Tsuro mini-review and strategy tips

Tsuro strategy tips? Surely you’re joking. Nope, not at all. First though, a mini review.

Tsuro. Green wins

The players have 3 tiles in hand and have to place one in front of their stone. This makes a path. If you connect to a different path, you have to travel along it. If you crash into someone, you both are eliminated, if you go off the board, you are eliminated. It plays in about 5 minutes, is pretty fun and easy to teach people, and you already know all this. Cool? Cool.

So here we go, Tsuro Strategy Tips, or “how to win against your family on that one day a year where you all hang out together”.

3 basic ideas, all of which amount to “maximize your options, minimize others’ options”:

  1. Play bad tiles as early as possible
  2. Stay in the center
  3. Force opponents to the outside

Play bad tiles as early as possible

First, let’s explain what makes a tile good or bad since a lot of people treat them equally. Each tile has 4 sides, meaning it can be played 4 ways for your stone. Each of the paths on the tile links your stone to one of 7 possible result spots. The quality of the tile is how varied the different locations it points to are. A good tile has 4 unique directions it can end up sending you to, one for each side. A bad tile has the same result 4 times. 2s are poor, 3s are ok.

Think about it, you always want options. If you end up in a situation where going straight will kill you, and the only tile you have is one where every side sends you forward, you lose. On the other hand one where 1 U-turns, 1 turns left, 1 turns right, and 1 goes forward could save you here.

So rule 1: play your bad tiles as soon as you can, save your good tiles for when you need them to survive.

Stay in the center

Again, we’re talking about maximizing your options. If you’re heading towards the empty center, all your exits are safe. If your in the corner, at least 4 of your exits are automatically death. So rule here is simple: stay towards the center.

Force opponents to the outside

Since you can’t force opponents to play good tiles directly, your only aggressive action (other than just sending people directly off the map) is to minimize their choices. Whenever possible, always steer your opponents towards edges, or corners (corners preferred). Even if they survive, they will have to use better tiles to get back, getting you a bit of advantage.


So there you go. Some simple tips to get you a tiny bit of an edge in Tsuro. Now go out there and crush your little cousin.

Fire In The Lake review

Angelica is traveling for work so I tried the single player Fire In The Lake, my first ever GMT game.

Fire In The Lake. I will not fear, fear is the mind killer
Fire In The Lake. I will not fear, fear is the mind killer

It’s weird how intimidating this game feels considering how really not too difficult to either set up, or play it is.

The entire mechanic is:

  • flip a card
  • in card order if you’re available, make a move
  • repeat until coup card. if coup, check if someone won, then reset

The moves are very clearly written out on sheets, ditto the coup order. In fact, the main thing about the game that jumps out is how much effort was spent making it playable. There’s flow charts for everything, there’s pages and pages of explanations and tutorials, advice for factions, advice on specific cards…

In fact, once I got into the flow of the game, what caused me to stop was something completely unexpected: my feet gave out. Not a phrase you often hear about board games. In this case, the actual game board is so large that I had to play standing up to be able to reach the back, and after a day at the standing desk, my feet were hurting enough that I gave up after finishing 1964.

Looking forward to giving it a hardcore college try on a full Saturday. It looks like a very solid beast.

Twilight Imperium

Yet another one-image-per-turn Twilight Imperium post. 6 person game, this time using the exploration tokens. Clocked in at 9 hours before a last second push by the L1z1x managed to just barely get past the Nekrovirus and take the win.

We replaced Logistics with Production which turned out to be a very bad idea the lack of access to more command counters combined with the Virus’ ability to use the Technology Strategy to get command counters gave Nekrovirus a huge early lead. L1z1x managed to overcome them by being the first to get to tech that grants command counters, as well as some massive exploration luck (in particular, getting some Lazax survivors and the accompanying one point.

I played the Ghosts which ended up being a sub-par race in a map that ended up having a single wormhole.

Changes for next time: early start, less total turns, and seeing if we can reign this thing in to 6 hours. Maybe leaders. And definitely put Logistics IV strategy card back in, I don’t even know what I was thinking.

Turn 1

2015-09-05 14.25.09

2015-09-05 15.28.29


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2015-09-05 17.15.26

2015-09-05 19.19.30

2015-09-05 19.44.27

2015-09-05 20.27.05

2015-09-05 21.22.35


Twilight Imperium

After quite a few misadventures, my christmas present TI3 finally hit table, 5 players.

Full ruleset:

  • Flagships
  • Politics II
  • Trade II
  • Imperial II (+ Age of Empires or whatever)
  • SE Objective Cards shuffled in
  • Preliminary Objectives
  • Factional Research
  • Mechanized Ground Troops (no one built a single one)
  • Wormhole Nexus

Obligatory progress photos.

TI3, Turn 1
TI3, Turn 1
TI3, Turn 2
TI3, Turn 2
TI3, Turn 3
TI3, Turn 3
TI3, Turn 5
TI3, Turn 5
TI3, Turn 6
TI3, Turn 6

Forgot to take photo turn 4.

The Jol-Nar player (purple) managed to politics himself into a sweet situation of no one attacking him, and being Jol-Nar, leveraged that into a unstoppable technical advantage. The fact that everyone else got stuck fighting each other meant that he squeaked to a win Turn 6.

There’s an asterisk or two on the game as we didn’t play the rules right 100%, in particular we allowed ships to be built in a dock on the same turn that docks are built, but we did pretty close all considered.

Total play time, including rule-teaching: 8 hours 12 minutes.

51st State

Portal’s 51st State.

51st State
51st State

easily one of my favorite games, after you scale the learning cliff

main complaint about the game are the too thin tokens, glad they fixed that with the New Era expansion