Uncle Chestnut's Table Gype (UCTG) is one of those games which has a lot of interesting aspects which draw one's interest to the game.
To start with this 2010 release from Eternal Revolution has a tie to literature.
In his Autobiography, G.K. Chesterton, a British author who died in 1936, mentions “the well-known and widespread national game of Gype” which he and H.G. Wells invented. It's the first game with a book tie in -- Jetan by Edgar Rice Burroughs an example previously reviewed here -- but such history always adds to the game mythos.
The details of the game were never actually defined in print, so may not truly have been invented, but it did prove to be the seed for this game some 75-years later.
The game UCTG was designed by Paul and Christopher Nowak, and draws heavily on Chinese checkers and chess. It allows for 2-4 players.
Now Chinese checkers is a fun multi-player game which is a bit overly chaotic with multiple players, but the jump mechanism is interesting, and rather simple to grasp. In UCTG players try to move their pieces from their home row to the row directly opposite, and are allowed to jump their own pieces or those of their opponents.
The difference here is that pieces are six-sided cubes, each face having a different symbol, flame, book, swords, tree, hat and ear. Each of the six symbols gives the piece a different movement, the flame as a chess king, the book as a rook, but limited to one space, swords as a one space bishop, hat as a knight, the ear not able to move etc. A piece can of course move vying jumps within the restriction of their movement pattern.
So players start out placing a standard array in any fashion they desire on their home row with the goal of moving across the board.
It starts out as a straight forward perfect information abstract strategy game, but once you start moving pieces a big element of random chance is mixed into the game. When any piece is jumped, the jumped cube is randomly rolled and replaced on the board with the new face on top.
It adds chance, but still plays nicely, more so with two, than four which simply gets overly crowded and chance heavy.
The game uses wooden cubes in four colours, with the symbols burned into the wood. It gives the game an old, sort of homemade feel. The board is cloth, and it comes with a cloth carrying bag. It all becomes a small, easily transportable package.
The game is garnering some definite acclaim being honoured both by Mensa Select 2011, Mensa Mind Games, and an Honorable Mention, GAMES Magazine's Top 100 Games of 2011, Abstract Strategy.
Check this one out at www.eternalrevolution.com, it's a fine time killer.
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 29, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada