Zenteeko Review – The Abstract with TravelabilityOctober 25, 2019
Ryan looks at the high travelable game, Zenteeko.
Zenteeko is an abstract board game for 2 or 3 players. The idea is to be the first to get their 4 pieces into in-a-row (in any direction or in alternatively into a square). The gameplay really is super simple, on your turn place one of your four player pieces on to an empty space on the board, keep going until someone gets 4-in-a-row or a square and wins OR if all pieces are placed you move to a movement phase. In the movement phase, you can move one of your pieces to an adjacent empty square (no jumping) – you keep doing this until someone wins. Simple. See, it plays extremely fast, at least in our plays, and never overstayed its welcome. It should be noted there is an “advance” variant, where you place your opponent’s pieces for them (but let’s be honest, we are just gonna scattered each other’s pieces to the 4 corners of the board).
I will say I am not sure it has the depth that some other abstract games have, for example, I am not sure we will be seeing Zenteeko tournaments, 5 years from now, as we do with say, Hive. It also feels like it may be solvable (at least in 2-player) with a computer program, though that just a feeling and maybe I am wrong. Also, in the case of Zenteeko, and the audience I believe it is going for (general audience vs abstract gamers) I am not sure that matters. Zenteeko to me feels like a good game to teach non-gamers or children how to play abstract games. Don’t get me wrong, I would play this with adults, but this one because of its simplicity would great for adults vs children or children vs children.
Zenteeko is also still worth having in your collection just for the travel-ability of the game. The game rolls out to be a board (and has a bag that holds all the pieces built-in and it comes with extra pieces just in case you lose some on the go) – this means you can play it just about anywhere, including restaurants, at the beach or poolside, doctor’s office, or picnics with the family. In fact, I am myself, debating about keeping my copy in our van, to travel with us everywhere. Zenteeko – also plays very fast. This is something I personally would like to see more of with abstract games, it is impressive. It works pretty well and really is cool looking. Sometimes we have an issue of it wanting to roll back on itself (not always), and you can just place something on top of the bag part you wrap the board around and it seems to fix the issue. It is made from vinyl plastic, so if you get it dirty or sticky (if you are playing where food is) you can wipe it down. I think this feature really makes it stands out, maybe even more than the gameplay.
We definitely recommend checking Zenteeko out, even more so if you getting it for family play and you are a family that wants to play games on the go.
Thanks to Zenteeko for sending us a free copy for an honest review.