Tsuro Game Review

The Basics:

  • For ages 8 and up
  • For 2 to 6 players
  • About 20 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Pattern/Color Matching
  • Strategy & Tactics
  • Risk vs. Reward
  • Visuospatial Skills
  • Hand/Resource Management

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • None

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

Tsuro is an easy to learn strategy game that consists of nothing more than laying a lined tile down on the game board, then taking your token and following the path on the tile onto other tiles until the path ends. The goal is to keep your token on the game board, while trying to cause other player’s token to follow a path off the game board.

Component Break Down

  • Game board
  • 36 tiles
  • 8 game tokens

Game Set Up

  1. Layout the game board
  2. Each player chooses a marker
  3. Deal 3 tiles, face-down, to each player
  4. Stack the remaining tiles face-down to be used as the draw pile
  5. The oldest player starts first
  6. On their turn, the player may look at their tiles and then place their marker on a start mark located on the side of the game board

Playing The Game

Tsuro is game that can be taught and played in a matter of minutes. It’s very easy to understand the rules, thus making it a great game for children and those who don’t want to spend a lot of time learning games with huge rule books. Because there are so few game pieces and games are quick, it’s a good game for pulling out of the closet and playing at a moments notice. There is downtime between turns, but the pace of the game moves pretty quickly so you won’t spend too much time waiting on others to make their move.

Winning the Game

The winner of the game is the player with the last token on the board.

Final Word

Gamer Geeks, this game is good in short bursts, but it’s not something a hardcore gamer is going to play hours upon hours. There isn’t a lot of strategy involved and your best plans can be thwarted by someone throwing down a random tile and totally messing up your path.

Parent Geeks, due to the quick set up and easy to follow rules, this is a very good casual game. In addition, my wife likes it because it provides an opportunity for social interaction. You don’t have to spend a lot of time planning out your next move which allows for chit-chat with everyone around the table during the downtime.

Child Geeks, of all the games I’ve played, this is by far one of the most kid-friendly. Probably anyone ages 5 and up can play because there are so few rules, no reading is necessary, and you don’t have to hold many tiles in your hand. A 5-year-old might not be able to plan their moves in advance, but it’s easy to understand that your piece follows the path until it can’t go any further. Highly recommended for kids.

Playing the game!

I can’t recommend this game enough for little geeks. If they can trace a line with a token, they can play the game. They might not be able to strategize moves in advance, but that’s alright. They’ll stay in the game long enough to enjoy playing it and spending the time with family and friends. Hardcore gamers won’t spend much time with this game, but this is a common game in my local gaming group. We play it while we wait on others to arrive before we bring out the geek-heavy stuff.

Tsuro is definitely worth space on your shelf.

About Marty

Father of Three, and Husband of One, Marty has been a video and board gamer since the Atari 2600 and Uno (both from the 70's). As a child, he has fond memories of playing all sorts of games with his family and friends. As a parent, he now wants his three sons to have the same great memories of everyone sitting around the table captivated by cards/tokens/miniatures, feeling great about a win, learning how to deal with losses, but having fun regardless of the outcome. Marty didn't discover the sub-culture of "geek" gaming until 2000 through the Lord of the Rings TCG. From there, a whole new world of card games, board games, RPGs and miniature wargaming was opened up to him and he dived in head first. As his sons started taking interest in his hobby, Marty gladly cultivated their interest and supported whatever games they wanted play. Even his wife, a non-gamer just a few short years ago, now loves the gaming culture and gets "geeked up" as anyone for board game nights and trips to GenCon. Gaming is now a family event. Less time is spent watching TV and more time is spent sitting around the gaming table strategizing, laughing, learning, and building memories that will stay with them for a lifetime. At the same time, Marty is adding new memories of his own. Marty goes by the handle WolfpackEE on Board Game Geek.
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3 Responses to Tsuro Game Review

  1. Paul Owen says:

    I agree with everything you say – except that I believe there is potential for some depth of strategy in this game. Although certainly approachable for children and a fun game for kids and adults together, there’s opportunity for thinking several moves ahead (even with such a small hand size). Skilled opponents can really make a challenging game.

    The most appealing aspect of this game to me is something you didn’t mention at all – its aesthetic quality. It is physically one of the most beautiful boardgames we own. I find its serene atmosphere makes for a peaceful, relaxing playing experience.

    • Marty says:

      Thanks for the comment.

      You are right, I did not mean to imply there is no strategy. I played a game of it last night with a hardcore gaming group and there is strategy in trying to plan future moves based on the tiles in your hand and your position on the board.

      And yes…it is a great looking game.

  2. Pingback: Tsuro of the Seas Game Review » Father Geek

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