1PG August Challenge: Six tile-laying games

I’ve grown a bit detached from the “What have you played this month?” challenges on the 1 Player Guild since the one about flowers, but I still check every time. This month, it was “play six tile-laying games”. OK, I thought, there’s no way I can’t do this. I have a bunch of tile-laying games by Knizia (his great trilogy, to begin with), but solo? Alas, I don’t think I have any. Well, around the first half of the month, out of despair and boredom, I checked my collection anyway, and I had actually 25 of them, including two I had already played in August. So I set out to get the challenge done!

Image source: BGG

1. Tajemnicze Podziemia

This is about the one and only board game I can play during hard surges of work (which was basically the situation until late in August). So of course I had played it a lot. It’s a simple game really. You draw tiles, one at a time, and put them anywhere in a 4x4 grid. There are no placement rules, just do what you want. Once the grid is filled, it forms a “maze”. You can follow the path from the entrance and see how many treasures you get along the way. Treasures get you 1 point, monsters subtract 2. And that’s it. It takes five minutes to play, if not less, and I just gave you a full account of every single rule in the game. It’s that simple. Yet it manages to be fun due to some secret recipe that is truly the signature of Knizia. I can play many games in a row (usually about five), especially since set-up is minimal (grab a board, grab the tiles, shuffle, play). And I stop because I have to, not because it becomes boring after a while. Getting a perfect score (that is, grabbing all treasures and no monsters) happens from time to time, and unless I severely screw up, I am usually close to it.

This game has my strong recommendation if you like something casual and lighter than about any other game you can think of. It’s also very much not random so you can curse yourself abundantly if you make the wrong choices. Feeling in control, that’s one of the nicest things a game can grant you. Note that the game is in Polish, but an English translation of the rules has been made available on BGG by Lee Broderick.

Image source: BGG