Players: 2 to 8
Game Length: 15 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 4-8 players who want to ride the wind in a super quick tile placement game!
Tsuro is a light tile placement game where each player is a dragon moving along a path. They’ll have a hand of tiles, on which are printed paths, and each turn they must choose one of these tiles and place it in front of their dragon, moving it to the end of that line. As the board fills up with tiles, there’ll be less choice about where they end up, and running off the board (and out of the game) will be inevitable for some! The last player still on the board is the winner.
Tsuro makes an excellent filler game for larger groups, and plays very quickly. It won’t last any longer with more players, as there are only a set number of tiles that may be played before the board is completely full and all players end up careening off the board. As the board fills up, with tiles, you’ll start to meet your opponents, and if you place a tile in front of an opponent’s piece, they’ll have to move too – meaning you can force them off the board, or into an undesirable corner of it at least!
Tsuro is ultimately a chaotic game, and once you start meeting up with your opponents in the middle of the board there will be quite a lot of chance involved in whether you stay in the game, but it’s exciting to put pieces down and follow the course to see where you end up – and to do the same for your opponents! You may not always be in full control of where you end up, but in Tsuro, it’s more about the journey than the destination.
There is another version of Tsuro available called Tsuro of the Seas, which adds the Daikaiju, giant sea monsters who roam the ocean and destroy existing tiles, not to mention any players who get in the way. This allows the game to last longer, as the spaces cleared by the Daikaiju may then be refilled by new tiles. You can choose whether or not to play with the Daikaiju; they add randomness to an already chaotic game and prevent it from having a clearly-defined end point, but their addition can introduce an extra level of excitement to the game. Tsuro of the Seas is just as attractive a game as Tsuro, but with a Japanese nautical theme.
If you’re after a quick, 15-minute game that will happily incorporate larger groups and doesn’t require a lot of heavy thinking, Tsuro and Tsuro of the Seas are excellent choices. They make great introductory games for new players as well as decent filler games to play while waiting for people to arrive. You’ll be riding the wind and hopefully sending your opponents off the board in no time!