Review: Elementos

I will admit, that I love playing Rock. Paper, Scissors (lizard, Spock, had to add that) as a child and as an adult.  We used that formula to settle any number of disputes and arguments. I think someone would invariably yell: "2 outta 3", if they lost.  We always accommodated them, but I drew that line at "7 outta 8".

Let's just say, I'm OK with that mechanic and move on.

Elementos is a game based on that principle. Fire takes Tree, Water takes Fire, and Tree takes Water. But of course, there's a twist, a Chess twist.  I've said for years that Chess is not a game.  To be defined as a game, in my mind, it has to have some element of luck, Chess has no luck.  I think Chess is better described as an intellectual pursuit.

The goal of Elementos is to move a wand, their name not mine, to your opponents last row of a 9x3 grid.  That's the Checkers or Chess element.  The wand resides in the center of one of your nine tiles.

On any given turn you have 3 options, move a tile, flip a tile or move the wand.  There are some restrictions of course, you can't move backwards, the tile with the wand in it has to only move straight forward, no diagonal movement.

The importance of flipping a tile has to do with the "what takes what" mechanic. If your opponent is going to take your Water tile, if you flip it, it might be Fire on the other side. That's where memorizing what is under what is important.

Thinking about your turn can take awhile, like Chess. You may be wondering where the luck element is, stop looking, there isn't any luck involved. So by my own definition, is this still a game?  Yes.  And I stand on the island of right only because I think its a game due to the fact that the pieces have such limited movement and all pieces follow the same movement rules.

It's a small island I admit.

From the component stand put, I like games that have wood pieces. I have to nit piks thought.  The "wand" is a missed opportunity to do something cool.  I suggest that maybe at some game convention, GenCon comes to mind, they give away a more fancy wand to bring people to the booth.

Also, the Rock-Paper-Scissors mechanic they use is a circle, they have a nice graphic for it in the rule book.  But, the board doesn't have that same art on it anywhere.  What a great way to reenforce a core game rule by placing it somewhere on the board.

One thing I really like, the game board is the box that stores the pieces. Very cool to have it be so portable.  Because of the wood boxing, this game is great at the beach or on a picnic.

Overall rating: B+

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