Monday, June 25, 2012

Tsuro: Path to a Good Time

I don't always touch upon art and visual impact when I talk about games. But when I do, thre's a good chance I'm talking about Tsuro. Tsuro: The Game of the Path in a abstract tile-laying, path creating game that can accommodate from 2-8 players. It was designed by Tom McMurchie and is published by Calliope Games.

The Path
Tsuro is a very simple and elegant game that can be taught in a matter of seconds. Each player controls a dragon piece soars along paths that are created as the game progresses. They have a hand of three tiles that show a variety of paths connecting eight points (two on each side.)The paths range from straight across, to a slight curve to the side or a complete u-turn. On their turn, a player will lay down a tile in front of their dragon. Each dragon touching the new tile then continues along its newly extended path as far as it goes. If a dragon falls off the edge of the board or crashes into another dragon, then they are out of the game. From there, its last man standing.

The Art
Tsuro is able to deliver a beautiful experience in its game play. As the game progresses and the board fills up with tiles, there is a wonderful pattern and fluid design that emerges. The tiles themselves are a nice sturdy cardboard with a beautifully produced background texture that has a great natural feel to it. The lines are smooth and elegant and can combine to form some great shapes along the way.

Even the rulebook is wonderfully created. It has a unique folded shape to it, which offers a similar experience as to that of opening a scroll when its time to read it. From box to board, the game has cohesive design and a wonderfully crafted style that evokes the games theme, even more so than the  game play. This would easily fit in in a zen garden as you rake the sand with one hand and move your dragon with the other.

In the End
If you're looking for an intense game of aerial combat and deep strategic thinking, then this game isn't for you. If you want a fast playing, fun and light game that perfect for an afternoon with the family, then this is a great pick. Its easy enough for kids to pick up and play while still remaining engaging for adults.

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