Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Rumis ticks so many boxes

I recently taught my son Rumis, a game he has played with as a set of blocks for at least seven years. He’s much, much more of a video gamer so board gaming is always a win. And, quite frankly, Rumis is a great game in general.

I know that it has been also printed as Blokus 3D but since it isn’t designed by Bernard Tavitian, it’s hard for me to think of it by that name. It’s a different concept. That said, if more people got to experience the game due to the Blokus branding, that makes the world that much better a place.

Rumis is a place where two different but not even remotely conflicting design concepts come together.

On the one hand, you are playing with literal building blocks on a Lazy Susan. The game has toy value because all of the physical elements are literally toys. As I mentioned, long before he ever learned to play the game, my son loved playing with the game.

On the other hand, Rumis is very definitely an abstract strategy game. And a very pure one at that. There are no hidden elements. There are no random elements. There are only the open decisions of the players. More than that, and I realize I might be prejudiced, it is a very good abstract strategy game.

And play value is definitely a thing and can be a powerful thing. It helps make a game engaging, it helps make it easier to learn, it helps make it fun. I remember being told that Connect 4 has been used as a therapy tool because of the sound and act of dropping checkers into the grid. Mind you, I don’t have any actual citation of that and the person who told me that could’ve been totally lying to my face.

But Rumis definitely has play value. a lot of games do. However, what Rumis also has, and is something that you cannot count on finding, is solid game design. The actual mechanics and gameplay have never failed me yet. Everyone I have taught it to gets it and likes it.

Rumis is a game that I think can work for anyone. That’s a rare thing to say.

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