Repello is a game of strategic chaos. Chaos in the sense of complex, surprising patterns. Chaos in the sense of the so-called “butterfly effect” in which small changes in initial conditions can lead to startling chain reactions.
And this kind of chaos—this beautiful, fractal, patterned randomness—is Major Fun.
It’s a thinking game so don’t expect the kind of Major Fun that results in hilarity. We often gage the fun of a game by the laughter elicited. Repello must be judged more by the appreciative “ooooo” sound. There’s a lot to ooo and aaah about.
Let’s start with the stack. Each player has a stack of repellers: round black chips with a hole in the center. The number in your stack is determined by the number of players (10 for a 4 player game). These are held in place by a rod that sticks through the center holes. The Stack is designed so that when you press down on the stack of repellers, one (and only one) is left behind. This device is very clever.
Each player places their stack on the board (a 13 x 13 grid of numbers) on one of the designated squares. A gold repeller sits in the middle of the board and 8 other repellers are spaced close to the edge. On your turn, you move and leave behind one repeller from your stack. The goal is to knock the most repellers off the board. The gold repeller is worth 5, the silver ones are worth 3, and the black ones are worth 1.
As their name implies, repellers REPEL all other pieces. At the end of a player’s turn, no pieces may remain adjacent to each other. This is how you knock repellers off the board. When you leave behind a repeller, your stack has to move. If it ends its move next to a repeller then either the repeller or your stack has to move away one space. The more repeller disks on the board, the more chances exist for you to push some off with your chain reactions. Oooooo. Aaaaah.
Moving the pieces around is incredibly engrossing. As you play you notice how certain patterns set up multiple reactions and you work to position yourself so that you can create opportunities for yourself and take them away from your opponents. Controlling the center is important and so is patience.
The game ends when each player is out of repellers on his or her stack. Count up your points, analyze your best moves and greatest mistakes, restack, and replay. The rules are clear and short. It certainly helps to play a few moves to see how everything works, but once you have the rules down, you won’t need them again.
Definitely a Major Fun strategy game.
For 2-4 players, ages 8+
Repello concept by Arne Holmstrom. Design and development by Mindtwister.