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Easily in my top 10 abstracts. The box art is atrocious though and I really wish I'd opted for the smaller and more portable version. This is the one time where I wish I had a cloth board as well since that would make it drastically more portable.
This two player game is pretty fun and provides a reasonably interesting puzzle to solve. I guess it's based on some game from some fantasy novel, and I think that has caused it to be rated higher than it otherwise would be. As of right now, I can't recommend anyone get it due to the price. It is currently going for $40.00 on amazon. Which would be fine but it only contains a small cardboard board and a few simple, rough, unfinished wooden pieces. From a production standpoint there is less to this than a $10.00 version of checkers.
GAMEPLAY Tak is a themeless abstract where the winner is the first to connect two opposite sides of the board in an unbroken line of their pieces. Players take turns doing one of two actions, place a piece or move a stack, which can be further broken down into more granular actions. In terms of the former, players can place a stone, a wall, or a capstone. Stones and the capstone piece can be used for connecting while walls allow you to block opponents from connecting. In terms of movement, stones can be stacked without limit but when stacks move, only five pieces maximum can be moved in a straight line. Walls can go on top of stacks and can likewise move with a stack. Capstones work the same as walls with the difference being that capstones can crush a wall into a stone. THOUGHTS With the exception of Santorini, I don’t think another abstract game has come on the scene with such universal acclaim since Kris Burm started putting out the GIPF series. Unlike Santorini, though, Tak is a bone-dry, no-nonsense abstract: pieces are simple blocks with the exception of the capstone. And, yet, there is so much to this wonderful game. The different permutations of placing and stacking make each game feel a bit different, and when one player looks like they have the game all but wrapped up, they’re completely on the back foot with their opponent’s next move. A beautiful game. Tak says it right on the damn box! PROS -Simple rules but the dynamic options allow for very different game states. -Some games last two minutes while others are a tense 20 minutes of blocking, parrying, and thrusting. -The regular edition of the game comes with a double-sided board with suggestions for playing a shorter or longer game. -It’s very cool of the designer and publisher to allow people to make DIY copies of the game. CONS -I know that every company has to meet their profit margins but Tak seems exceedingly expensive at $40 for what is a piece of cardboard (even if it is double-sided) and some wood pieces. Even the “university” edition, which is around $30, seems too expensiveFunny that the game is published by Cheapass Games.
A modern abstract with a classic look and feel, imagined by a talented author and created by a prolific designer. Simple rules: place or move, connect opposite sides of the board. Feels like a cross between Go and Checkers, with depth somewhere between...