Were you ever a student who sat in geometry class in school and wondered if what the instructor was talking about was something you would ever have the need of in the real world?
Well of course figuring out angles has lots of real life applications including playing board games and no game demonstrates that more than Khet 2.0.
As you might surmise from the trendy 2.0 aspect of the name, this is a relaunch of a game.
Khet: The Laser Game arrived on the scene in 2005, and was while a game is a two-player abstract strategy game, it actually still managed two expansions, Eye of Horus Beam Splitter and Tower of Kadesh in 2006 and 2008 respectively.
Now I suspect Khet isn't a household name in terms of games, partly because abstract strategy games have a smaller audience to begin with, but the fact the original version did warrant expansions speaks to at least some interest.
So now Innovation Toys has released an updated version of the game.
Having never seen the original, I can't comment, but I will say re-launches can ultimately go one of two ways, improving the status of a game because of improvements, or split the game community because people have two different versions.
If I had the original Khet, and its expansion I would not like rush out to buy the new version. However, if a bud was to get interested in the game they'd almost assuredly buy 2.0 and then you are playing two slightly different versions.
In checking out the game's website at www.khet.com the big difference between the original version of Khet and Khet 2.0 is that the lasers which were built into the board are now in a new Sphinx piece for each colour. Players place their Sphinx in their lower right corner, initially with the laser pointed down their right column. Instead of moving a piece, a player can rotate their Sphinx.
Now lasers have been mentioned a couple of times. They are what make the game intriguing, and why you need to recall geometry class.
The game's website explains the game concept well. "It's the game that combines lasers with classic strategy. Players alternate turns moving Egyptian-themed pieces having two, one or no mirrored surfaces. All four types of pieces (pharaoh, anubis, pyramid and scarab) can either move one square forward, back, left, right, or diagonal, or stay in the same square and rotate by a quarter twist. Each turn ends by firing the real laser diode built into each player's Sphinx piece. The laser beam bounces from mirror to mirror; if the beam strikes a non-mirrored surface on any piece, it is immediately removed from play. The ultimate goal is to illuminate your opponent's pharaoh, while shielding yours from harm!"
You need to understand angles and see the potential of pending the laser in multiple ways to be effective at Khet.
The pieces are translucent plastic, nicely done, although the Sphinx doesn't quite match the look.
As long as the lasers last this game could be a favourite for some for years to come.
In general it is a niche game, although abstract strategy fans have to check it out.
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 22, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada