YINSH - Board Game Box Shot


| Published: 2003
17 6 2

Sometimes you will have the impression that there is nothing but chaos on the board. You line up a few of your pieces and the next thing you notice is that they have changed color! The more pieces on the board, the more difficult it becomes to predict what will happen. But also the more opportunities you have! So do not worry: you will get your chance. Just stay alert, and you will create your own little bit of order in the chaos!

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6 of 6 gamers found this helpful
“Solid, both in gameplay and in components.”

I was introduced to this series of Kris Burm games through the first game, GIPF, and I was very impressed by the high quality of the pieces and the addictive, simple nature of the games. YINSH is the fifth game in the GIPF series, and it’s probably my favorite after GIPF itself.

Every GIPF game has a sort of “theme” to it – not from a flavor standpoint but from a gameplay one. GIPF was about pushing, DVONN was about jumping, and YINSH is about flipping.

Each player has a set of 5 rings, a white set and a black set respectively. There’s also a collective pool of blue-bordered, double-sided discs with white on one side and black on the other. The board consists of a hexagon of intersecting lines, similar to GIPF.

Players take turns placing rings at these intersection points on the board until both the black and the white player have placed all 5. The goal of the game is to remove three of your own color rings from the board. You do this by moving the rings in a straight line and leaving a trail of five discs in your color.

On your turn you’ll drop a disc inside one of your rings (with your color facing up) and then move the ring in a straight line across the board. You can move any number of spaces over empty points on the board or over discs. You cannot move a ring over another ring however (even if it’s yours). If your ring passes over a disc, that disc gets flipped to the opposite color.

When you’ve managed to either place or flip 5 discs in a row that are your color, you can remove one of your rings and place it in the scoring area on your side of the board. Do this three times and you win – but beware that as you remove rings you’re also limiting your possible moves on the board.

I picked up the Rio Grande Games reprint of YINSH, having owned the original Don & Co. version of some of the other games in the GIPF series. I was worried that the reprint would not have the same high quality pieces as the originals, but thankfully those worries were unfounded.

The clacky pieces feel the same as the Don & Co. games, which is great. They’re something akin to Bakelite, so they’re slightly heavier than your standard ABS plastic. The game includes a canvas drawstring bag that holds all the components. The board is a solid quad-fold design that’s adequate but not particularly heavy.

My only complaint about the Rio Grande print of the game is that it comes in a HUGE box. The Don & Co. version came in a box roughly the size of Scrabble or Monopoly – long and thin. The Rio Grande box is much deeper and has a very large insert that’s completely unnecessary for the size of the components inside. It’s a small gripe, but one to consider if you have limited shelf space.

I’m a fan of abstract strategy games, and the GIPF series is probably my gold standard for the genre. YINSH holds up well against its siblings. The games are quick and sometimes brutal, the pieces feel significant in your hand, and the strategy can have you really pondering your moves for a while.

I think the real fun emerges after your first half a dozen plays, as you get the basic moves down pat and start working on more advanced strategies. When I realized I could block my opponent’s ring movement by sticking one of my rings at the end of a long line of discs, it was a eureka moment. I look forward to more of those in the future.


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