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This is Foundational

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There Will Be Games

    This is core-game. This is foundational. This is learning for young players in a clean, accessible form. Truly elegant exposition, the game's pieces are reminiscent of the golden age of science fiction when concerns of form were more important than function, when art was what drew you into the story. Sputnik is beautiful to look at, a work of art as much as a game.

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    Don't come to the table expecting complex play. This game provides a solid platform, a foundation to teach young players about positioning, about blocking, about mapping and looking ahead to the next move. With no hidden information and the ability to set the board into any one of a million configurations you have the ability to handicap, to test theories, to set up curious scenarios that will bring your young player into the moment and to teach them the next level of gaming -- when the little changes in play produce important changes in the outcome. I play wide-open against my kids telling them that I am pulling no punches whatsoever, and letting them know that any win is theirs to cherish without reservation. On occasion it occurs much to their delight. Coaching is often nothing more than a pause of the hand, or a single word, even a breath, letting them know that there was a better option available, and given the simplicity of the play it is likely in their reach to figure it out on their own and make a change that will let them understand the difference.

    My initial impression of the game was that the directions were insufficient, lacking in clarity and thoroughness. But after a dozen sessions I have come to realize that I would change nothing. A game as open and simple as this needs to give you just a nudge in the right direction. You and, more likely, your children, are well qualified to fill in what remains of the rules, making the game you desire from the beautiful wooden pieces before you.

    Leave this one on the coffee table and watch the children play. A fine use of the money if ever there was one.

             S.

There Will Be Games
John "Sagrilarus" Edwards (He/Him)
Associate Writer

John aka Sagrilarus is an old boardgame player. He has no qualifications to write on the subject, and will issue a stern denial of his articles' contents on short notice if pressed.

Articles by Sagrilarus

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