One of my all time favorite games is TZAAR. I love 2 player games. I love turn-based strategy games. This is the best 2-player, turn-based strategy game I’ve ever played. This game is so simple and elegant that I think it might be THE single favorite game I own. I don’t think I would ever turn down a play of this game.
TZAAR, like other games in the GIPF project, requires balancing power with victory. You generally have to weaken yourself in some way in order to win. In TZAAR, there are three pieces with weird names. Those weird names are unimportant. There are many blank pieces, few 1 dot pieces, and fewer 2 ring pieces. You win when you eliminate all of any one type (what I’d call the 0, 1, or 2) of your opponents pieces. Each player takes turns making one of two actions per turn: (1) attack, (2) stack. You must attack first, and may make a second attack if you’d like. You may not stack as your first action. You cannot move a piece unless it can attack or stack. Stacks of equal height can eliminate other stacks of equal or lesser height during an attack. That’s it. It’s that simple. By stacking a piece, you weaken your playing field, but you strengthen one type of your three pieces (reducing the likelihood of losing that piece to an attack).
The pieces of this game are sturdy, elegant, and wonderfully made. This game gets a 10/10 from me.
Board Game Geek‘s Description:
TZAAR is a game about making choices. Both players have 30 pieces, divided in three types: 6 Tzaars, 9 Tzarras and 15 Totts. The three types of pieces form a trinity: They cannot exist without each other. The aim is either to make the opponent run out of one of the three types of pieces or to put him in a position in which he cannot capture anymore. The tricky question the players will have to ask themselves on each of their turns is: “Shall I make myself stronger or my opponent weaker?” Meaning: Will you capture an opponent’s piece and make him weaker, or will you jump on top of one of your own pieces and make yourself stronger? If you choose to jump on top of your own pieces too often, you will probably leave your opponent with too many pieces on the board. On the other hand, if you capture too often, you may end up with pieces that are not strong enough at the end of the game. What to do? Up to you to decide!