Gaming 116

Published on March 6th, 2006 | by Greg


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.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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