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Average Rating: 5 in 1 review
There's no mistaking that this is an abstract game with a grafted-on theme of modern painters attempting to cover a canvas with various colors. Hmmm.
Anyway, the board is essentially a huge piece of graph paper. The pieces are cardboard cutouts which, when placed on the board, will exactly cover squares of the graph (e.g. 'L' shapes, large boxes, 'Utah' shapes, Stealth bombers, etc.). The idea is to place all the pieces on the board following a rigid set of rules such that, in the end, groups of colors matching your agenda appear on the board.
For example, let's say you have an agenda stating that a clump of 4 yellow pieces should exist somewhere on the board at game end (don't worry about how you got this agenda). If, at the end, there are exactly four yellow pieces contiguously touching each other on the board (regardless of the graph area covered by the pieces), you'll score for fulfilling your agenda. In all, you'll end up with five such agendas, each of varying importance for scoring purposes.
So how do you accomplish the agenda(s)? Well, each turn you must do something with one of your pieces. Either throw one away, or place one on the board. To place it, you must place it such that it's either touching no other piece(s) or such that one edge is connected to another piece of the same color. Simple enough. But what happens when you've got a nice little section matching your agenda and some opponent adds to it, disrupting your plans?
That's when the red chips come into play. Each player is given 10 such chips to start the game, and at any time during his turn, he may cash in one or more to 'slide' pieces around. To slide a piece, you do just that. Pay a chip and begin sliding it without altering its orientation at all and without disrupting other pieces until it is repositioned somewhere else on the board. By the way, when you finish sliding it, it must be connected to another piece matching its color.
So, those are the two things you can do to the board on your turn--you must place or discard, and you may slide pieces around. The only other action is that, five times during the game, you may pick up a few agenda tiles (the victory mechanism mentioned earlier), look them over, and select one as a keeper.
All in all, it's a cerebral game which allows for just the right amount of puzzle-solving and sticking it to your neighbor.