This week we look at Avverso from Gerhards Spiel und Design.
To begin, any game from Gerhards is heirloom quality. There probably is not a game publisher out there that makes games at as high a level of quality as this one.
So when you get one of Gerhards offerings you will be blown away by what you find in the box.
In the case of Avverso you get a think, nicely detailed board with 25 hexagons, each deeply etched into the wood.
The board is non-symmetric, and the shape balances the disadvantage of starting, meaning one player has a slightly shorter distance to achieve their goal.
In this case each player is trying to connect opposite sides of the game board with a chain of stones in their color.
Yes this 2008-designed game by Henrik Morast most certainly has its roots stemming from Hex, a side connection game released in 1942 and the inspiration of many games since.
In the Gerhards edition the pieces too are wood, one red and the other white. One player is assigned 13 white and the other gets 12 red ones.
It is in the playing of these pieces where Avverso has its most interesting aspect.
When you add a piece to the board, you add one's of your opponent's colour, not your own.
On a turn, you slide one of the opponent's stones into one of the outer hexagons of the board. Fans of abstract strategy games will recognize the addition to the out perimetre as a rule used in games such as Gipf. The first in Kris Burm's amazing series of games by the same name. Gipf was released in 1997.
When adding you may push an existing piece on the hexagon, setting off a chain reaction pushing additional pieces in the same line. However, you are not allowed to push a piece off the board.
Pushing a line of pieces can of course change the connection line rather dramatically, and players are really forced into thinking in reverse, since you are trying to win with the opposite pieces to which you are placing.
The red player wins on the shorter route, highlighted by red lines for easy reference, while white has to go the slightly longer route.
The reverse thinking, and amazing quality of this version make Avverso a definite winner.
It's a bonus as well that it is rather small and compact, coming in a heavy duty box which lends itself to taking it to a bud's to play.
Check the game out at http://www.spiel-und-design.eu/en/index.php
If anyone is interested in this game, or other boardgames feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 20, 2012 - Yorkton, SK. Canada