Don’t forget – you have until Friday to enter the contest for 12 Realms, courtesy of MAGE Company. Just follow this link and answer a five-question quiz. Each correct answer gets you one entry, just clicking submit gets you an entry, and tweeting about the contest gets you one more entry. The winner will be announced on Friday morning, so don’t delay! We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.
In 1997, designer Kris Burm began releasing games in the so-called GIPF Project, a series of abstract games that were linked through a series of pieces called “potentials”. This includes GIPF (1997), TAMSK (1998 and later dropped from the official series), ZÈRTZ (1999), DVONN (2001), YINSH (2003), PÜNCT (2005), and TZAAR (which replaced TAMSK in 2007). It’s been ten years since the series officially ended, but now there’s a reunion in the works called
LYNGK is Kris Burm’s latest two-player abstract games, and is intended to synthesize all six official games in the GIPF Project. It is being published by HUCH! & Friends. All previous games in the GIPF Project have had seemingly incomprehensible titles where it seems like Burm reached his hand into a bag of Scrabble tiles and just used whatever game out, though this one seems more like it is somewhat descriptive, if very oddly spelled.
The game come with a board and 48 colored pieces, with each one representing one of the six games: three mottled white pieces (GIPF), 9 ivory pieces (TZAAR), 9 blue pieces (ZÈRTZ), 9 red pieces (DVONN), 9 green pieces (PÜNCT), and 9 black pieces (YINSH). There’s also a bag. The three mottled pieces and eight of each other color are randomly distributed to the intersections on the board. The remaining five pieces are placed to the side of the board. They will not be used on the board, they are only there for the purposes of claiming colors.
At the start of the game, all pieces are neutral, belonging to no one. As soon as a player claims a color (which is done on their turn before they make their move), only that player may use that color. You’ll only be able to claim two colors, as represented by the pieces set to the side. The fifth color will remain neutral and either player can use it. The mottled pieces are considered to be jokers, and can act as any color in the game.
On your turn, you’ll move one piece or stack. You always must end your move on an occupied space, creating a stack. All pieces in a stack must be different colors. You can cross as many empty intersections as there are between your piece and your target, but may not jump over pieces. A single neutral piece can only be moved on top of another single piece of a different color. A stack with a neutral piece can be moved on top of any other single piece or stack that is at most the same height. (Stacks can’t go any higher than five high.) A single piece of a claimed color or stack with a claimed color on top can pretty much go on top of anything, as long as it’s no higher than five pieces and all are different colors.
When you complete a stack with the top piece as a color you have claimed, you remove it from the board and set it on your side. It will be worth a point at the end of the game. If you complete a stack with a neutral color on top, it remains on the board as an obstacle, never to be moved again.
When the last possible move has been made, the game is over, and the player with the most stacks wins. If there’s a tie, look to see who has the most of the tallest stacks on the board.
As mentioned when I did my big overview of the GIPF Project a couple of years ago, the only game in the series that I’ve played face-to-face is ZÈRTZ. I’ve played the others online and like them a lot, but I think it’s something that I really need to experience in real life. This one seems very tactical in nature as I think it might be difficult to plan too far in advance. But there’s a lot going on at once, and it seems like it will be a pretty cool tug-of-war type game.
I will say that I’m a little disappointed that the pieces represent the different games in the series in name only, rather than in power. But I think the point is that the game mixes up ideas from the games and comes out with a new one. And I’m glad that there’s a new game in the series – hopefully it will reignited interest in the older games.
Thanks for reading!