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Ta Yü
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Store:  Strategy Games
Edition:  Ta Yü
Theme:  Oriental
Genre:  Connection
Format:  Board Games, Placement / Tile-Laying Games

Ta Yü

original German edition

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Product Awards:  
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 1999

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 30-45 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Nicolas Neuwahl

Manufacturer(s): Kosmos

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Product Description

Ta Y is a legendary Chinese hero who saved the Realm of the Middle from a flood by creating a multiplicity of channels and diverting the torrent to a distant sea. In this game, the players strive to channel water from their lands by skillful placement of water stones that represent channels for the water. The winner is the player who creates the most effective network of channels connecting both his sides of the board to the distant sea, thus diverting more water from his lands than the other player. The game plays naturally with two or with four as two partnerships. With three, one player takes the role of he torrent, working to keep the others from creating sufficient channels to divert the deluge and save their lands.

Product Awards

Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 1999

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Nicolas Neuwahl

  • Manufacturer(s): Kosmos

  • Artist(s): Claus Stephan

  • Year: 1999

  • Players: 2 - 4

  • Time: 30 - 45 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 1,716 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components are language-independent. An English translation of the rules is provided.


  • 1 game board
  • 112 playing pieces
  • 1 cloth bag
  • rules

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.1 in 8 reviews

Loved this game!
July 05, 1999

Ta Yu is a great game for 2-4 players. I have only played the 2 player version but it's a definite must have! Anyone can learn to play and it's challenging for everyone.

Ta Yu is basically a pipe laying game. You try to match tiles and build current openings from one side of the baord to the other while also trying to slow your opponent down. The different openings on the tiles can lead to puzzle-like challenges for placement.

The Oriental theme to this game leads to the beautiful design and layout of the board and tiles. I just love the aesthetic quality of the game. The tiles have a great 'feel' to them, reminiscent of MahJong tiles with the same kind of clicking.

The ultimate coffee table game?
July 28, 2001

Coffee table games are those few that look really good as a decoration in your living room. Chess sets are the most common of this type, but other games, such as Cathedral and Quarto! make the list as well. Ta Yu may be the greatest of the non-chess games on this list.

The game itself is quite abstract. The players alternate choosing tiles from a stack and placing them on the board, trying to make as many connections as possible between their two sides of the board. While one player tries to connect north and south, the other is just as hard at connecting east and west.

The tiles are thick, heavy, and sumptuous. The board is understated and elegant. While I am not a big fan of abstract games, I do enjoy connection games, and Ta Yu is one of the easiest to learn and hardest to master.

Highly recommended.

Go With The Flow...
July 23, 2001

I really only have a little to add to the previous articulate reviews of Ta Yu.

A little bit has been mentioned about the luck factor of this game. This can be eliminated entirely with a setup that that my partner and I tried. Although it was a little time consuming, before one game we divided all the tiles into two sets, with each of us having the same number of each tile configuration. This effectively made the game 100% (sometimes agonizing) strategy.

Another thing I thought I'd mention was the feeling I had before ordering this game versus the feeling after playing it. After reading the previous reviews, being the sucker that I am for a good tile placement game, I was intrigued. But the illustration shown (from the bottom of the box) certainly didn't look very stimulating visually, and I wondered if the gameplay was proportionately dry. I now know that that picture is a set up that's supposed to represent the beginning of the game. By the end of the game, at least when we play, the board is about 95% full, and is beautiful to behold. It's almost as if you have created an intricate artistic design.

Luckily for me, I decided to bite the bullet and acquire Ta Yu. I realize now that Kosmos could have just as easily (and much more cheaply) made the tiles out of cardboard. And because of this, there is just something about the heft factor of this game that adds a je ne sais quoi to the board that makes the gameplay so satisfying.

One more thing. That representation on the box is not representative of any of the games we have played. Our games tend to be much more--hmmm...what is it?--aggressive, I think, would be the best word. We rarely let each other get such clean shots to score.

I love this game, and with each play, Ta Yu is growing on my partner. My gut feeling is to give Ta Yu 4.5 stars, but I don't feel that it is a 'perfect' game, so I'm going to round it down to 4 stars.

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