Publisher: Queen Games
Designer: Jakob Andrusch
Duration: 30 min
You are in the darkness, but ahead of you, you see the glimmer of light. If you could only head over and illuminate the room further…
Ok, I’m going to stop right there. This game… there really is no theme. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Which is a real shame, because beneath the shallow but pretty and effective paint job, lies something that really shines (see what I did there?) Glux is a 2-4 player abstract/area control game that is way more than what appears on the surface.
What’s in the box?
Inside the box there is a double-sided game board (one side for 2 players, the other for 3-4 players), 24 light tiles for each player, 4 starting markers, 4 score trackers and a bag to hold the light tiles for each player.
The graphic design for this game is really great… it actually reminds me of TRON (if anyone remembers the great but cheesy 80’s movie, and its remake which I loved. Great effects and visual design… geek out over) and the components are sturdy cardboard. Everything about it feels good, but I feel there could have been a little more oomph in the design, but everything works well
So how do you play?
To begin the game, you set up the board depending on the player count, and each player places their starting token in their respective positions. Then each player will randomly draw one of their tiles out of their bag, and choose which side to place up… and then draws another chip. Now we are ready to begin!
So why is it important to choose which side to play face up? Well… your chips have “pips” on them (I call them dice values), and those chips you have placed on the board determine the distance of how far you can place the chip in your hand! The chips are numbered 1/6, 2/5 and 3/4 on either side. When it is your turn, you look at the board then at all your chips, and you determine where you can place your chip based on the numbers on your previously placed chips. For example, if you have a chip with 2 pips on it, you can place your current chip 2 squares away from that chip. You must follow a few rules though:
- You can only place vertically or horizontally, never diagonally
- If there are any chips between the chip you want to start with and the distance you want to go, you can never cross another chip. They block your way
- If you want to place your chip on a spot and there is already a chip there, you may cover it (whether it’s your opponents or yours). This can only be done once per space! Once a chip is covered, that chip can never be covered again (max 2 per space total!)
- A player may never cover another players starting chip.
- BUT… once per game, you may cover your own starting chip with the one in your hand. Once you do, it can never be done again (max 2 chips per square, remember?)
One important rule is that if you cannot place your current chip, you must cover your starting chip. If it’s already been done… you are out for the game until final scoring (I’ve never had this happen in a game.)
So, what is the point of all this chip placing? Well… you’ll see that on the board some squares are dark and some are bright. The objective of the game is to control the bright areas, and how you do this is to have the highest total number of “pips” (aka dice values) in each room.
The game will end when either all players have used all their chips, or no player can place a chip according to the rules. Then, scoring happens. Each light room is counted separately, and and the player with the highest value in that room scores 4 points, and the second highest scores 2 points (in a 2 player game, only the top player scores any points). If there is a tie for 1st place, every tied player scores 4 points and no second place is awarded. If 2nd place is tied, those players get 2 points each. After counting each room, the player with the most points wins! If there is a tie, whoever has the most pips in the centre room wins the game!
Is it any good?
I’m not the biggest fan of abstract games, I like my games to have some sort of theme, so if it doesn’t, its gotta be really good to catch my eye. When I first saw this in the store, I picked it up, said “meh” and put it back on the shelf. A few months later, I got to try it… and man, did I judge a book by its cover! I loved playing it so much, I went and bought it a few days later. It’s got such a simple mechanic going for it, but every action carries so much weight. Do I place a 6 and extend my reach, or place a 1 and control my area, knowing I can cover any piece that gets put beside me? Do I put the 6 in the lighted room and increase my value, or put a 1 and scare off players from placing beside me? Do I place my tiles outside the lighted room so I can reach more places, or do I place as many as I can in the rooms because I’m fighting majority with someone else? So many choices, so much depth.
One thing I love about this game, its so interactive. Some people might call it mean, and I may agree, but its not too direct. You will need to cover up chips (including your own) during the game, but everyone will be doing it and if you get offended, don’t. Just do it back to your opponent. And it works really great at all player counts. Its a great 2 player game, but I actually prefer it with more players. It makes it a lot more interactive, and while not as strategic, its a lot more tactical and I love the bigger board!
It actually reminds me a little of another game I reviewed, Quantum although the mechanisms are quite different, both have a grid system and are abstract-like area control games. But unlike Quantum… this game really lacks theme. Even though you are just placing dice in Quantum, you really feel like you’re placing ships and controlling planets and that really adds something. Glux could have had that… but instead went with a pure abstract theme and I feel that really hurts it. It looks good and the mechanics are amazing, but its lack of theme really keeps it from becoming an instant classic. But I still really recommend it. I mean… I went out and bought it after playing it. But I still dream of the day when someone takes this game and reprints is with a great epic space battle theme… and I will rule every sector of the galaxy!!!
- Simple rules and mechanics
- So much depth! Every action has so much weight to it
- Great interaction between players
- Simple look and great TRON-like graphic design but…
- … no theme. At all. It really could have been more with just a little more oomph…