game review

The game of the path

Play a tile, move your token, and stay on the board. That more or less sums up Tsuro, the game of the path. A game lasts for only ten to fifteen minutes and can be played with two to eight people. The design is as elegant as it is simple, which makes for a welcome change from all the complex and length games I frequently play. Additional bonus: it has a very nice look.

Tsuro really is a great example of smart game design. The game is very simple, yet fun. Every turn a player plays a new tile on the 6x6 square board, and moves his token along the new path that she has created. If other tokens are connected to the same tile they are moved too. The objective is to force other tokens of the board. This requires some luck, and some planning. The twisting paths that are created by the tiles provide a trace of the same visceral thrill of a roller-coaster ride. It is not uncommon that players trace new paths with swooshing noises. I was also reminded of the lightcycle race from Tron.

For its simple mechanics Tsuro has a considerable depth of gameplay. An emergent game system par excellence. Although I can imagine the strategic options are quickly absorbed and exhausted. Also when playing with more people the game might become random quickly. (I played with two, three and five players). But still for a game that is as brief and leisurely as Tsuro I do not consider this to be much of a problem.