Oshi: The Game of Influence
List Price: $24.99
Your Price: $21.95
(Worth 2,195 Funagain Points!)
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Oshi, which means "Push", is inspired by a Japanese legend in which the Goddess Amaterasu gifted the first Japanese emperor with her ancient wisdom, in the form of a game. The game is said to have taught the emperor and his court to temper their influence and power with caution.
The goal is to be the first player to push seven points' worth of your opponent's game pieces off the board. Each player begins the game with eight game pieces shaped to look like one-, two- and three-story Japanese buildings. The number of stories a piece has equals the number of spaces it can move, the maximum number of other pieces it can push and the number of points it is worth if pushed off the board. Pieces move side to side and forward and backward.
The box reads:
OSHI - THE GAME OF INFLUENCE
It's a beautiful name and a perfect way to describe this perfect little game.
From the time you first pick up the box, you'll know this will be a difficult game not to like. The nice sized square box, the game comes in, is covered with beautiful artwork that looks like something you might see in a dream. Two characters seem to float in the air among the clouds, while looking upon an OSHI Board, with the pieces already in battle. Once you open the box, you'll be treated to the instruction insert. It's like a restaurant menu, that opens in the center, with a left and right leaf that you pull up and out to read. Beneath that, you'll find the nice solid wooden board (9 x 9), with tiny little marks on the squares where the pieces will be set up.
Each side has 8 pieces that look like little replicates of buildings you might see in Japan. One set of buildings is colored deep red and the other ivory. Each side will play with 4 one story buildings, 2 two story buildings and 2 three story buildings. Once the pieces are set-up on the board, you'll find yourself looking at it awhile, just to admire how beautiful this game really is.
The goal of the game is to be the first player to push "7" points worth of your opponent's buildings off the board.
As you might expect at this point, the rules couldn't be simpler or easier. A three story building is worth 3 points, a 2 story = 2 points and a 1 story = 1 point. The height of each building also lets you know how many other buildings that piece can push (both yours and or your opponents) as well as up to how many spaces the piece may move. Pieces may move left, right, up or down, but not diagonally.
THOUGHTS ON THE GAME:
It's so rare to find a game that's not only nice to look at but one that also allows you to play it as a simple game or one that's much more complex. No matter what your level of skill, you can find a interesting and fun challenge here. This is just one of those games that you wish publishers would come out with much more often.. No matter how long you own this game, I have to imagine you'll be pulling it off the shelf to play over and over again.
Oshi is a game that is quick to be able to be learned, intricate as a game of chess, difficult to truly master, and a snap to play in (frequently) very little time. The game can be taught in little more then five minutes, and each game is typically no longer then twenty minutes. Fun for both children and adults, as the rules are simple to remember. Overall a great game and an excellent investment!
I have a particular fondness for abstract strategy games, but most of the better such games are OLD. There just aren't many contemporary examples of the form, and fewer still that are actually worthwhile.
Oshi is a superb exception to that rule. Like all great abstract strategy games, the rules and mechanics are very simple – but their application is a wide-open territory, inviting exploration and analysis. Oshi has all the dignity of an ancient game like Chess or Go, wrapped up in a beautiful (but gracefully restrained) Japanese theme. This game is a Classic in the making.
(One minor linguistic Note: "Oshi" is indeed Japanese for "push," but it should perhaps be pointed out that it is the NOUN "push" – not the verb, which is "oshitsukeru.")