Published on March 6th, 2006 | by Greg0
Odd Names, Good Games
Maybe a single strategy game isn’t long or complicated enough for you. Maybe you are one of those people who has a deep-seated need for strange names. Either way, we recommend trying out the GIPF series of games, whose central idea is that you can change the “potentials” of any piece by playing one of the other games in the series. There are six games total, and you can see how this type of gameplay might cycle into infinity.
Luckily for those with finite time and patience, each game can be played on it’s own. Today, we’ll be looking at PUNCT, and the central game GIPF. As with any two-player abstract strategy board game, these are fairly simple to learn and very difficult to master- both games are more difficult than checkers, maybe at a 12 year old’s level instead of the box-suggested 9.
First, PUNCT is a self-described “game of connection”, where your goal is to link two opposite sides of a hexagram board by placing pieces of varying shapes. You can block your opponent’s attempts with your own pieces, and jump over a blocked connection by rotating your pieces.
The central game, GIPF, is a “connect four” pieces game, played on a multi-intersection board, with a few twists. First, if any set of four pieces is connected, they are removed and returned to their player… and any opponent’s pieces that were touching them and removed from the game. In this way, the number of available pieces dwindles, and the game is over when either player cannot bring any more pieces into play.
Both games are available in the United States from Rio Grande Games, and are around $30 each. Sets of potentials which can change the gameplay are available for around $12 each. GIPF and PUNCT are both interesting, intriguing games- but they tend to be a little frustrating for novice players as it can be difficult to put any particular plan into action. Nonetheless, even without the overarching theme, they are great concepts that are worth playing.