If you’ve ever read the fantasy book series The Kingkiller Chronicles, you’ve probably heard about the fantastic abstract board game Tak. While this game was not yet in existence when the author first wrote about it, it has since been turned into a popular and beautifully intricate board game that stands up to its initial conception. Tak uses stunningly carved wooden pieces and a 5×5 grid board to see who can outsmart the other player and be the first to build their road to the other side.
Born From the Kingkiller Chronicles
The concept for Tak was first created by author Pat Rothfuss in his book “The Wise Man’s Fear”, which was the first in The Kingkiller Chronicles series. In the book, the game of Tak is described as being the best sort of board game due to the fact that it’s simple in its rules, but complex in its strategy. This is certainly true in the real-life version of Tak, which was created in 2017 by James Ernest.
Ernest took the game as described in the book and created a beautiful and complex board game with minimal rules and two conditions of victory. Players will lay down pieces on a board in an effort to build a road connecting the two edges of the board. However, if no player successfully builds a road by the time they run out of pieces, then the player who controls the most spaces wins the game.
Building a Road
In order to build your road, you’ll play your pieces into empty spaces or move them around the board. You can place pieces flat to act as a part of your road, or you can place them on their sides to act as a wall. Wall pieces will not count towards your road, but they do allow you to block your opponent from moving their pieces around.
By laying down multiple flat pieces on top of each other, you can create what’s called a stack. Whoever has the piece on top is the person who gets to count that stack towards their road. However, players have the option of placing what’s called a Capstone on top of the stack, which keeps the other player from stacking any more pieces on top of it and claims it for yourself.
Breaking Down a Stack
One powerful move you have in the game is to break a stack down, which allows you to move the pieces across the board and leave them behind one by one. This can help you take control of several spaces at once, foiling your opponent’s plans and moving you one step forward towards building your road.
The Capstone pieces also have another unique ability in that you can use them to flatten a wall. Once you or your opponent have placed a wall on the board, you cannot flatten it without a Capstone. Each player only gets one Capstone in the whole game, so be sure to use it wisely!
One of the best parts of the board game Tak is that you can play it without the board to switch up the gameplay a bit. By drawing your own grid on a sheet of paper, you can play on boards as big as 8×8 or as small as 3×3 to make the game even easier or more complex.
Tak: A Board Game From The Pages of Fantasy
Tak is a 2-person game, so it’s perfect for couples or one-on-one game nights. The board game is suitable for ages 12 and up, as it is very easy to learn and complex enough to entertain adults. Playing time lasts around 20 minutes to an hour, which makes it a good game to play on weeknights or lazy Saturday mornings.
Tak is brought to life with the aesthetics of the beautifully carved pieces and shiny wooden game board. The tactical element of the game is enhanced by the fact that you can actually visualize the road you’re building materialize right in front of you. It’s not quite as complex as abstract strategy games like chess, but it offers enough opportunity for strategy to engage even the most advanced players.
Buy Tak today and enjoy the beautiful simplicity of this cutthroat board game!