Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Take It Easy, a game that seems to have inspired a quiet little genre

For such a simple and inoffensive little game, Take It Easy has had quite an impact on my gaming life. For that matter, it seems that it has had a lasting influence on the hobby as well.

In case you haven't played it, Take It Easy is what I describe as bingo with choices or strategy. Like bingo, everyone has their own board. Everyone has a hexagram shaped board with nineteen empty spaces, along with an identical set of twenty seven tiles. One poor bastard gets to be the caller, drawing one random tile at a time, with everyone then placing that tile on their board. You're trying to form colored lines across the board but if the colors get broken up, those lines are worthless.

I'd read about Take If Easy for years before I got a hold of a copy and I've been playing it on a regular basis for years after that. It's been a hit with serious, lifestyle gamers and with folks who don't know Catan from Warhammer. If that's all there was, it'd be a good game that had proven that it has serious legs. (Which, to be fair, is still quite something)

Take It Easy came out in 1983 and, as near as I can tell, has been in print ever since then. And for the first twenty or so years of its life, it was fairly unique (Again, as far as I can tell. If someone can tell me different, go for it) However, in the last ten years, it seems like new games that use that bingo with choices mechanic have started coming out in a regular basis.

Some of them, Take It To The Limit and Take It Higher, are direct sequels to Take It Easy. And since Reiner Knizia designed Take It Higher, it's pretty easy to assume that Take It Easy was an influence on FITS and BITS. Other games, like Cities or Wurfel Bingo, I have a hard time believing that they weren't strongly influenced by Take It Easy.

Seriously, it has gotten to the point in which I can't even keep track of games where everyone has their own board and is doing their own thing. It isn't like an explosive genre like work replacement or deck building or maybe even card drafting (I swear I can't look at Kickstarter at any given moment without seeing a couple new cars drafters) but it does seem like a genre that keeps on going and going.

Literally two days ago, I came across both Limes and Karuba, which I had never heard of but both clearly use the Take It Easy mechanic. And at some point, I'd love to give either of those two games ago to see what they've done with the genre.

If you had told me 15 years ago that I would be a huge fan of what could be described as bingo variations or multi player solitaire, I would've thought that you were crazy. But these are games that I honestly just keep on playing.

They aren't heavy or life-changing or burn out my brain. However, as a parent of a hyper toddler, these are games that are relaxing and easy to pull out good and good for winding down at the end of the day.

I have a feeling that I'm going to be playing Take It Easy 20 years from now. There's hundreds of games that I played that I can't say that about.

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