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Latice (Preview)

September 18th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

What happens when you combine the likes of “Scrabble” with a colorful game like “Qwirkle”? You end up with something like “Latice”, a family-friendly board game that’s currently seeking your support on Kickstarter.  It supports 2-4 players and ages 6+, with the average play time being about 20 minutes.  To quickly sum it up, your goal will be to play all the tiles from your pool based on color and shape (sort of like “Qwirkle”, but not).  Like “Scrabble”, the board contains special spaces and will fill up as the game progresses.  Before we move on to specifics, I’d like to thank Jim Brikman from Adacio for reaching out and providing me with a prototype for preview purposes.  It’s important to stress that prototypes are not reflective of the final product, making everything you see and read about here subject to change.

 

Latice

Latice: 2-4 Players, Ages 6+, Average Play Time = 20 Minutes

 

My prototype copy included a game board, 16 sunstones, 16 halfstones, 84 tiles, and 4 tile racks. To set up the game, all of the tiles are mixed up face down and each player receives an equal share of them to form their individual pools.  Each player then takes five tiles at random from their pool to place into their rack.  Youngest player goes first.  As mentioned above, the goal of the game is to be the first player to deplete your pool by playing them onto the board.

On a player’s turn, they’ll pick one of the five tiles from their rack and place it onto the board adjacent to an existing tile.  Tiles that touch horizontally or vertically must match in either color or shape.  The first player of the game simply places a tile onto the center moon space. Alternatively, a player may instead exchange tiles from their rack from their available pool (no peeking is allowed).  Finally, a player must pass if they can’t play anything.

Sunstones and halfstones are awarded to players throughout the game as they lay down tiles. Laying a tile onto a space with a sun, for example, earns you a sunstone.  Should you lay a tile down next to two or more tiles, you’ll earn halfstones or sunstones, depending on how many pieces border.  Someone who is lucky (or just really good) can earn themselves two sunstones by forming a “latice”, or placing a tile in such a way that it is surrounded on all four sides (legally, of course).  When turned in, these halfstones and sunstones provide the player with extra turns.  Alternatively, three sunstones can be exchanged for a used/discarded wind tile.

Speaking of which, wind tiles provide unique ways for the board to be shifted in your favor. Essentially, they are used to slide a tile to an adjacent empty space and are then discarded. The player does get to take an extra turn though, meaning that a good wind tile play can set them up for a “double”, trefoil”, or “latice”, earning them some stones.  While this second turn does require the player to observe standard placement rules, the piece moved by the wind token need not follow said rules.

That’s all there is to it, really.  “Latice” is very easy to teach and well-suited for gamers of any age, not to mention colorful and easy on the eyes.  Like “Qwirkle”, this game will encourage players to think ahead so that they can possibly set themselves up for something bigger later on.  My only real concern is that colorblind folks may have an issue…some way to identify the tiles by color other than color (the first letter of the color etched into the corner, etc.) might solve that problem. Any game that encourages a little critical thinking deserves further attention, in my book.

There’s currently a free print-and-play available on the Kickstarter page should you want to try the game out before you pledge.  $35 will net you the game along with some other goodies…go check out the various pledge levels via the link below for more information. I’m told that the finished game will be manufactured by Ludo Fact and will have a “stronger fit and finish”…that is, molded acrylic tiles and racks, rounded translucent acrylic stones, nice cloth tile bags, and a 14” folding board. Judging by how good the prototype looks, I can’t wait to see it.

You can learn more about and support “Latice” by visiting its Kickstarter page, here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1781473360/laticetm-first-edition-board-game?ref=pbok

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