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Calliope Games: Tsuro – Review

July 5, 2016

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Publisher Calliope Games
Genre Abstract Strategy
Number of Players 2 – 8
Play Time 15 minutes
Initial Review Date 6/28/16
Last Updated 6/28/16

In this game, each player takes on the role of a dragon following a path. The object is to avoid everyone and the edge of the board. However, collisions are imminent and sometimes running into another dragon is unavoidable. But, if you’re the last dragon standing you win.

Setup

Setup is relatively straightforward. Each player selects one of the 8 dragon tokens and places it on a line along an edge of the board. Then each player is dealt 3 tiles with the rest of the tiles forming face down stacks off the board, that are easy to reach.

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Gameplay

On your turn, you select one of the tiles from your hand and place it in front of your dragon in any orientation that you like. There are a few priorities however, that must be followed. You can not place a tile that causes any of the following to happen unless there is no play available to you that doesn’t cause one of these things.

  • The path created guides your dragon off of the board.
  • The path created guides your dragon into another dragon.

After you play your tile your dragon then advances along the new path as far as possible. This means that late in the game a single tile play can cause your dragon to move from one side of the board to the other traveling across multiple tiles.

If your path takes you off the edge of the board then you are eliminated. If your path causes you to collide with another dragon then both of you are eliminated.

After your dragon moves, if your tile has created a path in front of one or more other dragons they then move along the newly created path as far as they can. If this movement causes the other dragons to collide or run off the edge of the board then they are immediately eliminated.

Any player that has been eliminated must turn in any tiles remaining in their hand back to a draw pile.

After you play a tile, if you were not eliminated you draw a new tile. If there are no tiles available then you receive the dragon tile. If the dragon tile is also not available then you do not get to replenish your hand.

If you have the dragon tile in your hand when new tiles become available you may draw a new tile to replace the dragon tile. Then in turn order, each player who is still in the game may draw a tile if they do not currently have 3 tiles. This continues until everyone has drawn back up to 3 tiles or the dragon tile has been drawn.

Play continues until there are 1 or fewer players left.

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Conclusion

This is a very easy game to learn that is surprisingly quick for how many players it can support. With most games, adding additional players makes a game take longer but that isn’t the case with this game. This is because lots of players can and will be eliminated quickly when you start with a lot of players. What’s also nice is because the game is so short eliminated players don’t have to sit around twiddling their thumbs while they wait for everyone else to finish playing. In fact, they will probably enjoy watching to see who comes out on top.

If you’re looking for a game that is quick and will be appealing to casual players without boring non-casual players this is a nice compromise. The only down-side to this game is that it isn’t very deep and it can be frustrating to have 3 tiles early on that all kill you no matter what you do. But if you find you don’t enjoy it, at least it’s short.


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