When I first saw this game I knew I had to have it. It's one of those fabulous coffee table talking points. I should point out here that despite what the pictures look like, the pieces are made from resin and not wood. The board is wood though and the overall effect is still stunning.
Is there anything to the gameplay though? Well yes there most certainly is....
The 5 square by 5 square board starts off with the three rocks forming a line in the middle. The object is for one player to push a rock off the board.
All player pieces, the rhinos and elephants, start off the board. The game introduces the notion of direction. In order to push, your pushing piece must be facing the direction in which you wish to push.
On a turn a player may do any one of the follwing:
* Introduce one of his pieces to any of the edge squares and orientate it into any direction he wishes * Remove one of his pieces that is on an edge square from the board * Move one of his pieces already on the board to an orthoganally adjacent space (and in doing so he may, if he wishes, change the direction the piece is facing) * Change the direction of one of his pieces without moving it * Push a piece or line of pieces up by one square
The interesting part of the game is the idea of pushing. A piece may push a rock if it is facing it. However it would take two pieces facing the right way to push two rocks etc. To further complicate matters, any piece in the line facing the opposite way is pushing the other way too, so, requires a further piece facing and pushing back. It requires no extra push power to move a piece that is side on.
As an example, let's say that the arrows represent pieces facing in either direction and an 'R' is a rock.
>R This piece can push the rock
>R>< The leftmost piece can push the rock since there is one other piece in the line facing the same direction to move the piece pushing the other way
It's much simpler to understand than it first sounds!
The game is fun. There is a fair bit to think about and there is usually a way out of a sticky situation if you think hard enough. It's a brain burner though! Games can be over quite quickly and you'll always want just one more game!
Keep this out on display and someone will always show interest. It's so easy to teach and quick to play that you'll get lots of use out of it.
For me this is the ideal abstract, and great piece of art into the bargain!
I've played Oshi and just received Siam yesterday. In Siam, the bits are much nicer. I was a little disappointed with the look of Oshi - the corners of the board were pretty rough etc. I haven't played Siam yet but the objective is to only push one thing off and you can only move one space, but in Oshi you have to push a few off and pieces can move multiple spaces, so I imagine Siam is much more static. In Oshi a piece can move a relatively long way and make a surprising position. In Siam I expect the surprises come from bringing pieces onto the board or rotating them in place. I'd be happy to own both.
Mark, I'm just learning these rules, but is the example >R>< correct? I thought that the second > from the left couldn't be counted as a pusher on the rock. The pieces can only push, not pull. Wouldn't the example have to be >>R< to work?