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Subject: Burst of Fun, little replay rss

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Brett Ritter
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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Vitrail (the name means "stained glass") is a speed pattern recognition/building game for up to 4 players. The rules are quite simple. Though the game comes only in French, translations of the rules are easily available, and largely unnecessary.

Each player has an identical stack of 4 transparent tiles. Each tile has four dots of different colors in different positions. A card displaying one pattern of dots is revealed, and the players race to flip, rotate, and stack all 4 of their tiles so that only those dots, in those colors, in that pattern, are visible. (extra dots are concealed under other dots) The first to match receives a number of points (each card with a pattern is worth between 1 and 3 points). The first player to 9 points wins. The dots are red, green, yellow, and red, so those color-blind in any of those combinations will likely have difficulty.

My first exposure to Vitrail was a copy someone had brought to the Boardgame room at Dragoncon. After a 1 minute explanation of the rules, I was highly eager to try it out (I love pattern recognition games - Set is a favorite of mine). I had only a a few minutes to work with it before the owner had to move on, but I found it very difficult and very interesting.

After some inquiries here, I located a supplier in Canada, and ordered a copy shipped to my home in Virginia, USA. The set consists of a good many pattern cards. Though some logic may have been applied to determine which are worth 1, 2, or 3 points, that logic doesn't seem to hold to actual difficulty experienced by players. Because the patterns fall into a few "types", replay value of any given card is quite high, so shortage of "new" patterns is not a problem. The four sets of tiles are durable, and bordered in the standard RGYB player colors to distinguish the sets from one another. When new the tiles were perfectly clear, but after only moderate play, the tiles became misty and clouded, likely due to accumulated fingerprints. Glare can be a problem for playing the game.

Now that I had a copy, I discovered that whatever made it originally baffling was gone: Each pattern took between 5 and 30 seconds to solve. In part I believe because I "got it", and the challenge of thinking in the right way was solved.

I've demoed the game to several friends, and all have had similar experiences: Several minutes of mental wrestling, followed by an "aha" moment and the joy is much reduced. Most often we never play the actual game, simply running through patterns until we get bored, sometimes keeping score (but not limiting ourselves to 9 points).

I expect the game will be brought out now and then when I wish to challenge myself speed-wise, but any given usage will likely be for only a few minutes at a time.

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Justin Borges
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Thank you!
It's great to see some thoughts on this 'game' which I've been eyeing.

Would you be able to pass on where you found it in Canada?

Many thanks.
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Ting Pong IP
Hong Kong
Lai Chi Kok
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Thanks, Brett.

It's a nice review. I am happy that I have owned it.

Vitrail is fun with a group of similar level players. In my games, one player always wins. Does it happen your group too?

Concern the cards, one of my friends has problem with the RGYB color because he's color-blinded. Apart from this, everything is nicely made.

Cheers,
Star
 
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Thomas Cauet
France
Paris
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I suggest you to try a very nice variant I always play with experienced players:
You draw 3 cards on the table, you're free to do any of them. Once you found one, you call out "VITRAIL", check it (with other players validating) and draw another one. So you always play with 3 cards visible and people can compete on the same or not. At the end of the deck (or less if you don't want a long game, discard some before the beginning), the player with most points wins! It's really a rush.
 
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Brett Ritter
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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Quote:
Would you be able to pass on where you found it in Canada?


http://levalet.com/

 
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Jonathan Franklin
United States
Seattle
Washington
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I think there is tons of replay over time. Although I could not play it for two or three hours straight, it is a great filler/competitive puzzle. It plays to certain strength that are not played to in other puzzles of its type due to the flipping action.

I like the variant with the number of cards, but it has the potential to cause the Leonardo problem of people being penalized for choosing to do the puzzle someone else chose. In addition, Vitrail has that tension of feeling that one flip or rotation will solve it, so no one wanted to stop their own solving to check someone else's correctness. I don't have anything better to propose, as we just play the base game, but more as an activity than a game.
 
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d'Epenoux Matthieu
France
Boulogne
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I am not familiar with this forum and don't hesitate to moderate this information if the content is not relevant.

Vitrail will be available in German for Essen under the name of Durchblick (Hutter) and in the States at the begining of next year under the possible name of Spot on (Gamewright).

Matthieu d'Epenoux
Cocktailgames
 
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Seth Jaffee
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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SwiftOne wrote:
Now that I had a copy, I discovered that whatever made it originally baffling was gone: Each pattern took between 5 and 30 seconds to solve. In part I believe because I "got it", and the challenge of thinking in the right way was solved.

I think this is only true if you're playing Solitaire, and what fun is that?
 
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