One of the best genres of game I’ve been tapping into recently is the digital board game. I simply don’t have the space to actually buy any (video games have already swamped my flat). My friend Mike has a dedicated storage room and converted his dinning area into a play table. I can’t do that so having them digital does me just fine. It also allows me try out new games that would otherwise pass me by. Here is where Tsuro: The Game of the Path comes into play.
Tsuro is deceptively simple. Between 1 to 8 players pick a character and places them at the edge of the board next to notches. You then are dealt three tiles with squiggly lines on from which you are to choose from, rotate and place on the board in front of you. Your character then follows the squiggly line to its end destination. The goal is to stay on the board and not follow a thread that will see you end up back at the edge of the board and the end of your path. Sounds simple? It is in principle but then tactics come into play!
Very quickly, as the board isn’t huge, you’ll start to meet other players and you’ll not only be looking at where you end up but also if you can send your opponents spinning off in the wrong direction. You also want to avoid colliding into each other as that will eliminate both of you. Tsuro, by defining its narrow window of tactics and opportunities, means you have limited choices but enough to make a real difference on every single turn. If you can be the last one standing, you’ll be the winner.
Converting the game into a digital format has given the game an extra layer of beauty. The board artwork is vibrant and the way the cards effortlessly glide around in the golden sands reminds me of the beauty of how the dealer plays in the Hand of Fate games. Its so satisfying to see the cards magically fly around. It also means the developer was able to add in some unique video game twists too. On top of the standard mode above, three other modes have been added. You can now compete for the most amount of loops across your own path, which completely changes how you play the game. You can also compete for the longest path made which switches it up again. Now elimination is less of an issue if it allows you to combine a long chain of cards into a decent sized path. Lastly, a solo mode has been added called fuse mode which burns the path behind you quickly, meaning you need to act fast to survive.
All these modes have friend leaderboards to keep track of your top scores. They also come with three AI difficulties. Silly AI are usually cannon fodder but the tricky AI opponents are out to get you as much as fend for themselves. As games usually take about 5-10 minutes tops, Tsuro is perfect for the pick up and play cohort of gamers. Easy to understand, tricky to master and with beautiful graphics, design and music – it feels timeless and effortless to play. Steam remote play works a treat too and there is a VR version for PC players which is a separate purchase. I do not have VR so cannot comment on its implementation but this version is a stunning recreation of the board game. Highly recommended.
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PC version tested. Review copy provided by publisher.