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The wooden rods mixed are stacked into the large opening of the block. The players take turns attempting to push as many wooden rods out of the block as possible without causing the other rods above to slip. The rods that are successfully removed without disturbing the other rods score points at the end of the game--the thicker rods of course score more, but require greater skill and luck to remove.
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:
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Fire is a ``Jenga-style'' game where a series of rods in three widths are stacked into the center of a wooden frame. On your turn, you try to remove one of the rods without causing the pile to shift, and if successful you keep going. Players score for the rods they removed, and not surprisingly the wider rods are worth more than the thin ones. A simple and not original concept, but it is still fun to play and creates some interesting situations.
These come about principally when it is clear that you cannot remove a rod without shifting the pile. You still must do so, but how the stack is left creates either an easy or difficult situation for the next player, and this requires a little thought. Like Jenga, Bamboleo, or other games of this sort, you often are surprised to find that very unstable structures can survive for quite a while until someone goes for the one piece bearing all the weight. Not bad, but probably not worth the price.
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Step by Step
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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: