Tak: A beautiful Abstract Game

 Game: Tak Age: 12+
 Publisher: Cheapass Games Players: 2
 Time: 20 minutes Replayability: 8/ 10t

tak board game


I seldom come across abstract board games and I think that has to do with the pressure to push Euro style and thematic experiences. Little do we see games take on interesting blends of mechanics and components to give us a strategy styled game. Tak is one of those handfuls of abstracts I’ve played and been able to feel excited to play something refreshing. With so many board games, sometimes I just don’t want to play. But it’s games like Tak that remind me that the versatility is out there.

Tak is an abstract board game having you place stones across the board to win. These stones can be played as part of your road to win or as a wall to force opponents to build new ways. The board comes with two sides, one being wooden and one being floral. Both sides of these sides offer games to be played with a 3×3, 4×4, 5×5, or 6×6. Get a copy and get to building!

My Experience

Being this is a game for two, I ran through different sizes of the game. We started off with the 4×4 size and enjoyed the levels of strategy involved in the game.    When walls went up, we could only go around them. So a lot of our game was spent stacking stones on top of each other, changing around our point A which in turn completely forced us to 180 in with the point B, and moving stacked pieces with the mancala mechanic. In the end of this game I was able to win by simply moving to a new side as a start and moving my four piece stack (including two of mine and two of their pieces), into spots to line up a road.

Quickly: stacks happen when you move stones around the board rather than play one. You can move them on top of other stones (including your opponent) and owning that stack as long as your color is the top most stone. They can be moved in a mancala fashion by grabbing an amount form that stack and dropping at least 1 piece at a time across the board until you have no more pieces left.

We jumped to a 5×5 game right after. This was more or less the same thing but in this game we introduced the capstone–the taller piece that can force walls into stones. The game played more or less the same but asked for an entirely new strategy now that we can force walls down.


Final Thoughts

I think this is a solid abstract strategy game that needs to be played. It is simple to learn, relaxing to play, and all crafted into beautiful components and graphics. It’s almost refreshing playing games that don’t need or rely on a theme to create the atmosphere (I do like my thematic games though). It offers solid pacing and reminds me a bit of Chicapig. Other games by Cheapass Games.

You will like this game if you’re looking for a good strategy abstract game.

You will not like this game if you want Euro.


Joseph Nicholas

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Indietabletop. Communication major. Favorite mechanics include: Bluffing and Deduction, modular boards, and action point allowance. Favorite video game genres are Rpgs, Puzzles games, and Sim/Tycoons.

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