Friday, May 18, 2018

Akur-Gal - more meditation than game and that’s okay

Akur-Gal, from the 2018 9 Card PnP contest, is a very simple game. The nine cards form a three-by-three picture based on a Babylonian tablet. Shuffle the cards, lay them out in a three-by-three grid and then swap cards to make the tablet correct.

Oh, did I mention that it’s a solitaire game? It’s a solitaire game. I’m really not sure how you’d make it multi-player.

While you will lose if it takes you more than nine moves to make the tablet correct, as long as you don’t make a move that puts nothing in the right place, you’ll be able to complete the game in eight moves at the very most. I’m pretty sure that there’s a solution that guarantees, with perfect play, five or six moves.

Which probably sounds like I’m going to say Akur-Gal is a waste of ink and terrible game. But I don’t think so. It’s a game that I keep on periodically pulling out and playing and it’s a game that I can see myself getting steady play out of. I’ll probably even make the ink-heavy version at some point.

What Akur-Gal is is a very, very simple game, one that takes very little time to play and not too much mental effort. You don’t turn your brain off but you just calmly look for patterns and pleasantly makes things work.

I don’t view Akur-Gal as a tense game or a complex puzzle. I view as, well, basically kind of meditation. It is one of those games that puts my mind in a Zen place and I’m more relaxed after I’m done playing it. And since one game takes a minute to play, that’s a handy little exercise.

Akur-Gal isn’t for everyone. Heck, I’m not sure if it’s for most people. However, it does work for me. Simple rules, nifty Babylonian art, it’s nice.

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