Tak: A Beautiful Game
MFG: Cheapass Games
#of Players: 2
Age Range: 12+
Overall Construction: The board is one solid piece with a different theme on either side. The pieces are solid wood and of various shapes that seem like they are fit for the long haul. The rulebook gives variations for multiple board sizes.
The downside is that the board is not well suited for all of the variations of gameplay. The rulebook gives you options for multiple board sizes (from 3×3 up to 8×8), the board only goes up to 5×5 and 4×4 play is a little difficult. I realize that it was made this way to reflect the board from the book this game is based on.
Gameplay: This is a 2 player strategy game. I would vaguely liken it to tic-tac-toe and connect four. Each player has 2 types of pieces depending on the size of the board. 3×3 & 4×4 do not use the Capstone piece.
The object is to make a line from one side of the board to the other. You cannot go diagonally, only in an “L” shape if your straight line is blocked. You are allowed to stack on top of each other. Your basic pieces can be played in one of two ways. Flat which is the way they need to be to count as part of your path. They can also be placed upright, to form a wall. Flats can be stacked onto, walls cannot. Walls do not count as part of your path for winning purposes.
Yes/No Recommend: I will say that I was a little disappointed with this game. Admittedly, over the 25+ years I have been playing board games it takes something special about a game to really WOW! Me, but this game just doesn’t have it. I had to read the rulebook a couple of times to get all of the nuances and still ended up contacting Cheapass with questions. I admit that I did find the answer I was looking for in the rule book before they were able to get with me. For me, if I want to play a strategy game, there are so many other games I would play first, but if you like simple strategy, are a fan of Cheapass Games, or a fan of the book that this game comes from, pick up a copy.
Here is what the game needs to win me over: Be a Cheapass Game or go big. By this I mean, one of the things that drew me to Cheapass Games was the black and white simplicity of their games. They recommended that you steal tokens and other pieces from other games, often only providing rules and the gameboard itself. I think the pieces they provide are of a quality befitting them. To be a Cheapass game and to make the game more playable in all of its variations they should start off with a basic 3×3 board with “L” shaped board expansions to achieve the other sizes (example: a 3×4 L to put on any side of the board to make it a 4×4 board and so on.
To Go Big: As the name implies, it is supposed to be A Beautiful Game. To do this add velvet bags to keep the game pieces in. Another thing is the board. As it currently exists, it is a single slab of cardboard. It is well done for what it needs to be, but the lines dividing the different segments could be more defined and if need be add a second board that makes the even number of spaces easier to play. I would be ok if the made it on a multi-fold board to get the size boards that the rules cover.
Where To Get It: This game is fairly new, but to date, ordering it through your local game store or online may be the only way to get it. Please check out their website for more information about this game and other Cheapass Games visit their website here http://cheapass.com/tak/