Thursday, 3 August 2017

H-Index: 13

When I last posted about the progress in my H-index, a nifty little tool to try and measure how many games one's really played, I mentioned that I thought it would be a long time until I reached an H-Index of 13. In fact, at the time I said 'I think the most likely options are a little game like Micropul suddenly becoming popular around college or my finding some people around to play regular games of Chess or Mahjong with.' 

In fact, that's exactly what's happened, and Micropul, a cute little print-and-play game that I'm very fond of, finally made it to the magical number of 13 plays on the 23 of June 2017, four months and nineteen days after the jump to 12. This was more than twice as long as any other interval in the index, but that's not really surprising, as this was a very quiet period of gaming for me, and it's the nature of the H-index to take longer and longer to step up the ladder. Unfortunately, Micropul will have to wait to make it into my H-Index hall of fame, as it was pipped at the post by a game that I managed to clock 13 plays of just minutes before I pulled out my copy of Micropul. That game was the glorious little tile-placer, Tsuro.

H=13. 23/Jun/2017 - Tsuro (13),  Codenames (72), Hanabi (71), Red7 (33), 7 Wonders (24), Paperback (19), Between Two Cities (18), Istanbul (17), Resistance (17), San Juan (16), Hey! That's My Fish! (15), Ticket to Ride: Märklin (15), Codenames: Pictures (13)

Tsuro and I go back quite a way, and I've big a big fan since I first fell in love with it after my father-in-law received it for Christmas one year and we spent the whole holiday together playing endless games of it. I never felt the need to have a copy myself with that copy so close at hand, but it was so popular among the Nerd Club that my good friend Alecat made a giant version of it back in the day (she posted about it in passing back in Blaugust 2015).

Part of Ale's giant Tsuro set

Tsuro is a simple game. Between two and eight players each start with a stone on the edge of a 6x6 board and take turns playing one of a hand of three tiles in front of their stone and progress it down the path that the tile sets for it until it reaches an open space. Once you hit another player or leave the board again, you're out. Each tile is unique, and the whole thing is just generally sexy and over in about ten minutes, which makes it perfect for the sorts of gaming groups that I often play with here in the UK.

It's undoubtedly one of the games that would have already been on my H-index had I started it back in the Before Times, but since my gaming records only go back to 2016 and I'd not been able to come across a copy here in the UK until recently, it had languished unloved for far too long. I'd previously tried to get a copy for the College, who've got quite a well-stocked collection these days, if I say so myself, but had struggled to get my hands on it, so I was pleasantly surprised when a gaming alumnus and all round good fellow wandered into the Common Room with a copy and suggested that we play.

Long story short, Tsuro was a hit. That night we played three times. As the wine flowed and the resident mathematicians started to get....enthusiastic, Tsuro turned into Tsuroido and a number of variations for different rules for leaving and returning to the board, backstabbing others and getting stuck in infinite loops were explored and either discarded or further built upon. By the end of the month someone had managed to rustle up a copy for the College, more and more people were picking up the game, and just three weeks after that I found myself with 13 plays. 

The elegant simplicity of Tsuro never fails to grab people. Whenever we're playing it we manage to get in those folks that would normally stay well clear of the weirdos who populate the Common Room on Monday nights, and every time it finishes there's always someone keen for another play. It's aged well, it's definitely a keeper if you don't mind games in which perfect play won't always save you, and if somehow you've not given it a try yet, I recommend that you keep your eyes open for a chance to play.

1 comment:

Hans 'Pichy' Stockmann said...

Of course to me, Mr."Fun is expression through mechanics", Tsuro has always to me been the most nihilistic of game experiences. A group of entities drifting aimlessly, yet restricted through life; their journeys only ending and gaining meaning upon exiting this system entirely or exploding upon contact with another being. Indeed, intimacy and an acknowledgement of anything beyond oneself is as fatal as following a complete trail out of the mortal realm.