Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Wheaton Effect Part Two: "Tsuro"

In the very same video that showcased Zombie Dice, Wil Wheaton and his pals also played an elegant, abstract, tile-laying game named Tsuro (it's the first game in this vid):

After Claudia beat the bejesus out of us in Ticket to Ride: Märklin, we still had enough time to cram in another quick game.  Given Andrew's "see/want/buy"proclivities, none of us were particularly shocked when he whipped out his very own copy of Tsuro.  I can only assume he purchased it mere milliseconds after watching the informative yet costly episode of Tabletop featured above.

But I really can't slight him for that since Tsuro has the unique ability to enthrall even the most tentative or jaded gamer.

Players begin by selecting a colored token representing their "dragon" which they then place on one of forty eight different entry points along the edge of the board.  You then take turns laying down tiles (from a hand of three) which represent your dragon's flight path.  In doing so, players must avoid mid-air collisions with other dragons or routes which will send you flying off the edge of the game board.  The player who's token stays on the board the longest wins!



Here's how the board looked after we picked our entry points...

My impulse to make a beeline for the middle (à la Blokus) was tempered when I noticed that Claudia was on the same track.  Embracing the zen trappings of the game, Dean tried to eke out his own peaceful little corner of the board.  Conversely, Andrew took the Art of War approach (like he would), and immediately flew into Mike's airspace. 

For some inexplicable reason, Mike opted not to play a tile that would have eliminated Andrew.  Man, didn't he ever read the story of the scorpion and the frog?  Meanwhile, Claudia tried to double back, I pondered the hazards of flying into the center whilst Dean's dragon began sneak up on me (which, according to Claudia, is actually a fairly common occurrence). 

The scorpion strikes!  Andrew decided to repay Mike's mercy with a poisonous sting to the ball-sack!  I made for the core, despite the fact that it would put me into a potentially lethal game of chicken with Andrew.  Dean and Claudia both fell back into to the hinterland, looking to get away form the madness.  

So engrossed was I by the game that I forgot to take pictures!  Suffice to say that we all managed to end up next to each other along the same side of the game board:

Claudia, Dean and I peeled away from the edge of destruction while Andrew, like the scorpion, found himself out of options and embracing seppuku

Then, just like a pack of plastic lemmings, Dean's competition decided to fly off into the Abyss.  I was the first to lead myself off the board in a serpentine twist.  Then Claudia was forced to come to the brutal realization that she was plumb-out of non-suicidal tiles:

                                                                               ^ P.S. this little nubby black thing is where I went off the board.
Dean wins!!!


Here's our starting setup for Game Two.  Please note Andrew's initial "suck my knutz" placement right next to Game One winner Dean:

Right from the get-go, this match seemed a lot more cut-throat and, subsequently, it ended quickly.  Seeing how heated things were getting, I eschewed last game's "drive to the middle" strategy and tried hugging my side of the board.  Mike and Claudia took a staggered approach to the center.  True to form, Andrew cut inward while playing a tile that sent Dean flying off the board like a hydroplaning Winnebago with bald tires.  

Mike began the process of painting himself into a corner.  After eliminating Dean and inciting a close call with Claudia, Andrew loudly announced: "Hey, DAVE, I don't like how you're peacefully flying around there off to the side all by yourself."  He played a tile that seriously fucked up my flight path, forcing me to swallow a tile-shaped cyanide capsule.  

Then Mike conveniently eliminated himself...

Finally, despite the added "benefit" of the Dragon Tile, Claudia wasn't impressed by the dregs she ended up inheriting from me.  As a result, she quickly ran out of options and was forced to fly off into oblivion.  

Andrew wins!!!
As you can see, Tsuro is a quick, easy, aesthetically-pleasing filler game that kinda plays out like a low-res version of the light-cycle game in Tron.  I happily give it four pips outta six!  


  1. I have read the Scorpion and the Frog, but I guess I should internalize it better.

  2. I'm sure Mike will be gunning for me next time we play.