I recently had a chance to try out Tsuro from Callopi Games. http://www.tsuro.com At first glance Tsuro looks like just a very simple tile laying game, where the players attempt to extend a path. There have been lots of games like that over the years. Spaghetti Junction and Metro immediately came to mind. I’m a big fan of Dirk Henn’s Metro, so I wondered how would Tsuro compare.
The game itself seems enough. The board is 6×6 and has hash mark along the edges that players select as starting locations. There are also 35 regular tiles, plus the dragon tile. The regular tiles have paths on them and players add those tiles to the board to extend their path and attempt to dead-end their opponents path. The board can never completely fill-up since it has 36 spaces and the game has 35 tiles. Each player is given a attractive stone to use as their playing piece, along with 3 tiles. A players turn is simple. Place a tile next to your playing piece to extend your path. Then you advance you piece to the end of your path. You also advance any other players whose path’s are extended by the new tile. Then you draw a replacement tile.
If a path is connected back to a hash mark on the edge of the board, then that player is eliminated. If 2 paths are joined then both players are eliminated. The object is to be the last man standing. If all the tiles have been played and more than 1 player is left, then they tie. It’s like Metro, without all the scoring.
It’s one of the few euro-style games that players actually get eliminated from the game. This isn’t really a problem because Tsuro is a quick game. Most games that I’ve played took 15 minutes or less. To me, this is a strength of the game. There is no need for players to get stuck in a long game that they know they aren’g going to win. Another big plus is Tsuro can accomodate up to 8 players. That’s really nice. Almost all euro-style strategy games max out at 5 or 6 players.
I found 2 minor annoyances with the game. The first is the tiles are ever so slightly large than the board spaces. It doesn’t affect the game play but it will annoy certain types of people. The second is the board is a US-style board with a gutter where the board folds. It’s not the clean edge style that you see in German games. Playing pieces on the edge of gutter fall over from time to time. Again, it doesn’t affect the game play.
It’s a terrific game to use as an introduction to euro-style games.