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Average Rating: 2.5 in 1 review
Well not until this game becomes available again you can't. However if it does become available again, pick it up. It's a decent, very playable game for 2 to 4 players. As the number of players decreases the number of pawns per player increases. Meaning that each player gets more or less pawns depending on the total number of players.
There are 4 sextagonal game boards (levels) each with a number of holes ("Survival Spots") in them. The bottom most having only 1 hole in it's center (the Inner Circle). Players assemble the game board first by placing the levels on 1 at a time. After setting up the playing surface, select a player to go first. Each player in turn places 1 pawn on the outer edge of the top board until all outer spots are occupied. On each space on the board is a number of "pips" or dots. These indicate how many spaces you may move a pawn. BUT! You must try and remember what number of pips you have under each pawn, you ARE NOT allowed to peek. After you select a pawn pick it up and move it the indicated number of pips, no more, no less.
Your goal is trying to reach one of the very limited survival spots on each level. You can only move forward, and turn left or right, you may not go backwards, or visit a space twice in the same turn. You must use all your pawns movement, and you must land on the survival spots by exact count. Once there your pawn is safe, and will be available on the next level after the current level is completed. Once all the survival spots on a given level are filled that board is removed (carefully so as not to upset the pawns on the next lower level). All the pawns that made it to this level are now available for further play. All the pawns that were lifted up by the removal of the last level are out of the game. If none of your pawns survived to the next level, you have been eliminated from the game. Play continues in this fashion until the 4th and final level. Players can be eliminated before reaching this level so it is imperative that you reach a survival spot (or 2) on every level. Also on game levels 1, 2 and 3 there is one blank spot (no pips) in the center of these levels. These essentially act like a wild card spot. If you land a pawn by exact count here you may then immediately move that pawn again (from 1 to 4 spaces, whichever is best for you) which can either put your pawn in, or very near a survival spot setting it up for another turn. A very handy spot to be in.
The game sounds complicated but it's not, it will take you 1 game to figure it out, 2 games to hone your strategy and you'll spend a lifetime playing it. I do not recommend it for camping or hiking, but it does travel well, and is compact. Good for vacations, not for camping, or venture hiking, but good and small enough for a day hike, or picnic. There are lots of little pieces to loose. The one drawback is, that for 2 players (9 pawns each) there are only 2 choices of pawns (red or green). When 3 players are playing there are only 3 colors of pawns to choose from, 6 pawns each in, red, green or blue. The fourth color is yellow, when 4 are playing each gets 4 pawns. Another drawback is that the gameboards are only printed on one side. If each of the 4 boards were double-sided it would increase the modularity of the game levels. Inner Circle comes with: 1 Plastic game base/pawn storage unit, 4 6-sided game levels, 9 Red pawns, 9 Green pawns, 6 Blue pawns, 4 yellow pawns, 1 Box and instructions printed on box lid (don't loose the lid!).
Inner Circle was well worth whatever I paid for it. I've had it since the early 80s and I've always enjoyed the game. It's been with me to 2 colleges from Connecticut to Georgia, and back to Maryland, and haven't lost a piece yet! Like I said the game does travel well, but just not well enough to take on an extended camping trip.