Pick of the Week – July 6-12, 2015

Last week I started a series of board and card game Picks with a discussion of Tabletop, the web series hosted by Wil Wheaton that has introduced me to all of the games that I will be telling you about. 

Every new game has a learning curve.  I think that may be one of the reasons people stick to the “classics.”  We learned those games when we were young, so it’s easy to pick them up again and just start playing.  Admittedly, some board games can be exceptionally complicated.  I had one as a kid called “Axis and Allies,” that took forever just to set up the damn board.  And I currently own a board game based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer that pretty much requires you to have the manual on hand at all times to figure out the mechanics at different points in the game. 

There’s also the time factor.  Some games, particularly some of the more complex strategy games, can take hours to play.  Not everyone has that kind of time or patience.

So, to start off my recommendations, I’m going with the complete opposite of that.  This week’s Pick is a game that’s easy to learn, quick to play, and a whole lot of fun.

In Tsuro, you and your fellow players are dragons, soaring through the air.  Each player starts at an edge of the square board, and starts along a path determined by the tiles that they lay down on the board.  Some paths are straight lines, some curve, and some turn back on themselves.  Whatever the path, though, the dragon must follow it to the end.  This gets complicated as more and more tiles are placed on the board, connecting paths.  Some paths may take you back off of the board, in which case you are out of the game.  Or they might put you on a collision course with another dragon, in which case both players are out.  The last dragon remaining wins.

The basics of Tsuro can be learned very quickly, and the average game takes 5-10 minutes,  I’ve found it to be a great way to start an evening of gaming.  My friends and I will play a few rounds before moving on to something more involved.

HERE is the Tabletop episode dedicated to Tsuro and two other shorter games.

There is also a sequel game, Tsuro of the Seas, in which you are ship captains trying to avoid the dragons and each other.  Tabletop played it in THIS EPISODE.

- Alan Decker

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