original German edition
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from 8 customer reviews
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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.
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.
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.
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.
This is an abstract game with a whisper of theme. The game is about linking opposite sides of a square using tiles, with one player playing one set of sides and the other the perpendicular set. Each connection on a side scores a point, with an additional point for linking three specific points. The final score for each player is the product of the scores on the opposite each side.
The tiles themselves are chunky heavy plastic, somewhat like Mah Jong tiles but shaped in a 3 x 1 rectangle and with the bamboo base. On the face of each tile is a river shape, which joins two or three sides of the tile. The tiles are first placed in a large block, again somewhat like Mah Jong and drawn one at a time from the block. Tiles are placed on the board, initially from the centre and then in any legal way that connects up the existing route. So when a tile can fit in the space, all routes that it portrays must either connect up to the existing routes or vacant squares.
The effect is to have a water system that looks like a several deltas all linked. The theme may not be there but there is plenty of game play. A quarter of the tiles have a symbol on their back to show that they link up three sides of waterway. I'm not sure how useful this is after only a few games, but since the alternative is to link up two sides, it does provide some minor selection options. However, since you can only draw from a choice of two tiles in the block of tiles, this is of limited use.
The games I have played so far are fairly fast and all over in 30 minutes. Scores have varied quite a lot. In one game I scored over 100 points, getting 11 points on one side and 10 on the other. Players can play destructively, usually when one of your opponent's sides is close to linking with one of the bonus point areas and this can limit the scores.
The presentation is good, reminding you of the Kosmos days BS (Before Siedler) rather than recent designs, and I have a feeling that it comes from that school rather than the late nineties. The only criticism of the production is the blue ink which may not be permanent on the tiles, so collectors beware. Nonetheless, this is a solid game -- in many ways -- the heft factor is 8 on the Richter scale -- and it will suit abstract strategy players. It is a pleasing way to pass the time, but not one to get your heart pumping.