In keeping with the clean and minimal nature of this beautifully balanced bidding game, I will review Gryphon Games’ Yin Yang with a Major Fun koan:
A gamer came to Major Fun and asked, “I have a deck of cards, numbered one to fifty, and many tokens: some white and some black. All players are dealt nine cards. How shall I keep score?”
Major Fun replied, “Mu.”
“Of course,” the enlightened gamer replied. “The player closest to zero shall win. A player with many chips cannot win.”
“Mu,” stated Major Fun.
“I see,” said the gamer. “Gathering pieces is OK because white tokens and black tokens negate each other. A player may collect tokens and still approach zero. Thank you Major Fun.”
But Major Fun shook his head and gave the gamer ten cards. On each card was a white number and a black number. The gamer smiled and bowed low to Major Fun for he was enlightened.
Mumon’s comment: It is only fitting that the highest card played would receive the white number of tokens. The lowest card played must receive the black number of tokens. In this way are the tokens dispersed each round and the No-one declared the winner.
In turn, each player lays down a card
so that the high card takes the white tokens
low card takes the black tokens
white and black cancel each other
Leftenant Fun says: Yin Yang’s simple rules, shifting strategies, and attractive packaging make this one of the best card games on game-store shelves. The mechanic that allows white points and black points to cancel each other out creates dramatic shifts over the course of 9 hands, and each hand is important. This is a huge game packed into a handy little tin.
For 3-5 players, ages 9+
Yin Yang game design Reiner Knizia. © 2011 by Gryphon Games.
All apologies (and deep respect) to those who ponder the zen of The Gateless Gate.