In the quest to get from point A to Point B, the individual must contend with two transformations: the wanderer must move and the path will change. In many board games, this second truth is neglected in favor of wanderer’s transformation. The board remains static and players manipulate the pieces in order to reach some final destination.
But a little difficult to describe.
You and your opponent have 4 colored gems (red and blue). The object is to move the four gems from your home tile to your opponent’s home tile. In addition to the 2 home tiles, the game board consists of 8 tiles arranged in a square (imagine a 3×3 grid with the middle tile missing). Each tile is divided into 4 spaces and most tiles contain at least one wall. Walls can block edges of the tile or divide the spaces from each other.
On your turn, you take a total of three actions. You may do any combination of the following: move a gem one space, rotate a tile 90 degrees, or slide a tile into an empty space. Gems cannot move through walls so rotating and moving tiles is often the best way to get your pieces into position. Or mess with your opponent. And as I have said in many other reviews, messing with your opponent is always fun.
The game rules are wonderfully illustrated. In the time it took you to read this review you would have already been well into your first game. There are 27 tiles, each with slightly different wall configurations so each game is different. MindWare also suggests adding more tiles to the starting grid—yet another way in which the path can change.
I would love to see a version for more than 2 players, but as it stands, Mine Shift is a clever, engaging, and surprising strategy game. Excellent pieces, clear rules, and Major Fun.
For 2 players, ages 8+
Mine Shift game design by John A. Forte. © 2011 by MindWare.