Jishaku

Jishaku is at least as much a toy as it is a game. At least. It is fun to play. It is even more fun to play with.

It’s those 18, lovely, polished, irregularly-shaped, powerfully magnetic hematite pieces – in a velveteen drawstring bag, no less. And then there’s that appropriately cushy yet egg-carton-looking-and-feeling piece of foam to try to put them into. They invite curiosity. Just putting the pieces into their foamy homes, watching them almost evilly turn towards the piece you’re hoping to place near them. Watching what happens when you turn your piece over. Getting shocked into laughter at the almost electric sound of the pieces suddenly coming together, just when, of course, you didn’t expect them to move, or be so numerous in their sudden commingling.

The designers give you three different games to play. We played them. We laughed, and then a few minutes later we had kind of enough. We played. We figured out. We played again. And then we went to the next, and then to the one after that.

Mjajor Fun AwardAnd when we ran out of games and laughter, we made up our own.

And therein, apparently, lies the Major FUN-nitude of Jishaku. It’s a game that is such a fun thing to play with that you can’t really judge it by any set of rules – something fun (a game, a toy to make up games for) that you can┬áplay by yourself. You can play in teams. You can play a round in 5 minutes or less. You can play with the board and pieces for hours.

The game is recommended for players 14 and older. Not that your 2-year-old wouldn’t have fun with this. But rather that she might decide to put them in her mouth. And swallow one. Which isn’t so bad. And then swallow another one. Which is lethal.

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