Tsuro: The Game of the Path Review
It is no secret that I’m just not the person who is usually in the mood for a long game. I can sit for an hour or more a few times a month, but generally the family and I sneak in a bunch of 20 minute games each week.
There is so much to love about Tsuro. The game is quick to learn, easy to understand, requires no reading or math skills, and is played quietly. QUIET! Did you hear that??
Let’s go check Tsuro out!
How To Play Tsuro: The Game of the Path
What's in the Tsuro Box
Inside the reinforced cardboard Tsuro box you will find:
•35 path tiles
•1 dragon tile
•8 dragon stones (pawns)
How to Play Tsuro
Set up the game:
Setting up the game is super simple, as is this whole game. I think that’s part of my draw to this game, it’s just lovely.
1. Set out the board between players
2. Each player picks a pawn and sets it on any of the little white hatch marks around the edge of the play area.
3. Shuffle, deal, draw. Remove the dragon tile and set aside. Shuffle remaining tiles, deal 3 to each player, place the rest face-down in a draw pile.
The goal of the game is to be the last-standing player on the board. You do this by playing tiles to not only keep your pawn on the board, but to also strategically force your opponents off the board.
Play the game:
1. Pick your tile. The starting player chooses one of their tiles to place on the board. The tile must have a path option that connects to the hatch your pawn is on. Place the card and follow the path. Your pawn MUST stay on the board if there is a tile that will allow them to stay on the board. Tiles may be rotated as desired. Once a tile has been played the turn is over, a replacement tile is drawn, and play moves to the left.
IMPORTANT: If a player’s pawn is on a tile that a subsequent player moves to, both pawns must follow along the path of the tile.
2. Stay & eliminate. Your goal is to stay in play on the gameboard longer than your opponents. You do this by employing two strategies: manipulating the path your pawn will travel (nope, not giving you any hints on how to do that! What fun would that be??) and by eliminating the other players. To eliminate other players you can either force them off the board or cause them to collide with another player.
3. Dragon Card. The dragon card doesn’t come into play very often in two, and even three, player games. We don’t even bother using it in two player games. As your player count increases, so does the need for the dragon card.
As players are eliminated from the game, their tiles are discarded. If at any point a player is not able to replace a played tile, they take the dragon card. The dragon card signifies a short pause in the game, as well as helping you to remember which player restarts the round. What to do with the card: All the tiles in each player’s hand are shuffled into the discarded cards, and this becomes the draw deck. The player with the dragon card is the first to pick three new tiles and the game continues with the dragon card holder resuming their turn.
What Do We Like About Tsuro
•It takes under 3 minutes to learn how to play
•No reading & no math required
•Charmingly simplistic game that doesn’t skimp on challenge
•Plays with up to 8 people, but can be adapted into a solo game.
•No speaking required
•Easily adapted to make 1 player
Thoughts: I really do enjoy playing Tsuro a lot. My kids haven’t wanted to play the game yet, so if I play the board game I have to adapt it for one player. I don’t mind the lack of competition, but in this case I wanted the challenge & social aspect of playing with other people (or AIs). What happened is that I ended up purchasing the app version (the app featured in the video above) so I could play opponents.
This game is so relaxing. I use it at night to unwind and transition to bedtime. I am so glad that I saw this game on the shelf, can you believe that I only bought it because the box is so pretty? Definitely, definitely buy this one for your game shelf. You won’t regret it! (But if you do your library would probably appreciate the donation.)
Ways to Adapt Tsuro
•Try playing the Tsuro game app to become familiar with the game, or to play on the go.
•For colorblind players mark the pawns with numbers or letters
•Younger kids can easily grasp onto the concepts of this game, but they may need a bit of coaching the first few times
•If your child becomes overwhelmed they can try a one player version, either with one or two pawns
•No reading or math skills are required
Would We Play Tsuro Again?
Replayability: Tsuro is a game I return to time & again, but I have gone through periods when I was sort of over it. The urge to play always comes back again. If you find yourself boring of it, put it away for a few months and see if it holds more excitement for you.
Quality of production: Excellent. Box, tiles, and board are sturdy and made of thick pressed paper and coated cardboard.
Value of play: I predict that Tsuro will become a regular in your game rotation. If you bring it out even twice a year, it’ll still be a valued addition to your game shelf.
Final thoughts: I don’t know if you can tell, but I really like Tsuro. If I had my way this would be the door prize for all new gameschoolers.