–from the uniquely crafted player pieces, to the replica of a rice paper painting you would find in Asia; Tsuro is nothing short of a treat. The box even includes a little book of the story of Calliope, the daughter of Zeus, on a journey that ties in the dragon in the game Tsuro. I was so impressed with how flawlessly the company tied in both stories, that I paid the Calliope Games website a visit–I soon found that they cleverly do this for each and every single one of their games. Hats off to you, Calliope Games. I am impressed to say the least.
Tsuro is a 2-8 person game, and takes just around 20 minutes to play, regardless of how many people are playing. The game is all about creating your own path by placing tiles. Each tile contains a number of routes/roads, and your player piece will continue along the path that you choose to build for it. Once a player is pushed off of the board (the road leads to the path outside of the board), or another player runs you off the board when they place down their tile, you are out of the game. Each time a tile is placed and it is connected to the tile that your player piece is on, you must continue along that road until you reach the end.
Strategy? The strategy lies in the fact that you must be aware of pretty much every single tile being placed down–each player that places down one tile is a potential threat to your road. Since each tile contains so many possible routes, you are able to place your tiles to save your dragon from being pushed off the map accordingly. Can you sabotage? Absolutely. The game plays through extremely quickly, and from the many game plays that I’ve experienced with Tsuro, the more players, the better! You will see player pieces drop like flies, but it’s very much a slow and steady race to stay on the map. This tile placement mechanic is something that many people are familiar with; however this is the first time that I’ve seen this particular mechanic used this way.
Overall, Tsuro is an awesome game that can be great for all audiences. It is a perfect balance between strategy and sabotage, and it is light hearted enough that you won’t build resentment for possible sabotage at the end of the game (nobody wants that!). I’ve had the pleasure of being able to play test Tsuro of the Seas as well, and was equally as impressed. If you happen to stumble across either Tsuro in your local gaming store, I highly recommend that you do yourself a favor and make the purchase. You will not regret it, and it is a beautiful addition to your collection.