Rumis

Rumis is a genuinely deep strategy game for 2-4 players brought to you by Educational Insights. “Educational Insights,” you probably ask, in potentially reverse discrimination, “how could an educational game, recommended for kids first grade and older, be of any interest to my mature self?” (A painfully parallel question to teachers who voice similar concerns about games like Apples to Apples and Ten Days in the USA). Perhaps it will somewhat clarify issues when you take into account that these are the same people who brought us the very Major FUN-award winning Blokus.

Though the game can be played by 2-4 players, it works best with 4. Each player uses a set of 11 3-dimensional blocks. There’s one shape made of two cubes, two shapes out of 3 cubes, and the remaining shapes are each permutations of 4 cubes. Players alternate turns laying setting blocks on the board (you can use any of 4 different boards), the rule being that, after the first round, each piece (called “stone”) must be placed so that it touches at least one face of any stone of your color that you already played. You do have to stay within the perimeter of the board, and you can’t stack stones above the height limitation (which differs, depending on which board you use.

The base is a turntable, which becomes increasingly appreciated as more and more pieces are placed, and the configuration becomes more complicated. When the game ends, you look at the structure from top down, scoring a point for every face of your color that you can see.

The concept is strategically deep enough to keep even veteran gamers challenged throughout the game. At the Tasting, we had two different teams of players who wanted to try it, and each team wanted to play it again and again with different boards. The only complaint was that maybe a little too much dexterity is required for precise piece placement. This could have something to do with the age of the players and the amount of coffee consumed.

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