Saturday, November 8, 2014

Game Review: Tantrix

Tantrix published by Family Games Incorporated

Tantrix is a game we picked up in New Zealand on our honeymoon many moons ago. We played it a few times but it's the sort of abstract game that my wife doesn't like. In the game, players draw hexagonal tiles and try to make the longest line of their color (red, yellow, blue, or green). It makes an interesting game but the real interest for me is the solitaire play.

In the solitaire version of the game, the player takes a set of tiles and makes a loop of a specific color. The tiles are numbered on the back and the color of the number indicates which color can be looped. The first few puzzles are pretty easy.

Solitaire puzzle #1

Solitaire puzzle #2

The more tiles used, the more complicated it is to make the loop. One challenge is that all the tiles need to touch, i.e. no holes are allowed in the middle. The other challenge is that the other line colors have to match up properly. Below is the solution for 13 tiles, a blue loop. Solving the loop is hard enough but then the player has to swap around pieces until all the red and yellow lines match up.

Solitaire puzzle #13

To me, it is amazing that this works for 56 tiles. A loop can still be made with all the other lines matching. So far, I've only made it to 18, so I have a lot of plays left from Tantrix. There are other combinations of play for the solitaire player as well.

Zombie Apocalypse Appropriateness: The tiles are sturdy Bakelite tiles and the whole set of fifty fit in a small, easily transportable bag. It has both solitaire and 2-4 player versions, so the play is very flexible. The only trick is players need a flat surface to play on, which might be challenging if you are on the run during the apocalypse. 

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