‘Tsuro’ & ‘Tsuro of the Seas’ game reviews
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
In life, we must choose between many different paths. Some are straightforward, while others twist and turn on the way to their destination. Also, there are dragons.
Tsuro (2004) and Tsuro of the Seas (2012) are tile-placement game for two to eight players, designed by Tom McMurchie and published by Calliope Games. Both games are played on a board where players take turns placing tiles with pathways drawn upon them. The players must then follow the path that has been created using a coloured marker. Once a path leads off the board, the player is out. The last player on the board wins the game.
Tsuro of the Seas also adds daikaiju cards, sea monsters that interfere with your journey. They move around the board destroying tiles and eliminating players.
Both versions of Tsuro are very quick games, each lasting only about 15 minutes. I found Tsuro to be simple yet engaging, almost zen-like, as you allow yourself to travel along the path you have chosen. Tsuro of the Seas is much more chaotic, with the daikaiju adding an unpredictable random element to the mix.
Of the two, I much prefer the original. I felt that the complexity of Tsuro of the Seas took away from the eastern philosophy of its source and added a chaos that, though reminiscent of the unpredictable seas, is not necessary. I would recommend either version of Tsuro to someone who’s looking for a more subdued game, as both are quick and simple games that can accommodate a large number of players, and ideal for most social occasions.