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Tsuro: The Game of the Path

Kristen McCarty
United States
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Two roads diverged in the yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both...

I always loved that poem, and every time I think of Tsuro that poem always comes to mind. Tsuro is a light abstract strategy game enjoyable gamer and non-gamer alike. It is one of the few games that works well with one or up to 8 players. I've said that abstract games are not my favorite but this is one abstract that I will play at any time. Perhaps it is the simplicity, or perhaps the beauty, or perhaps unlike some abstract games there is a little bit of luck involved.


Like most abstract games there isn't a real "theme" to Tsuro. Yes the box and pieces are very Japanese, with the dragon, writing, and colors but this theme is not what the game is all about.


Tsuro is a great example of the simplistic beauty of abstract games. There are very few components that come with this game: path tiles, eight stones (player pieces), game board, and rule book. But these pieces are beautiful and well made. The stone are a heavy plastic and a great shape for easy movement. The path cards are made of heavy card stock and just pretty.

Game Play

Game play is quick and easy to learn and very deep. Players start with their player piece on one of the white lines on the board edge. You can randomly choose where to start. They also receive three path tiles. The rest are stacked to make the draw pile.

On you turn you play a tile, move the stones, and then draw a tile (see simple!)

The hard part comes in the decisions. The goal of the game is to be the last one on the board. You do this by creating a path for your marker that hopefully does not connect with the edge of the board. At the same time you want to cause your opponents to move off the board.

In you hand you have three tiles, you must choose one to place. Weigh you options, and choose wisely because the wrong path can lead you over the edge.

After you have placed your tile move any markers that were affected and then draw one more tile to fill your hand. If you eliminate a player by placing a tile you may choose to take their tiles (up to three). Play continues until the last tile is placed are all but one player is eliminated.

My Thoughts

Simple, elegant, fast, and fun. All these are great reasons to play and own this game. I know many people may say this isn't a true abstract strategy game because of the random card draws involved. Yet, this adds and element of ease and excitement to the game to me. But there is something about this game that kept me from adding it to my collection for a long time. I first played this game last Christmas and just recently purchased it. And that was mostly because I had a $10 off coupon for Barnes and Noble. But now that I own it I think it will see a lot of play.

Quick Stats:

Designer: Tom McMurchie
Artists: Cathy Brigg, Shane Small, Franz Vohwinkel, Imeda Vohwinkel
Publisher: Calliope Games
Number of Players: 2- 8 (Best with 6)
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