Full Report for Tak by James Ernest,Patrick Rothfuss

Full Report for Tak by James Ernest,Patrick Rothfuss

Connect opposite sides of the board with a road of your pieces.

Rules

Controls

Drag a onto the board to add a piece there.

Click and drag to move a piece or stack to a neighbouring space; if it's a stack, click on the lowest piece you want to move. If you move more than one piece, you may then continue to move in the same direction on subsequent turns, or click anywhere else to pass to end the sequence.

Full Rules

A rules summary is below. Full rules for the game can be found on the Cheapass website: University Edition Rules

Setup

On the first two turns, each player must add an opponent's stone to the board, flat.

Basic Instructions

Place a piece in an empty space, or move an existing piece (or stack of pieces). Pieces can be placed upright as standing stones; or flat, as part of a road.Stacks up to (board size) in height can be moved in a straight line, dropping off at least one piece in each square crossed.Walls cannot be crossed or covered.

Capstones

Capstones behave like normal pieces; however,

  1. they can never be covered, and
  2. when moving alone, they can flatten walls.

Winning

Connect any two opposite sides of the board with your road (orthogonal connections only), or have the most flat stones when a player runs out of pieces or the board is full.

Miscellaneous

General comments:

Play: Combinatorial

Family: Combinatorial 2016,Fictional,Kickstarter

Mechanism(s): Connection

Components: Board

BGG Stats

BGG EntryTak
BGG Rating7.72491
#Voters1765
SD1.43066
BGG Weight2.4792
#Voters48
Year2017

BGG Ratings and Comments

UserRatingComment
shadowmage3610I backed the Kickstarter and immediately went to my workshop to make my own set. This game is fun no matter how much you play it, and the best part is that it's completely different every single time.
AI524879638Lots of great elements of area control, blocking, and tactical decision making. Tak really lives up to the hype I think.
CollsN/ATriggered husband’s AP, which makes me antsy
solanthus10I love abstract games. This is super easy to teach but will provide years of fun and learning.
ARMed_Pirate8Fantastic 2.5-D abstract.
Butteche6Not at all bad, but over-hyped. I've seen people claim this game is deeper than Go--please. It's good, but let's call things as they are.
DamGurth9As it says: "a beautiful game". It's like three-in-a-row plus checkers plus more! If i didn't know it, i'd think it has centuries. Rothfuss is amazing!
tenelka41310Simple to play and learn yet there are layers of strategy. Truly a beautiful game.
mrraow10I wasn't expecting much from an abstract based on a description in a book, but this is a surprisingly good connection game with a lot of depth. Even on a 3x3 board, the game wasn't obviously solved. Looking forwards to exploring this further.
caradoc8Simple, quick to teach and enjoyable. I like it a lot. Now all I need to do is make my own board!
Carter_BurkeN/AActualol recommendation
GlitterBandEmissary10Not Recording online/bot plays
Branhammer6I'm somewhat intrigued by the game. Given the right situation I would play it again... but it didn't strike me as a game that I would come back to over and over.
DarkPumpkin10
briargrey9Backed via kickstarter, and I so wish I'd done the Wyrmwood edition as it is beautiful. The main edition is still pretty though and definitely more affordable! Fun game and the thought that went into making it is awesome.
Cassidy W10
coryke7.75I don't know where to place this. I like it and have taught it to several people, but no one has taken to it long enough in order to get good. I'm missing that opportunity to evaluate the game when it is at its best.
Lertulo10Absolutely blown away by this one. I've played this with my 18yo and my 11yo; both learned the rules quickly. With the 11yo, I introduced the rules in several stages: a first 4x4 game where we could only lay pieces flat or move them; then a second 4x4 game where we could place and move standing stones; then a third 4x4 game where we could create and use stacks; then a larger game with the same rules; and finally introducing the capstone. I'm really drawn to the depth of play available in the simple rules. Games shift quickly, which keeps them feeling lively; there are always surprises, and you can't get too complacent even when you feel you're winning. I'm honestly in awe of how rich the gameplay can be for such a simple abstract game. I was lucky enough to pick up one of the kickstarter Devi's Boxes, and physically it's absolutely luscious: can still smell the woodstain, and appreciate the careful placement of grain and wood selection on the playing surfaces. I've found that while playing I'm often juggling my in-hand playing pieces while thinking, as they're just a delight to use.
Asceric9Love this game. Been playing it for a couple years now, and it's by far my favorite Abstract game out there.
bonusDucksN/Atop30
Legnkar10
candoo7A good abstract.
burningdaylight10
brotherjohn20027Played many rounds of this online, and on a friends set. I look forward to making my own copy. Truly is a beautiful game.
gudjonts10
adamscott8Tried online. Seems interesting and I'd like to explore it more.
attackofmilkN/AOwned by Robbie S. ==2018/12/31== It definitely strokes the Chess part of my brain. Individual pieces on the board make threats against other pieces, and blocking/playing around those threats is the entire game. The entire game feels high-pressure though. One wrong move could cost you the entire game, easily. Too early to give it a rating after one play, but I'm not a fan of the high-stakes emphasis on each move.
alpal10"so, you could build it yourself but this version is real pretty" PLAY IN A TAVERN!!!
Aiken Drum8 2019 In my top 50 : 48th
MetalChef10The best modern abstract I have played. Very elegant and very deep! A modern classic
ekaiser190110what a beautiful game.. the simplicity and elegance of the game... This is truly unmatched. we now own 2 copies.. 1 for travel, and a really nice version for when we play at home. Basic idea is to build a road and block your opponent from completing their road first.
Tolkana10
malex10
cjcrashoveride9My only complaint would be that the board is not reversible to turn it into a 4x4 or something like that. Otherwise the pieces are well made and the game itself is well thought out and great fun to play.
cohnaiN/AKickstarted.
Andy Parsons6A connection game that's a tad more complex than many in this genre. The tiles in Tak can be placed flat to build a connection or on edge to prevent one with a wall. There are also the capstone pieces that can knock down walls. The real interest in terms of mechanisims is the Dorn-esque movement of stacks, dropping a piece off in each square moved to. While that offers the possibility to quickly change the board state, it wasn't quite enough to capture my imagination.
Jestah10
csrghost7Sleeves: Not necessary
Kwenami10Love it! Quick plays, easy to learn, in depth strategy. 2 players only.
ClassicFrog10changing my rating on this from a 7 to a 10. ive played probably 50 games at this point and the depth of strategy here is pretty amazing. I learn new things with every play even against new players. against other experienced tak players this turns into a deep brain burner where long term planning and foresight pays dividends later.
Asteronte10
professionalecho10
Bridger10
AgentDib7Bethany
arbitrarychoice8An extremely good two player strategy game.
Cpt Nix7.5Jordy: 8
Baconian7.5[Rating based on several plays of the 3x3 game]. Lives up to its conceit as a 21st century game meant to feel like an ages-old one. As with the best abstract strategy games, it is quick to set up, moderately fast to teach, but scales in a way that new players can play on a smaller board with fewer pieces. Will have to review again after more plays with the larger board.
bobkeith10
bcnevan6A classic feel and plenty of table presence. Each game plays out the same. Fill out the board to a point where the session shifts to the first to make a mistake. It's fine, but fails to bring excitement or anything outside its classic feel and table presence. My wife has started calling it Tic-Tak-Toe in view of it being a connection game played on a larger grid, and that's not meant as a compliment.
Cipian10This is a worthy alternate reality version of chess. In that reality Tak was created over 1000 years ago and is considered a competitive sport. This game is brilliant, I don't know if James Ernest is a genius or just really really lucky. Tak is a beautiful game, a game I will someday teach to my grandkids.
atmyownpace8Signed by the designer
AuchEinerVonDenenN/ADIY Version
Alex_Ecclesia7a fun abstract to play in down time can be simple to complex but always fun
Abso4Tak is your basic four/five/six in a row with movement. Sounds great from the rules but in practise turned into a dull affair. Tak had a chance to survive in the contested abstract zone as you could easily play a game of Tak with the pieces from the Duke, but then again, why would you.
birdsong7036Better than Santorini with the feel of an old classic, even though it’s actually quite new.
tiktaktak10
kiah8510Love it, great game. They managed to make it easy to teach but hard to master with all the intricacy and subtlety possible.
nyghtmare10I loved the Kickstarter. My joy of this game increased after playing it at Gen Con 2016. It is so simple, elegant, and replayable. This is better than Go, Chess, or Catan.
Conundrum808Via Subcultures.nl
adamw8This is in fact an exceedingly smart abstract game with the feeling of a classic. The rules are quite simple, the winning conditions easy to explain. But play is deeply satisfying and smart. You can plan ahead, you can 'check' players into plays, you can play a long game or a quick game. The better player will win and repeated plays will allow you to learn more and more smart plays. Just really great.
rkalajian10
alicebentleyN/ASurprisingly complex game playing options, remeniscent of chess or go but with easier to learn as a beginner. Similarly challenging as a master. (I'm not very good at it myself, but still enjoy the play.)
greatpyrate110
chadiushobbyN/AI'm thinking of making my own Tak set. I would buy it but the price is awfully high for the game. I understand that it takes a lot to come up with the design of a game and that a cut of the profit goes to the author as well, but I can't justify the expense when the game is so easily made at home for a skilled woodworker.
Color099Awesome, awesome game. I'm not great at it, but I love playing it. Maybe it's too early to tell, but it's up there with Chess and Go, personally.
antiquest10
RichMulholland10
Astey10It's like chess meets checkers meets tic tac toe meets go. It's a strategy game that's easy to learn and difficult to master. The board is modular, in that you can play on a grid of 4x4, 5x5 or 6x6, all with one board (using either the grid squares or corners). It's an easy game to make custom sets for, too. I bought the game through Kickstarter, then I had my leatherworker of an uncle make me a custom leather board. I made myself a portable 'board,' too, by cutting a square of linen and drawing a grid on it with a Sharpie. I just folded that up and keep it in my bag of Tak pieces, which makes the game incredibly portable. Anyway, this game is awesome. The official set comes with a cardboard board, wooden pieces, and a rule book. Everything you'd need. Be warned, though, you'll probably get the itch to make your own set. The Tak subreddit has dozens of examples of custom pieces people have carved or sculpted.
CanadianHammer9I use the custom start to balance player 1 advantage (Play 2 tiles of one color and 1 tile of other color and other player gets to chose which color to be) Traded to BoardGameCo
Alteffor8Nice medium-heavy abstract. Lots of depth and elegance here. Would love to spend more time with it.
anshouN/Ax2
zombieknight10
tolendante10Tavern set
Bursar4Caveat! I bought the "travel edition" of wooden pieces from Worldbuilders, which was advertised as coming with a cloth gameboard and bag. (Later I found the same thing as the "Tavern Pieces" set on their site.) There was no board, however, and when I returned to the seller to ask about it, they said it was mislabeled but I could not get a refund. So I paid $40 for a bag of wooden squares and a ruleset printed on the cheapest, wrinkliest paper imaginable. A definite ripoff, even for a con purchase with a 60% price hike (considering that the "University Edition" is literally the same pieces but comes with a board for the same price I paid). I'd have gladly just given them $10 for a nicer-printed ruleset and bought some tiles from a craft store instead, even though I find that Worldbuilders offers the rules free online... They are a charity, after all. Okay. Price rant aside, the game is a mechanically simple but surprisingly deep 2-player abstract strategy game and definitely fits the idea that this might be a game played in fantasy-world taverns all over. The joy you'll get out of this does sort of depend on the challenge your opponent puts up, much like how Connect 4 can actually become cutthroat under the right circumstances. It's true! I'll admit that my review is not objective, but I can't look at the sad little bag in my collection without thinking of the rooking I took, so my score is lower due to personal misgivings. But, like the rating info says, I'm not in love with it but I might be Tak-ed into it on occasion. You see that pun? Now THAT'S a beautiful game.
BastardCafeN/A2 108.2
ellogan10
Davidalurie10Much to my astonishment the game actually stands up there with things like Chess and Go... and then beats them. Update: I continue to LOVE this game.
codygamer927.5A good game considering that it was a fictional creation from a book.
McBehrer10
Dark_James10Not sure why the version is "Second" edition. I have the Kickstarter Tavern set with the cloth board and physical rule book.
bpierce727I enjoy this game as an abstract game. It is easy to teach (even to non-gamers), plays fast, and can be scaled in complexity by size. I purchased the retail set and have been very disappointed in the component quality. The wood feels very light weight and the board is flimsy. I would say that it is fun, but overpriced.
ChristianDK8A new game that feels like an ancient game.
chandleryesfriendsN/Ainherit the wind abstract
logannc10
MeanderingCode10
noahmedling10
Kraghtnar10
brianmccueN/AUniversity edition.
bwochinski10Eagerly awaiting the kickstarter shipping, so I crafted my own set in the meantime! This is possibly the funnest abstract strategy game I've played. It's beautifully simple and yet stretches your mind to contemplate the depth of strategy to be found. Highly recommend for enthusiast and casual player alike!
kvoththebloodless10
alexhong9610
toppy10I don't have much interest on the abstract category, but this game is great. It's exactly beautiful.
npeep10
acebrando7KS
deev4210
bcorne28Wow great surprise. Recommended by Spielbound employee and it was super good.
darker8A pleasant surprise. I wonder how deep it goes?
jemofthewest10
CimpresovecN/ADIY
Stenenis10
dandadan10
archvenison10
niconc210
Blaine Moore10
a_traveler6.8Initial rating, based on playing two and a half games. Unlike most abstract games, I didn't immediately grok a good strategy here, and overlooked simple things (causing me to lose). I consider this a positive thing, as it means there's the potential to learn and explore. I like how the rules lend themselves for playing on a large number of boards, and how even small boards don't feel like they're super limited. Chunky pieces of wood make for a satisfyingly tactile game. I don't trust that the game will offer long lived strategy (otherwise my initial rating would be higher), but am prepared to discover that I might be wrong.
touchstonethefool10Not sure why I haven't commented on this yet, I certainly have played it enough! Shonky pie rule and questionable first player advantage aside, this is a really great modern abstract that mixes approach-ability with a neat, almost sandbox-y feel. 4x4 games function largely as a teaching tool, as the introduction of the capstone in 5x5 games is where things truly shine. The divide between road building and flat owning makes for a fantastic tipping point and allows for a dynamic board state. I take the travel version of this wherever I go and am always willing to play!
ThriveTheStorm10
Orsett10
Sultan_Pepper10
tanzania10Superb abstract! Seriously amazing! After making my own copy out of a .75 x 1.5 inch by 8 foot piece of wood I bought a Home Depot for $1, my family and I have played probably 50 games of it. My 5 & 7 year old boys played for 60 minutes by themselves and it seemed balanced between them. They loved tricking each other. The "amazing" aspect is that even the 4x4 has layers of strategy and trickery for the unwary opponent. My daughter (13) and I just laugh and laugh as we suddenly realize we missed an obvious road or pathway. I am looking forward, in good time, to expanding the game to a 5x5. We are just exploring standing stones (walls) at this point. Just today I spent a couple of hours creating a board out of a piece of 1/2 inch thick cedar I found in the garage. The board wasn't wide enough, so I cut up an old leather shoe, made some hinges out of it and made it work. t used the 4x4 design with the diamond expansion and etched it in with pencil and black Sharpie. Looks good! Heirloom quality. :) Even if you don't like abstracts--I don't--consider making or buying a copy from Cheapass. This is an instant classic. A chess for today!
Sidpikes10
FishPete10
g1thomas10Easy to learn, but you'll soon find out there is a lot of strategy involved once you begin playing. Love the flexible nature of the game (you can play with varying sized boards ranging from 3x3 to 8x8) and the relatively shorter duration of play (if using a smaller board) compared to other abstract games.
Level1Mudkip10
benjy2N/ADIY
DragutaDragon10My complete agreement that it is, indeed, A Beautiful Game. Love it.
Astralwing9.287655 shark
buffo_alexN/Awith Cloth Board
Chickoryblue10So, I admit, I was predisposed to love this because I love the books, but I really do enjoy playing. Like chess, the rules are are simple, but the gameplay is engaging and different every time.
Baumer_CG8Really enjoyed the the layers this game adds, allowing for a base game that's enjoyable on it's own, with additional rules/modules added to make it more complex when you're ready for the next challenge. Main issue with this game is how expensive it is, but I think it's going to make for a fun woodworking project in the near future.
clayhaus8Only one play but was good...need more time on the table to properly assess...nice production values though.
ashleyhancock10
board_game_nightN/Aryan h
demarcus10I've played this game only a couple of times, pre-Kickstarter, and it's really cool!
alexmestas10I'm amazed that a game on the level of Go or Chess could be created in this day and age. Amazing.
Daegalus10
ElanorTCat10Brilliant. Much more complex and satisfying than checkers, easier to learn than chess but just as challenging.
LordObsidian10This is just a great bar game.
Omodin10I had a lot of fun with Tak. The game itself is pretty easy to understand, but to master it is a bit more difficult. It really is a beautiful game as well. I would always play this if someone asked. To me, it has the depth of something like Chess, but the games go much quicker and it's easier to get in to for someone that has never played it before.
Blarghedy10This game is just very very satisfying. I expected to enjoy it, but I didn't expect it to be so satisfying to play. That said, I rarely actually want to play it. Abstract games are hard for me to get into.
bdean15210pnp
wpisfs10Custom set made out of tile/ceramic
ajewoN/AAbstract 2-player game. Players attempt to make a road of their pieces connecting two opposite sides of the board. Note: Tak: University Edition is a highly portable and smaller version Each player has 2 different types of pieces: stones and capstones. Stones may either be placed flat or standing. Flat stones can be stacked and count as part of a player's road. Standing stones do not count as part of a player's road and they can't have anything stacked on top of them "wall". Capstones, like flat stones, count as part of the player's road and they may not have any other pieces stacked on them. Similar games: * Checkers * Chess
crashcrosby8Feels like a classic
HeatherHost10
Ayanami77Ivy7Pretty average. Didn't blow me away.
ache732N/ANov 16
CrystalBGG8I haven't played this much, it looks like it has a lot of potential depth but I have a tendency to shoot myself in the foot on it.
netgod10
SirKittyJuice10
BackIssueBacklog7Super quick to play with very easy rules. I've read there may some imbalances but not an issue for my wife and I.
Sirwol10Most games that balance such elegant simplicity with such strategic depth take many centuries to evolve (such as Go and Chess). It is a great credit to James Ernest that he was able to design it from scratch in a far shorter time and a credit also to Patrick Rothfuss for creating the fictional world and description of the game that inspired Ernest to do so! The game is simple to learn but 2 weeks and 20 games in and I am still far from mastering the nuances of advanced play. I hope Tak will see enough success that it spawns local and global tournaments. I would certainly enjoy the challenge of playing in them.
colb4258.6:star::star::star::star::star::star::nostar:;
Illumas10
Aerin Rainier7Tak is a really good abstract game (and that's coming from a guy who doesn't generally like abstract games). This is probably helped by the fact that it was inspired by my favorite game series (Kingkiller Chronicle) and the set that I own was handmade for me by my father-in-law.
SuperJujuAwesome10This truly is a beautiful game. It feels like a timeless classic that has just come to light. I've enjoyed it for the last 4 months and it continues to impress. Quick to teach and yet difficult to master, I have played it with kids and adults and all have had fun.
ChasetheAdventure9Kickstarted.
leoleez10Santorini is the more accessible game, but Tak conceptually is something I look forward to mastering. The liberation from theme helps the game emanate its timelessness.
amqueueN/AOff Amazon
BGCofYORKPAN/Ahave parts, working on completing it.
jkhenson10
adamspf9This has the feel of a really ancient game- I can imagine someone scratching lines in the dirt and playing with shells, twigs, and rocks. Truly elegant game
CDRodeffer7Nice game, and one that might be good for tournament play. I also enjoyed the book.
Brian Plants Trees10Built my own set, ash board,walnut edge and brown oak inlay. Ash and brown oak pieces with two tone walnut capstones.
AmadanNaBriona7.5I don't think it quite has the classic elegance of go or chess, but it is an abstract worthy of a fictional history comparable to those games.
SwornPacifist10
prheenan10Really enjoy playing tak! Simple to learn, with a useful progression to make the game more complicated.
coneil4910
claudio2127One play and I'm quite certain there is a lot of game here. A connection game with an interesting breadcrumb mechanism. The power piece is a really nice touch.
ToledoMosquito10Only discovered this the other day by chance, but completely obsessed with it. Hands down my favorite board game in a long time.
paynentt10
BajahoboN/ACardhaus
BenniculaN/Aplayed, fun, chess-like
fwwwwibib10Fantastic. Simple rules, complex strategy. I'm not generally a fan of abstract strategy games but Tak has me hooked.
AnabelleT8I'm not a big strategy game player, but this game spoke to me, it's easy to learn and super fun to play, I like it!
angyiN/ANot bad, but not amazing either. A well thought-out and fine looking game, but never as immersive as I wish it would be.
gr9yfox10Great abstract game that's easy to teach, quick to setup and plays very well. The goal is to build a road to the other side of the board by bringing new pieces in and modifying stacks of pieces in a Mancala-ish way. Two other pieces (walls and capstone) disrupt this. I'm glad they released the beta rules and motivated everyone to assemble their own version despite their kickstarter campaign. Players have been creating really inspire set. I also made my own portable version and am very glad of how it turned out.
amaperera9We played four times in half an hour, and each game played out very differently. There's so much to explore in Tak, and I think it's definitely a lifestyle game with a very steep skill curve. I can imagine an experienced player would demolish a newbie in no time at all. That said, competence in Tak could probably be gained much faster than in chess or Go. And that's not a bad thing at all.
Arkobla ConnN/AWon of Raffle at MepaCon 2019 SPRING
MalikLucius10I cannot say enough good things about this game. If you've played, then you don't need convincing- if you haven't played, you need to learn. Tak is a mirror we hold to the movings of a mind- it can be played as thunderously as an orchestra, or as subtly as ripples across the surface of a pond. If you enjoy Go, you'll love Tak.
TxChef7710BLUE
bluebee9My favorite abstract strategy game yet, not counting the Gipf games. Fun to learn, even with children, yet very challenging.
agentpatman8Loved the simplicity of this one. Not a category of games we have typically enjoyed but playing a couple games of this in 20 minutes is worth it.
Carrielles10Wow Excellent Game
antimorris10
Cancelled6.5A very slick abstract, though I don't play abstracts enough to really know how it compares to others in the Genre. I don't really appreciate it's back and forth tension of who can slip a win condition by the other person, it's a bit like santorini and I don't that part of that game either. A solid experience, but perhaps doesn't have the legs of some abstracts.
FrackinCylon10Anyone can learn to play in less than two minutes. It's like go and checkers had a baby. I love abstract strategy game so I'm probably more inclined to like this than some other people. But if you are in to abstract strategy then this may well become a new classic.
carlosleonrendon82 10-30 minutes Best with 2
Jvstice10
bren_ticus8This really is a beautiful game. Not the pieces, though, the rules. I've never read a rulebook before and just been impressed by both the simplicity and depth that is immediately evident.
bluebee29PnP. Great game.
dbucak10A great combination of a connection game and a stacking Dvonn/Domination type game.
abodi10
Marciadezeeuw10
buadbN/AClassic Set
capricorn_tm9#Kickstarter Till now (August) this is my favourite game of 2016. Quick, brainy, fun and completely open source. LOVE IT!
lookitzpancakes10Tak is a marvel of abstract strategy. I've been actively searching out these kinds of games for me and my friend to play, and we've gone through a lot of them. And many of them we've enjoyed thoroughly! I can honestly say, though, that none of them come remotely close to hitting that beautiful sweet spot of tight gameplay mechanics, balanced movement, suspenseful moments, depth of thought, and short (enough) play time like Tak does. We can take this to a bar, sit outside, generate conversation, and play through a game in 15 minutes to an hour. The true genius of Tak is in the stacking. You've placed some pieces, your opponent's placed some pieces, and then you take your piece and you move it on top of your opponent's piece...and that's when the true depth of this game starts to become apparent. And it multiplies from there; the improvisational nature of movement when you're controlling a large stack of pieces is unlike anything I've experienced in an abstract before. The rules remain steadfast but the strategic canvas widens and you realize the insane amount of configurations and options available to you, both to advance your position and to impede your opponent's. And yet, with all of this talk of depth and complexity, Tak never loses touch with its elegance. Even in the endgame as you scan the board and scramble for options, the choices are always within your brain's reach. It never grows so convoluted as to snuff out the fun. In my experience playing abstracts, this kind of balance is an incredibly difficult thing to design, and Ernest has just nailed it with this one. I can absolutely see Tak becoming a bonafide classic in due time.
spychiatrist10This game is absurdly good. I made my account here just to post a review of Tak. Somehow Patrick Rothfuss and James Ernest managed to combine enough genius to make what was supposed to be the fictional equivalent of Chess into a playable game. This game not only surpasses my already high opinion of Chess, it does for mostly every person I play it with or teach it to. There is more interesting tactical complexity in this simpler game than Chess. It's more exciting and dynamic than Go. And it's always fun to play at any skill level. If you hone your skills at a game like Chess, there aren't that many ways to play with people who either outmatch your rank or fall in at a lower rank. There is so much meta around games like Chess and Go because the set of sensible moves is severely limited by either the restrictive rules and use-cases of the pieces (Chess) or expected formulaic patterns within patterns (Go). Tak manages to avert this by offering gameplay in which extremely complex patterns can evolve from extremely simple rules, all while maintaining an extreme range of differing moves in any turn's set of sensible moves. It is still fun to play with someone at mismatched skill level to yours, because in Tak you or they can always 'scale back' your skill by playing it in a way that you win 'beautifully,' hence Bredon's (from the fantasy series this was spawned from) phrase, playing "A beautiful game." The game itself can even be fun to play against yourself as a sort of puzzle, because you'll end up surprising yourself over and over again after seeing how a particular strategy worked out in a way you could never have guessed. This is not to say that the Tak community will not evolve its own meta; it certainly already has. But I believe from the 100+ hours of Tak I've played that there is not a meta that can be broken in less than several unique ways, some of which may seem like poor choices to your opponent at first play. The game is dynamic enough that it sometimes rewards the bold, the defensive, the tenacious, and nearly any player of any other style. Another plus is that games can be as quick as you like; you can easily choose the size of board you want to play on. The game has ordained piece-counts for board sizes from 3x3 (10 minutes) all the way to 8x8 (could be hours among highly skilled players). The classic set (boxed set) comes with all the pieces you need to play a game up to size 6x6. I usually play 4x4 games when I'm teaching someone new how to play, or want a quick game; 5x5 games when I want a fuller, more thoughtful experience; and 6x6 games when I would like a real challenge. I have only played 5 or 6 games at 8x8, it is extremely difficult to make it last very long unless both players have played many, many games. In some of these games I've probably been the most engaged I've ever been when playing a board game in my life, and I have probably played upwards of thousands of games of chess. Give this game a shot, it's a mind bender that will leave you wanting more each game. Physical Tak sets might be hard to get your hands on, as I just received mine from the Tak Kickstarter a few days ago (27/1/2017). It said a few days ago on Patrick Rothfuss's website that Tak orders may be fulfilled in February. The set itself is very nicely finished, wood pieces are stained evenly and pleasantly, and appear to be hand-sanded. The board itself is a high-density cardboard laminated with an extremely satisfying linen finish. The board it comes with is hybridized (it has demarcations) for each standard board size from 3x3 to 6x6. Fan of The Name of the Wind (the book series that Tak is based on) or not, this game deserves to be in every board games or chess/go player's collection. In the mean time, try playing online with the computer or other real players at playtak.com before you even buy it, it's free.
F8Tel10
EloquentRune10
Bigkegg9An instant hit with my kids, ages 13-16. Thank you for making it possible!

Levels of Play

AIWins vs prev levelDrawsLosses#GamesWin%
Random     
Rαβ + ocqBKs (t=v0.01s)360036100.00
Rαβ + ocqBKs (t=v0.03s)36054187.80
Rαβ + ocqBKs (t=v0.20s)36054187.80

Level of Play: strong beats weak 60% of the time (lower bound with 90% confidence).

Kolomogorov Complexity Estimate

Size (bytes)39685
Reference Size10328
Ratio3.84

Ai Ai calculates the size of the implementation, and compares it to the Ai Ai implementation of the simplest possible game (which just fills the board). Note that this estimate may include some graphics and heuristics code as well as the game logic. See the wikipedia entry for more details.

Playout Complexity Estimate

Playouts per second11483.18 (87.08µs/playout)
Reference Size1897533.21 (0.53µs/playout)
Ratio (low is good)165.24

Tavener complexity: the heat generated by playing every possible instance of a game with a perfectly efficient programme. Since this is not possible to calculate, Ai Ai calculates the number of random playouts per second and compares it to the fastest non-trivial Ai Ai game (Connect 4). This ratio gives a practical indication of how complex the game is. Combine this with the computational state space, and you can get an idea of how strong the default (MCTS-based) AI will be.

Win % By Player (Bias)

1: White win %59.62±0.28Includes draws = 50%
2: Black win %40.38±0.28Includes draws = 50%
Draw %5.17Percentage of games where all players draw.
Decisive %94.83Percentage of games with a single winner.
Samples120116Quantity of logged games played

Note: that win/loss statistics may vary depending on thinking time (horizon effect, etc.), bad heuristics, bugs, and other factors, so should be taken with a pinch of salt. (Given perfect play, any game of pure skill will always end in the same result.)

Note: Ai Ai differentiates between states where all players draw or win or lose; this is mostly to support cooperative games.

Mirroring Strategies

Rotation (Half turn) lost each game as expected.
Reflection (X axis) lost each game as expected.
Reflection (Y axis) lost each game as expected.
Copy last move lost each game as expected.

Mirroring strategies attempt to copy the previous move. On first move, they will attempt to play in the centre. If neither of these are possible, they will pick a random move. Each entry represents a different form of copying; direct copy, reflection in either the X or Y axis, half-turn rotation.

Complexity

Game length

Change in Material Per Turn

This chart is based on a single playout, and gives a feel for the change in material over the course of a game.

Actions/turn

Table: branching factor per turn.

Action Types per Turn

This chart is based on a single playout, and gives a feel for the types of moves available over the course of a game.

Red: removal, Black: move, Blue: Add, Grey: pass, Purple: swap sides, Brown: other.

Unique Positions Reachable at Depth

01234
125625357501127311

Note: most games do not take board rotation and reflection into consideration.
Multi-part turns could be treated as the same or different depth depending on the implementation.
Counts to depth N include all moves reachable at lower depths.
Inaccuracies may also exist due to hash collisions, but Ai Ai uses 64-bit hashes so these will be a very small fraction of a percentage point.

Shortest Game(s)

No solutions found to depth 4.

Openings

MovesAnimation
Stone-e1,Stone-b2,b2-b3x1,Capstone-c3,Stone-b4,c3-b3x1,Capstone-c3,b3-b4x1,Stone-d3,Stone-c2,Stone-c4
Stone-e1,Stone-d2,d2-d3x1,Capstone-c3,Stone-d2,c3-d3x1,Capstone-c3,d3-d2x1,Stone-c4,Stone-b2,Stone-b3
Stone-e1,Stone-a3,a3-b3x1,Capstone-c3,Stone-b4,c3-b3x1,Capstone-c3,b3-b4x1,Stone-d3,Stone-c2,Stone-c4
Stone-e1,Stone-b3,Stone-b4,Capstone-c3,Capstone-d3,c3-b3x1,d3-c3x1,b3-b4x1,Stone-d3,Stone-c2,Stone-c4
Stone-e1,Stone-c3,c3-d3x1,Capstone-c3,Stone-d2,c3-d3x1,Capstone-c3,d3-d2x1,Stone-c4,Stone-b2,Stone-b3
Stone-e1,Stone-c3,c3-b3x1,Capstone-c3,Stone-b4,c3-b3x1,Capstone-c3,b3-b4x1,Stone-d3,Stone-c2,Stone-c4
Stone-e1,Stone-e3,e3-d3x1,Capstone-c3,Stone-d2,c3-d3x1,Capstone-c3,d3-d2x1,Stone-c4,Stone-b2,Stone-b3
Stone-e1,Stone-b4,Stone-b3,Capstone-c3,Capstone-d3,c3-b3x1,d3-c3x1,b3-b4x1,Stone-d3,Stone-c2,Stone-c4
Stone-e1,Stone-b4,b4-b3x1,Capstone-c3,Stone-b4,c3-b3x1,Capstone-c3,b3-b4x1,Stone-d3,Stone-c2,Stone-c4
Stone-e1,Stone-d4,d4-d3x1,Capstone-c3,Stone-d2,c3-d3x1,Capstone-c3,d3-d2x1,Stone-c4,Stone-b2,Stone-b3
Stone-e1,Stone-b2,b2-b3x1,Capstone-c3,Stone-b4,c3-b3x1,Capstone-c3,b3-b4x1,Stone-c2,Stone-e2,Stone-c4
Stone-e1,Stone-a3,a3-b3x1,Capstone-c3,Stone-b4,c3-b3x1,Capstone-c3,b3-b4x1,Stone-c2,Stone-e2,Stone-c4