Menu

Gyges

Reviewed by Herb Levy

(Gigamic distributed by Back Alley Traders, 2 players, ages 8 to adult, 10-20 minutes; $30)

 

gyges1Back in 1985, Claude Leroy (for Swiss Games) came up with an idea for a rather clever abstract game and clever it was. Still, despite its originality, the game soon vanished from gaming stores making it hard to find. But Gigamic has solved that problem and returned the game to the marketplace with a new look to appeal to the current gaming audience. The game? Gyges.

Gyges consists of a wooden board with a play area consisting of a six by six grid with a “goal” at either end. In addition, there are two identical sets of six wooden pieces: 2 each of triples, doubles and singles. Each player takes a set of pieces and places them, one by one, anyplace on their starting line (that is, the line of the board closest to them). The idea is to get one of YOUR pieces into the goal of your opponent. But the pieces that are yours can and will change for what makes this game different is that you do not have your own set of pieces. Rather, you can only move pieces that are the CLOSEST to you (and that means, farthest from your goal). That’s where the movement abilities of the pieces come into play.

Pieces are moved based on their size (a single piece moves one space, a double two spaces, a triple three spaces). A piece may move forward, backward and sideways but NEVER diagonally. It may change direction during a move but must ALWAYS move the FULL number of spaces. A piece may only move over empty spaces. Occupied spaces may not be crossed or jumped over. Should a piece end its move and land on another piece, that piece moves again – but this time, the amount of spaces that piece can move is determined by the number of the piece it has landed upon. (So, for example, should a double piece end its legal move on a triple, it can move again a total of THREE – not two – spaces!) This is an amazingly effective way to cross the board and barrel into the goal if an unwary opponent fails to spot a potential winning path. (Advanced rules allows a piece to move as in the standard game OR REPOSITION the landed on piece to an unoccupied space on the board. This does raise the challenge level of the game but we find the basic rules to be quite satisfactory.)

Goals can be reached from ANY space on the final bordering row of the game board. The first player to manage to land a piece onto the opposite goal (and that means land on the final space by an exact count – no jumping over it) wins!

Gyges is a surprisingly addictive abstract. It looks good (as to be expected with games from the Gigamic line) using wood to good advantage. As with most exceptional abstract games (and themed games too, for that matter), rules are simple. (Don’t let the size of the rulebook fool you. The rules are given in no less than 24 languages! The actual entire rules set takes up only two pages! ) Yet tactical options abound. Looking to create a “chain reaction” to catapult your farthest pieces from the goal to “close and personal” positions is the key to victory and that challenge will keep you on your toes. But you need to think defensively too. Make a faulty play and you will pay for it. Still, Gyges plays quickly (10 to 20 minutes is an accurate appraisal) allowing you to try it again and again. And you will.

 


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


Fall 2011 GA Report Articles

 

Reviewed by Frank Hamrick (Treefrog/Mayfair Games, 2 players, ages 12 to adult, 60-90 minutes; $55) Two hundred and fifty years after Voltaire said it, it became a game! The British and French struggled for control of North America from the early 1700s until the final battle of Quebec in 1760. That final battle ended the long French and Indian War and led to Voltaire's supposed ...
Read More
Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Lo Scarabeo, 3-5 players, ages 10 to adult, 45 minutes; $59.99) Arcanum, from Lo Scarabeo, is the new game from Andrea Chiavesio and Pierluca Zizzi, released in Essen 2011. I really like Andrea's designs starting from Kingsburg, one of the greatest dice games ever (and featured in the Spring 2008 Gamers Alliance Report), down to last year's release Olympus. This ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Alea/Ravensburger, 2-4 players, ages 9 to adult, about 60 minutes; $34.95) One of the most romantic eras in human history is the Age of Knights and Chivalry. Novels and films abound that are set in that time. Games have also found this time to be a fertile area to explore as knighthood has served as the theme for many of them ...
Read More
Baseball on the Table-top - Part IV Games of the 1980's and 90's by K-ban If the 70’s were the time for table-top baseball game designers to explore, in new and different ways, the confrontation between pitcher and batter (see Part #3 of this series in the Spring 2011 GA Report), the next generation of statistical baseball games to hit the market sought to add ...
Read More
Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro, 2 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 120 minutes; $65) One of the popular games of my childhood back in the 70's was the game Battleship where you and your opponent placed ships on hidden grids and then took turns calling out row and column coordinates to try to find and sink the enemy's hidden ships ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Gamewright Games, 2 teams or players, ages 8 to adult, 15 minutes; $19.99) When you have two successful games, it seems inevitable that someone will think "why not combine them?" The two games in question are the vintage game of Cathedral (whose spin-off Cathedral World was reviewed in the Spring 2004 GA Report) and the relatively recent and very successful FITS ...
Read More
Betty Grable, Legs and Feet Betty Grable had legs - and man, what legs! For those of you who may not recognize the name, the lovely Betty was Queen of the Pin-ups during World War II. Her image in that famous photo (reproduced here) decorated hundreds (thousands? hundreds of thousands?) of soldiers' barracks as well as the fuselages of their fighter planes. If lonely and ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Gigamic distributed by Back Alley Traders, 2 players, ages 8 to adult, 10-20 minutes; $30) Back in 1985, Claude Leroy (for Swiss Games) came up with an idea for a rather clever abstract game and clever it was. Still, despite its originality, the game soon vanished from gaming stores making it hard to find. But Gigamic has solved that problem and returned ...
Read More
Reviewed by Ted Cheatham (Queen Games, 2-5 players, ages 8 to adult, 45-60 minutes; $54.95) Ugh, must go to hunt Mammut. Me big cave man! And that leads us to the premise of the game of Mammut, designed by Kristian Amundsen Ostby. In Mammut, cave people are off to hunt for mammoths and forage. After the big day, there are all kinds of booty that ...
Read More
Reviewed by Pevans (Ystari/Rio Grande Games, 3-5 players, ages 13 to adult, 75+ minutes; $54.95) Ye gods! French publisher Ystari has a fine track record and Olympos is the latest addition to the line (Rio Grande is publishing the English language version). The game’s designer is well known, too: Philippe Keyaerts is the man behind Vinci (and thus Small World) and Evo. As soon as ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Columbia Games, 2-6 players, ages 8 to adult, 30-60 minutes; $24.99) If this game seems familiar, that shouldn't be too surprising as it has had a long history. Slapshot is credited to Tom Dalgliesh and Lance Gutteridge. Dalgliesh may be best known for his wargame designing efforts for Columbia Games collaborating on such games as Hammer of the Scots (Winter 2003 GA ...
Read More
THE GAMER'S BOOKSHELF: THE KOBOLD GUIDE TO BOARD GAME DESIGN by Mike Selinker (Kobold Quarterly/Open Design, 138 pages, $19.99 print/$9.99 pdf) It seems like everyone who has ever played a game thinks to themselves, "Hey, I can make a game too!". Well maybe you can and maybe you can't. But it's always good to draw some insight and inspiration from those who actually have had ...
Read More
Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (What's Your Game?, 2-4 players, ages 12 to adult, 2 to 3 hours; $65.99) For years, the subject of wine-making was a sorely overlooked theme in the gaming industry. There have been a few games utilizing the theme but, for such a popular and intricate industry, the overlooking of this theme was baffling. This was corrected in a major way ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Gryphon Games, 2 players, ages 10 to adult, 45-60 minutes; $29.99) Several decades ago, in the early 1970s, game designer Phil Orbanes decided to start his own game company. The result was Gamut of Games. Although a relatively short-lived enterprise, the company published many games of note including Cartel and Infinity (both by Orbanes) and two word games - Montage and ...
Read More

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