Menu

TYRUS

Reviewed by Herb Levy

(Eurogames/Descartes Editeur, 2 players, ages 12 and up, about 30 minutes; $34.95)

 

I have a certain fondness for election games. Tyrus, the new release from Eurogames, combines an election theme concerning two warring factions competing for control of an ancient city with the simple mechanics of “rock-paper-scissors” to create an intriguing game of bluff and counterbluff.

Tyrus is the creation of Laurent Escoffier and David Frank. Within its box is a very simple game board depicting 6 buildings (2 each of Citadels, Markets and Temples), 60 wooden tiles (30 each in ivory and brown), 9 green election cards, 9 two-sided representative tokens, a first player marker and an instruction booklet in several languages including English.

Each player chooses a set of wooden tiles and places his set face down next to him. Then, he draws nine tiles at random and stands them in front of him, keeping them hidden from his opponent. This tiles make up that player’s starting “hand”. The “first player” is determined by flipping the first player marker. Now, an election card is turned to indicate which type of election will be held and, as a result, which type of building will count in determining the election’s outcome.tyrus

Beginning with the first player, each player, in turn, places ONE of his tiles, facing its owner so that only the owner can see the tile’s value, in ANY of the buildings on the board. When each player has placed three tiles, the results of the first election are calculated.

All tiles played in the two buildings involved in the election (be they Citadels, Markets or Temples) and ONLY these two building are revealed. Their modified values are then determined.

Tile sets are identical for each player. There are three “professions” (think of them as “suits”) with tiles numbered from 1 to 10. The professions are soldiers, merchants and priests. The twist here is that
the effectiveness of the tiles depend on WHERE they are played. Soldiers are effective in winning votes for the Generals. Merchants are effective with the Merchant Guildmasters. Priests exert power in the Temples. However, these tiles can do more than that. They can also BLOCK votes.

Each tile has the power to block an enemy character of another profession. 1 Soldier can block 1 priest. 1 Priest can block 1 merchant. 1 Merchant can block 1 soldier. To block an opposition tile from “voting”, your tile must be placed in your OPPONENT’S city. You can always block an enemy tile by placing tiles in your own city. (For example, you’ve already placed soldier tiles in your city during a General election and your opponent has now placed a tile there. You suspect that the enemy tile may be a merchant to neutralize some of your soldier votes. By placing a priest tile in your city, you can counter the effect of the enemy merchant.)

The player with the most votes wins the corresponding Representative token and places it in the Election Chart in the column of their color. (If the election result is a tie, the token goes in the center column so neither side gets credit.) Now, all face up tiles are discarded and each player randomly picks three more tiles to his hand and gets ready for the next election.

As Don Corleone said in The Godfather, “Keep you friends close and your enemies closer”. The better you know the player sitting across from you, the better you will do in predicting future moves. Place your tiles to misdirect him. Make him believe you’re going all out to win an election but hold back so that he over-commits his limited assets allowing you to rack up victories later on. Use your tiles to neutralize his and protect yours. This bluff/counterbluff seesaw continues until either one player wins three consecutive elections OR one player has won more elections after the ninth election result is determined. (In case of a tie, the player holding the highest combining total value of tiles gets credit for the win.) The ambiance of Tyrus benefits/suffers (choose the word according to your own preferences) from overproduction. The tiles are beautifully done but you’re paying for it with the game’s comparatively high retail price.

Tyrus is simple yet challenging in forcing you to prepare and respond to possible future moves. The essence of the game is to know your enemy – and then act! If misdirection and subtlety rank high on your list of gaming preferences, then Tyrus is the game you’ll elect to play. – – – Herb Levy


Have feedback? We’d love to hear from you.


Summer 2004 GA Report Articles

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy (Eurogames/Descartes Editeur, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 30 minutes; $19.95) In the days of my misspent youth, I would love to play pinball. I'm not talking about the video game simulations of pinball games. I'm talking about those man-sized, garish machines that flashed and clanged and assaulted the senses as a big silver ball bearing careened around bumpers and bounced ...
Read More
Shedding Light in the Dark Continent In the 19th century, Africa was considered a mysterious continent, "dark" and unknown. Africa's mysteries were intriguing for many and many explorers ventured into the uncharted jungles to uncover her secrets. European countries including England and France carved out empires while exploring. "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" was the phrase that made reporter Stanley famous as he tracked down the ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Kosmos, 1-4 players, ages 10 and up, 30-60 minutes; $39.95) People do not always view games the same way and sometimes, gaming "attitudes" do not mesh well. You have your "serious" gamers (who look upon games as intellectual challenges and "serious business"), casual gamers (who play for "fun" with winning purely a secondary consideration) and non-gamers (those unfortunate few who wouldn't ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games; 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $32.95) Rüdigor Dorn, best known for Traders of Genoa and Gargon (Winter 2002 GA REPORT), has outdone himself with his latest offering: Goa. Subtitled "Destination: Spice Islands", Dorn puts players into the roles of Portuguese merchants who must grow their businesses to become the most successfulmerchant of them ...
Read More
Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (Mayfair Games/Kosmos, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, about 30 minutes; $36) I must admit that I wasn’t very enamored by designer Martin Wallace’s early efforts. Games such as Mordred, Sixteen Thirty Something and Der Weisse Lotus didn’t do much for me. Over the past few years, however, I’ve become increasingly appreciative of his efforts, with Libertè, Volldampf, Age of ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Phalanx Games/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, about 90 minutes; $44.95) Maharaja, marketed as Raja in Europe, is the latest game from the design team of Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling who gave us Tikal (Spring 1999 GA REPORT) and Torres (Fall 1999 GA REPORT) to name a few. In this offering, K&K take you to 16th Century ...
Read More
Reviewed by Frank Branham (Days of Wonder; 2 players, ages 8 and up, 30-60 minutes; $49.95) Many years ago, Richard Borg had an idea to create a very unique simple wargaming system called Command and Colors. A few of us very lucky folks got to play the original game for a year or two before Hasbro/Avalon Hill published the civil war game as Battle Cry ...
Read More
PARTY HEARTY! by Herb Levy [Getting together with friends is a great way to spend some time. And a good party game can be the catalyst in making a good time great! What works best can vary from group to group, from eye strain to brain strain to stunts and more. So, here are a few party games for your consideration as we cover a ...
Read More
[In this issue of GA REPORT, we welcome another new voice: Mark Delano. Mark is no stranger to the gaming scene as he tells us in his bio: Descended from a long line of cardplayers, I've been playing games as long as I can remember. Introduced to wargames and rpgs by my older brothers, I went to college an avid player of both. There I ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Clementoni/Überplay, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, about 60 minutes; $39.95) Sunken City, the second game from the Wolfgang Kramer/Michael Kiesling design team to grace this issue, allows players to go treasure hunting in an ancient submerged city while trying to avoid the wrath of Neptune. The large box of Sunken City holds a large game board, 12 plastic buildings (numbered ...
Read More
Reviewed by Larry Levy (Hangman Games, 3-4 players, 3 hours; $29) You would think, with the Internet and the current massive coverage of games, that the days of the sleeper hit would be over. But games are coming from more and more varied places these days, so it's still possible to be caught unawares. Sure enough, at this year's Gathering of Friends, there was a ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Eurogames/Descartes Editeur, 2 players, ages 12 and up, about 30 minutes; $34.95) I have a certain fondness for election games. Tyrus, the new release from Eurogames, combines an election theme concerning two warring factions competing for control of an ancient city with the simple mechanics of "rock-paper-scissors" to create an intriguing game of bluff and counterbluff. Tyrus is the creation of ...
Read More

If you enjoy games, then Gamers Alliance is right for you!