By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
---- — If I did a list of the most under-appreciated board games (and don't tempt me), both Tsuro games would be on that list.
I have Tsuro: The Game of the Path for a long while. It was first released by WizKids and a bought a copy then. It is now published by Calliope Games, along with its more recently released brother Tsuro of the Seas.
There are a few common threads that link the two games. They are played on a modular board that changes as game tiles are put upon it. Another commonality is that each player's piece needs to remain on the board. There are paths to travel on each modular board piece and should a piece be placed that would cause a piece to move off the board, the game ends for that player.
Both games can be played by from 2 to 8 players and in less than a half hour generally.
The original Tsuro is an abstract strategy game with no luck involved other than with what three board pieces you have in your hand, none of which might save you from trouble on your turn.
Tsuro of the Seas is less abstract and actually follows the theme very well as the players represent ships on the board. Tsuro of the Seas daikaiju tiles, representing sea monsters and other creatures of the deep. These provide new ways to lose a game of Tsuro.
Depending on the number of players in the game, the setup includes putting out a certain number of these monster tiles in random locations. Before each player moves he or she rolls 2 dice. If a 6, 7 or 8 is rolled, the monster tiles will move, again in a random direction. A player can be eliminated if the monster move to space occupied by the ship. He or she can also be put out of the game if every tile they could play would take them into a monster tile.
There is certainly more chaos and more randomness is Tsuro of the Seas than the original Tsuro.
Both have gorgeous boards and Calliope is to be commended for giving such quality treatment to both.
These are challenging and enjoyable cerebral tests of both strategy and tactics. Some, who don't like luck to play a significant role in a game's outcome, will favor Tsuro. Those with more positive feelings toward luck will doubtless likes Tsuro better.
Tsuro of the Seas was a kickstarter offering and those who purchased the game in that manner received 12 promotional tiles. Beginning later this month, those tiles will be available for purchase for new fans of the game.
For more about Calliope Games visit: http://www.calliopegames.com/
You might also check out their next offering, Roll For It which just ended on kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/781219801/roll-for-it?ref=live. It too looks like great fun and I will hope to review it here soon.