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GIPF is a Game
GIPF is a strategic game for two players based on a classic concept: in turns, players introduce one piece into play until achieving four-in-a-row. Players then remove their row and capture any of their opponent's pieces which extend that row. This principle of capturing pieces creates each time again completely changes situations on the board. The purpose is to form successive rows of at least 4 pieces, until the opponent has no piece left to bring into play.
GIPF is a pure and challenging game that combines classic systems with completely new elements. Full of surprises and offering unlimited possibilities, it will appeal to occasional players as well as to fanatic gamers. We dare to hope that whoever starts playing GIPF, will play it for a long time.
GIPF is a Project
GIPF is not only the name of a game, but of a project as well. This project concerns a group of games and extra pieces which will follow step by step.
Each game of the project will be playable either separately, or, by means of the extra pieces, in combination with GIPF. It concerns a system that makes winning or losing GIPF-related games a strategic factor of the game GIPF itself.
The intention behind this project is to create a wide variety of possibilities and a growing number of components, so that players will be able to compose themselves which version of GIPF they would like to play at any given moment.
GIPF is a Story
GIPF takes place before the Big Bang.... There was nothing yet: no time, no space, no matter... absolutely nothing except the potential for what was going to happen. Without this potential, there would have been no Big Bang and nothing, thus, of what we perceive and know at the present time. Players of GIPF represent this potential; the pieces of the winner symbolize the cause of the Big Bang, the beginning of everything--and of the world as it continually comes into existence from that point on.
As you maybe know, enclosed in the TAMSK box are 3 white and 3 black TAMSK-potentials. These are samples. You need a minimum of 3 potentials of each color to get a feeling of how they change a game of GIPF. The GIPF Project Expansion Set #1 contains 12 TAMSK-potentials; 6 potentials per color is the standard number to play with. The kit is meant to give players who like playing with the potentials the possibility to get more potentials without needing to buy a second game of TAMSK. That aside, it is also meant to serve those who want to find out what potentials are all about without needing to purchase TAMSK.
A Simple, Pure and Fun Abstract
The Gipf Series, is a collection of six independent games, all invented by Kris Burm. The games, in the order of their release. are: Gipf, Tamsk, Zertz, Dvonn, Yinsh, and Punct. Note: I read online just the other day, that the Tamsk game will be replaced by a game called "Tzaar". Tamsk will still exist but will no longer be considered part of the Gipf Series. Something tells me I'll be writing about Tzaar, just as soon as I get my hands on a copy.
With the exception of "Tamsk", I own all the games that are part of the Gipf Series. With so many games to choose from, I've finally gotten around to pulling Gipf off the shelf and playing several games.
Every Kris Burm game in the series, seems to have it's own unique little twist, that makes the game interesting. For example, Tamsk uses egg timers as playing pieces and Zertz has a board that gets smaller each turn. In the case of Gipf, playing the tournament version of the game, each player has the choice of the number of Gipf pieces (two single pieces stacked together), they bring into play.
To give anyone a quick and easy sense of what this game is like, just imagine a wheel with spokes running through it. Players, represented by black and white pieces (round discs), take turns pushing a piece into the wheel and onto a spoke, while pushing any other pieces in their way, one spot over. If during the course of pushing a piece into play, a row of four or more of the same colored piece ends up in a row, the person who controls that color, puts those pieces back into their reserve and captures any opponent's pieces that may extend the row. You win automatically when your opponent can't introduce anymore pieces into play, or when you've captured all of your opponent's Gipf Pieces. With all the inter-connected spokes, the wheel becomes a kaleidoscope of black and white pieces, that you try and make sense of. Although there are other rules, covering when more than one four in a row is created and the option of leaving ones own Gipf pieces on the board when putting pieces into reserve, I've already pretty much described the over all feeling of the game.
It's also possible to handicap a player by starting with fewer pieces. One can start with either the Basic game, where Gipf Pieces aren't used, or in the Standard version, where just 3 Gipf Pieces start out in play. It's the Tournament version though that makes the game as good as it is.
With so many possibilities to consider each turn, looking too far ahead becomes difficult, if not impossible. "Gipf" is a game where you are defending your own pieces, while looking for opportunities to capture your opponent's pieces.
People have commented on how plain the board looks compared to the other boards in the series.. That even struck me the first time I opened the box. However after actually playing the game, the gray board actually helps to make the pieces stand out, which is really where your focus needs to be. So in practice, it all works out beautifully.
Perhaps it's not a surprise that Gipf was the first born. A simple board, simple pieces, simple rules and in someway the foundation for what was to follow
"Dvonn", is my personal favorite in the series but most would probably say that "Yinish", is the best of the lot. So it may surprise you to hear that Kris Burm's favorite is "Gipf" and I can understand why. It's probably the most simple and pure game of the lot and yet offers what seems to be an endless variety of situations you'll be forced to deal with during a game. Now that's a balance that few games ever achieve and "Gipf" does it with flying colors.
I have played more games than I can count of Gipf and Zertz (having not yet acquired Dvonn or Tamsk, I can't comment on those two), and they are both of that wonderful breed of strategy game that is easy to learn and difficult to master, which plays quickly and leaves you asking 'One more time?'
The key to winning Gipf seems to come down to one simple principle: WATCH BOTH ENDS OF THE LINE. As lines develop, it is crucial to keep track of what you and your oppenent may be doing at opposite ends of the board, and consider the potential impacts of seemingly unrelated moves.
Players who cannot easily visualize spatial relationships will find this an almost painfully challenging game, as my mother oft pleads.
This is a classic game, and WELL worth adding to any collection.
GIPF is a very good game for several reasons:
1.)It is very easy to understand how to play, you can be playing in about 5 minutes.
2.)GIPF has suprising depth and promises many years of enjoyment.
3.)The game system allows for many variations through the use of 'potentials', though you can play these at your your descretion, the variations are not mandatory or necessary.
4.)The board and playing pieces, while simple and straightforward in design, are very sturdy should last a good long time even with the most extreme game players.
5.)GIPF is absorbing, demanding, simple, complex, subtle, and just plain excellent. Be warned though, it also involves zero luck. The ultimate outcome relies on you as a player.
Others describe the basics of the game so I won't bore you with repetition.
I have all the GIPF series games, and as the game that started it all, GIPF sets a fine precedent.