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Two players face one another and stack various colored cubes in the hollow of a large wooden head. Each player must try to form the largest single-color brain sections on his side of the head. Beautiful and clever, this is one of our favorite 2-player games.
Theta is a German company that makes big games with nice wooden components. Their price matches the quality, as each of their games will set you back about $50. Most of the games fall into the "dexterity" category, and they claim that you'll only unbox the game once since they look so good out of the box. They do look good, but if you display them it will probably be because the boxes do not fit well on normal sized bookshelves. Some of the games are excellent, while others look better than they play. For the uninitiated, here is a review of the Theta games:
This is a great two-player game that has a small dexterity component but is basically an abstract strategy contest. A large profile of a head, with a hollow center, sits between the two players and they take turns pulling and placing two-square blocks blindly. The head's width is exactly two squares, so the piece can fit lengthwise with one face on each side of the head, or it can be placed solely on your side so that you get the benefit of both squares. Each block is painted one of four colors, and by careful placement you try to create large contiguous areas of one color on your side while stopping your opponent from doing the same. You can't look at the head from their side, but you can often know with good certainty what their side looks like if you pay attention.
The dexterity piece, and it is quite small, comes from that fact that you can place a piece anywhere in the head profile as long as it will stay where you put it. Thus, you can try to balance one side of block on only one side of its support piece to fit your pattern. When the head is filled, you score the square of the areas you've created with penalties for single open holes (possible because of how your opponent played their pieces.)
The game plays very well, looks good, and should be a consideration for every two-player gamer's library.
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Step by Step
[page 07808#001555]jump to Step by Step review
A Quick Summary
The eight games in the Theta collection share the common features of quality wooden components, big boxes, great aesthetics, focus on physics, and high prices. Here is a buyers guide for those interested. The number in parenthesis refers to the "dexterity/strategy" mix, with 1 meaning only dexterity and 10 meaning only strategy: