Tsuro by Calliope Games Review


Tsuro by Calliope Games Review 1

Publisher: Calliope Games

Game Type: Abstract Tile Laying

Designer: Tom McMurchie

Initial Year of Release: 2004

Artist: Cathy Brigg, Shane Small, Franz Vohwinkel, Imelda Vohwinkel

Theme and What is it?

Are you looking for the path to enlightenment? Look no further than Tsuro. Tsuro is a game where the Dragon and the Phoenix guide you through the path of life, carefully balancing the forces of choice and destiny. The Phoenix and the Dragon are two powerful beings that share the task of overseeing the many paths that lead to divine wisdom. Will you find the right path that leads to enlightenment?

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Gameplay Mechanics

Tsuro is an abstract tile laying game for 2 to 8 players. Your goal is to ensure that your path does not connect to the edge of the game board. Once a path leads a player to the edge of the board, then that player is eliminated from the game. The last marker left on the board wins.

Each move takes 3 steps: 1. Play a path tile 2. Move your marker down the path 3. Draw a new tile. The oldest player begins the game and proceeds through the 3 steps, making sure that the path created for their marker does not connect to the edge of the board, while at the same time trying to create paths that will lead others to the end of their journey (the end of the board and elimination).

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Initial Impressions

Tsuro is a quick moving game and each round is about 10-15 minutes. I enjoy the various designs on the tiles and how they fit on the board. The game is simple and easy to explain. It is also satisfying to create the path—it works like a puzzle as you add one piece at a time. I am happy with the quick rounds because each game allows you to create new paths, so the game board changes with each game, and the game is never stagnant.

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Game Build Quality

The quality is awesome, and the tiles are thick and durable for many rounds of tile laying. My favorite part of the game are the markers that have a very cool looking dragon on them. Overall, Tsuro has very high-grade components that make the game even more fun to play.

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Artistic Direction

The particular color combinations used in the game gives it an authentic Asian feel, which makes the game come together. The board has a giant phoenix which looks awesome and is very detailed. It’s a bummer having to cover it with tiles. The instructions are really neat as well because they open more like a scroll than a book.

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Fun Factor

My favorite part about Tsuro is how crazy the path gets as the game progresses and more tiles are laid down. You can be in the bottom corner of the board, lay a tile down, and your marker can end up at the top. I also love that each round you play is unique because the paths created are so different. It is also therapeutic to follow the path around and trace where my marker will land. Sometimes I am nervous that after I lay my tile down, that somehow the path that I chose will doom myself to the edge of the board—thus eliminated. It definitely keeps me on my toes!

Age Range & Weight

Tsuro is rated as an 8+ age range. I think that younger kids could play and enjoy Tsuro. They don’t have to worry about reading. All they have to do is keep their path moving. I feel that it would be a great way to train young players to think ahead of their current move. There is potential to help foster problem solving skills that can translate to other games. 5 or 6 may be the youngest I would suggest. They can follow the path they create and shouldn’t get too frustrated with the game.

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There are days when I feel my life needs to be enlightened, and now I have a go to game to give me just that. Tsuro has quick rounds with zen artwork. I find myself not only entertained but also very relaxed. When playing Tsuro, my zen levels are at an all-time board gaming high.


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