(Art Piece)

Review by Emanuel Soeding (esoeding@geomar.de).

I tried the new game Kunststücke from Moskito last Monday. Since some of you may be interested about how it works, I'll give you a short description.

The game consists of a gameboard, squared and divided into 18 x 18 square spaces. The game also has tiles in five colors which cover 5 to 8 squares in irregular shapes. They reminded me of Tetris tiles but larger. Then there are some red movement chips, a few score chits and a small score board for each player labeled +15 +10 +10 +7 +5.

Each player gets a score board, the score chits are piled up in 5 piles. Each player draws a certain number of tiles of all colors (depending on how many players participate) and some movement chips.

The game is very easy. On you turn you

a) may expend a movement chip to move a tile on the board You may not turn the tile, you may not move it of the board and you may not move other tiles allready on the board without expending a chip but you may move it as far as you want. If the tile had contact to another tile of the same color before it was moved, it has to have contact to another or the same tile after it was moved again, but not during its move. b) may take a look at one of the score chit piles and take a chit (you have to if you looked at the pile) and place it on your score board.

c) have to place a new tile if you can, otherwise put one tile into the box out of the game. If you place a tile, it either has to have contact to another tile of the same color, or has to be placed so, that is doesn't have contact to any other tile on the board.

You can perform these actions in any order, and even perform action a) as long as you have chips to expend. So moving a tile (action a), taking a score chit (action b), placing a tile (action c) and moving a tile again (action a) expending another movement chip is possible.

The game ends, when the players placed their last tile. How does one win? The score chits are colored and numbered. The aim is to form figures with the right number of tiles of a certain color. If you have the green 5 for example, you score, if there exists a green area made up of five tiles on the board at the end of the game. If you think it is very likely that the constellation on the scorechit will happen, you place it on the +15 space on the score pad, if you think its not too likely, you place it on the +5 space. If it was correct, you add the number on the score pad plus the number on the chit. Remember that you have to take a chit out of a pile, if you decided to take a look at it.

The game is a very good mixture of strategic thinking, guessing how to score, a good view about how to place certain tiles and simply luck about what kind of score chits you find in the piles at the beginning. In our first game we found, that the higher chits are easier to fulfill, but I think if one becomes more experienced this may change. In fact its quite easy to produce small figures in the end-game, if there is enough space to move. This all would make a very good game, but -as you see, the game is very abstract. There is absolutely no story. This causes the game to be a bit dry. It reminded me a bit of some of the abstract games of the 70s, which were very good games, but due to the lack of a story, catched dust in the "abstract and purely strategic games" corner. I guess the same will happen to Kunststücke too, allthough the game has a great potential, and is a really good mixture of several elements of play. Or do you sit down at the game table and say "let's play this strange game of moving tiles" if you could say "let's do autoracing/ warfare/ auctioning/ exploration"? I usually don't.

However, if you like good abstract games, Kunststücke is for sure very interesting for you, I doubt that it will spread very far, allthough I think its a very good game.

Ciao Manu

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Ken Tidwell