The way forward is clear – I must stalk down my prey, leading them along a path to a different end. But I must be wary, one should not be hasty when making decisions about one’s future, a corner is never a place one should aim to be!
Seeking enlightenment, I pursue my final enemy; at last, I have him where I want him, his destiny is now in my hands. I send him on a convoluted route, twisting and turning across our small world until finally, he spirals off, into oblivion. Tsuro, a game worth beating a path to the store for?
- Designer: Tom McMurchie
- Publisher: Calliope Games
- Artwork: Shane Small
- Year Released: 2004
- Players: 2-8
- Playing Time: 15-20 minutes
- Ages: 8+
- Recommended Retail Price: £29.99
Tsuro – The game of the path, is an abstract tile laying game, representing the choices and destiny of life. With a quick set up time, fast pace, and short playing time, it’s the epitome of a filler game.
What’s in the box?
- Game board
- 35 Path tiles
- 8 Marker stones
- 1 Dragon tile
- Rules booklet
The game board is of very good quality and opens up in to a 46cm square playing area. It features a lovely depiction of a phoenix, and adds to the flavour of the oriental theme.
The path tiles are all different, and, along with the dragon tile, are of very good quality with a nice finish that isn’t too glossy.
The marker stones are solid plastic, and to the eye, really do resemble stones. They each have a dragon etched on one side, and stand about 3cm tall.
The rules booklet is an open out pamphlet, with oriental artwork on one side, and the rules on the other. The rules are very well laid out and include variations on play, an example of play, and frequently asked questions.
How does it play?
- If your familiar with the game play, feel free to follow your destiny to ‘What do I think?’
The object of the game is to be the last player remaining on the board. Following a path that leads to the edge of the board eliminates players, as does two marker stones coming together on the same path.
To start, each player selects a marker stone. The tiles are shuffled and three are dealt face down to each player. The remainder are stacked, face down, at the side of the board, forming the draw pile.
With the oldest player going first, he places his stone on any of the starting marks around the edge of the board. Continuing clockwise, the other players place their stones in the same manner.
Once all stones have been placed then tiles may be laid. On a players turn they select a tile from their hand, and lay it in front of their stone. They then move their stone, and any other stone adjacent to the tile laid.
A player cannot deliberately lay a tile that would cause his stone to follow a path to the edge of the board. He may however, have no choice, in which case the player lays the tile and is eliminated.
After moving all applicable stones, the player then draws a tile from the draw pile. If there are no tiles in the draw pile, the player then takes the dragon tile.
When tiles become available to be drawn (when a player is eliminated), then, starting with the person holding the dragon tile and continuing clockwise, tiles are drawn until everyone has three tiles, or the draw pile is empty. The dragon tile is passed to the next person who does not have three tiles in their hand. Play then continues.
When a player is eliminated, they remove their stone from play, and return any tiles they have in hand, to the draw pile, which is shuffled.
Play continues until only one-player remains, they are the winner!
So, what do I think?
This comes in a lovely compact box with nice artwork, and all the components are of a good quality. I like the marker stones, though I’m not a fan of their colours. I don’t mind the fact that they’re a matt finish but, who want’s to play with the ‘baby poo’ brown one?
The game itself only takes a minute or two to set up, irrespective of player count, and anyone can play – take no notice of the 8+, start ’em young!
It will be familiar to anyone who has picked up a child’s magazine, and tried to work out which line joins the little girl to the ice cream, and which one joins the boy to the balloon, it’s the same principal!
The rules are easy to understand; the use of the dragon tile probably being the most difficult to grasp, until you’ve played the game that is, then you go ‘ah, that’s what it means!’ There are examples of play, and a few simple variants. Overall, a nice easy rules pamphlet.
The game plays differently depending on player count – with only two or three players it tends towards a cat and mouse game, as one player tries to stalk the other. If you can get the advantage of laying a tile adjacent to an opponent, especially in the latter game, it can be very funny sending them weaving off, either to a corner, or totally off the board!
With a higher player count it’s almost inevitable that everyone will be in close proximity, and the chance to work out a strategy is reduced. This sees some humorous moments as a player stares at his tiles, turning them around, going ‘No. No. Not that way either, or that…Oh, damn!’
There aren’t any great decisions to make, you only have three tiles at the most to choose from, and you will have often made you choice before it gets to your turn. This means that the game time is very quick, often only lasting 10 minutes, so any eliminated players haven’t got long to wait for another game.
In conclusion, it’s an enjoyable game, no matter how many players. It isn’t the kind of game that you’ll spend hours playing, but as a filler, its become one of our go-to games.
This is a highly recommended filler game. It’s ideal for families who want to involve everyone, from the oldest to the youngest; they’ll all enjoy this. It’s great for busting out after a meal, killing 20 minutes before getting the kids to do the dishes!
It is an abstract game, and its pinned to an oriental theme, which could quite honestly be anything. But who cares, the artwork and components are enticing, and it looks good on the table.
Quick set up, small board footprint, and quick game play, probably means that this will see more play than many others of its ilk.
Official site – Calliope Games
Recommended video review – The Dice Tower Reviews: Tsuro
Recommended video play-through – Tabletop with Will Wheaton
Board Game Geek Page – Here