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Subject: Unplayably Dull (But Attractive) rss

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Rob Herman
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Normally, to write a negative review, I would try to think of five bad things to say about the game. In this case, I cannot. There is not enough game here to say five things about it, good or bad.

The game is a stalemate with competent play. Furthermore, there is little subtlety, making "good" and "safe" plays very obvious.

The problem is that the 2-height pieces are just too maneuverable. In one move they can be on any of 8 squares; they can sidestep out of harm's way, push out of harm's way, or both. A piece cannot be forced even near the edge of the board, and even when it is near the edge of the board, it has little trouble getting back. The presence of even one other friendly piece nearby makes the prospect of somehow being trapped even more unlikely.

The game's subtitle ("The Game Of Influence") is poorly chosen. Pieces are very maneuverable but exert distressingly little influence.

To witness this, place two 3-strength pieces of one color and one 2-strength piece of the opposite color on the board and play a few moves solo. Observe that it is quite impossible to force the lone 2-strength piece anywhere. Even the addition of another 2-strength piece of the dominant color does little to help. "Setting up a trap" is equally improbable given the small number of pushing moves that need to be looked at to understand a situation.

Go comes to an end because the board fills with territory. Chess comes to an end because the board is not big enough for all the pieces. In Oshi, midway through the game the pieces find that they have room for peaceful coexistence. Is this the lesson of some bizarre gaming koan?

The one bright spot is the game's elegant attractiveness. This is a good-looking game and one that you would not be ashamed to have on your coffee table unless you were asked to play it.

Summary: 2/10. No tension, no struggle, no way to win. Will lose its appeal somewhere between the middle of the first and the middle of the third game. There is no shortage of better two-player abstract strategy games; consider Hive or Hex.
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Mike Gingold
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Goodyear
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I agree with you 100%. I was looking forward to this game. We played it once and half way through realized how flawed the game was. You would think everything you mentioned would come out in playtest.
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Paul Taylor
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I have to disagree. My group has played many times and the games are always very tight. Please forgive me for stating the obvious but the one rule a number of players have overlooked is " When you move one of your pieces, you cannot end it's move in the same space it occupied at thr begining of your previous turn "
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Calvin Daniels
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well after playing this many times and trying hex a few times, give me Oshi

we've never had trouble getting a winner.

your example of three pieces, while interesting, is not ever a game situation, since someone has won long before your scenario, so the mechanics you speak of is flawed in that regard.

this is not the deepest strat game, but far better than a two
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William Bekking
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Kanata
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It's the Americans vs the Canadians
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ronaldinho @boardspace.net
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Hex is the best game ever.
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Calvin Daniels
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if hex were only game to play, I'd read more books
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Rob Herman
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Talisinbear wrote:
well after playing this many times and trying hex a few times, give me Oshi

we've never had trouble getting a winner.

your example of three pieces, while interesting, is not ever a game situation, since someone has won long before your scenario, so the mechanics you speak of is flawed in that regard.


The example with three pieces is just an illustration of the fact that, even with superior power, you cannot force a win. 3-3-2 vs. 3-3-2, 3-3-2-2 vs. 3-3-2, etc. are very viable game situations and play out the same way. In addition to the defensive power of mobility, because of the way pieces can assist each other by pushing threats sideways out of the way, there is just no way to force a capture in such a situation aside from a major blunder.
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Rob Herman
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Doctor K wrote:
I have to disagree. My group has played many times and the games are always very tight. Please forgive me for stating the obvious but the one rule a number of players have overlooked is " When you move one of your pieces, you cannot end it's move in the same space it occupied at thr begining of your previous turn "


No, I didn't miss the stalemate rule.

But you can push back farther, you can push back not as far, and most importantly, you can sidestep. The stalemate rule prevents going back and forth with the same two moves forever, but doesn't add any progress.
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Bwian, just
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Aiken Drum wrote:
It's the Americans vs the Canadians


I'm an American, and I thought it was an OK game . I've hardly exhausted every possibility in my ten or so games, but I've never noticed these "intuitively obvious" flaws.
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Hex rox, thix sux.
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Dan Rivera
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I think Oshi is a decent, but not great abstract.

It is a nice casual game. Fun to play when your on the porch, looking at the mountains, drinking a beer. Not too complex, and not too much of a brain burner. Requires just enough thought for a casual game. And for a casual abstract it looks great. My .02
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Calvin Daniels
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I really can't see the ehtusiasm for hex, but that's another topic

oshi isn't the next chess, but you can teach it in 3 minutes, play a game in 10, and kill an hour pretty easily

that makes it a winner for me
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David Schuette
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I agree with Dan Rivera. It is a casual game - not for hardcore gamers or strategy nuts.

My attempt to clarify the stalemate rule: The stalemate rule prevents pieces from moving back and forth but fails to address pushing back and forth.

Stalemate Rule Example: If I am on the edge of the board w/ a piece that can only move one and you are in front of me w/ a piece that can move 2 I move one to the right so you can't push me off. You then move one to the right so you are in front of me. The stalemate rule prevents me from moving to the left again (as that is where I started my previous turn).

What Stalemate rule doesn't address Example: If I am on the edge of the board w/ a piece that moves 2 and you are in front of me w/ a piece that moves 2 I move forward 2 spaces to get away from the edge (pushing you as well). You then push me back 2 spaces to the edge. By the rules I can just push you out 2 spaces again because I am not moving to where I was MY previous turn (which was at the edge of the board).

Simply put, the rules DO cover a chess like situation of pieces moving back and forth, but it DOES NOT cover what to do in a case where pushing is involved because the other player is moving you back to your original spot, not you doing it yourself.

Bottom Line: A pass for most gamers.
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Michael Coene
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DtTall wrote:
I agree with Dan Rivera. It is a casual game - not for hardcore gamers or strategy nuts.

My attempt to clarify the stalemate rule: The stalemate rule prevents pieces from moving back and forth but fails to address pushing back and forth.

Stalemate Rule Example: If I am on the edge of the board w/ a piece that can only move one and you are in front of me w/ a piece that can move 2 I move one to the right so you can't push me off. You then move one to the right so you are in front of me. The stalemate rule prevents me from moving to the left again (as that is where I started my previous turn).

What Stalemate rule doesn't address Example: If I am on the edge of the board w/ a piece that moves 2 and you are in front of me w/ a piece that moves 2 I move forward 2 spaces to get away from the edge (pushing you as well). You then push me back 2 spaces to the edge. By the rules I can just push you out 2 spaces again because I am not moving to where I was MY previous turn (which was at the edge of the board).

Simply put, the rules DO cover a chess like situation of pieces moving back and forth, but it DOES NOT cover what to do in a case where pushing is involved because the other player is moving you back to your original spot, not you doing it yourself.

Bottom Line: A pass for most gamers.


I agree for the most part with everyone who says the stalemate rule isn't good enough most of the time, but your example of "What a stalemate doesn't address" doesn't work because you have the opponent moving back to where he just was, which is clearly addressed. Just sayin'.

On a side note, since you only need seven to win it's really not THAT bad of a stalemate problem. It's certainly there, but not to the degree that it should be called broken. I've found that as long as both players are actively attacking one another there shouldn't be too much of a problem, because this often results in chess-like situations where you can either choose to move out of the way or loose a different piece. Two good players should be able to get it that way without too much difficulty. If it looks like it's going to go on forever, then just like in chess, call it a stalemate and move on.
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