Calliope Games Gaming Kickstarter Reviews Tabletop Games Technology

Kickstarter Tabletop Alert: ‘Tsuro: Phoenix Rising’

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising
Studying Time: eight minutes

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising

The celebs have been stolen from the sky, and paper lanterns have been despatched as much as exchange them. Phoenixes, drawn by the lights, are reworking the lanterns into new stars. Be the primary to create a brand new constellation in Tsuro: Phoenix Rising!

What Is Tsuro: Phoenix Rising?

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising is a recreation for two to eight gamers, ages eight and up, and takes about 20 to 60 minutes to play (relying on participant rely). It’s at present in search of funding on Kickstarter, with a pledge degree of $40 for a replica of the sport, or $55 for the Kickstarter version (which incorporates some bonus elements). This model of Tsuro is a bit deeper and extra complicated than the unique, however I feel eight and up continues to be an applicable age suggestion.

New to Kickstarter? Take a look at our crowdfunding primer, and go to our Kickstarter curated web page for extra tasks we love.

Tsuro: Phoenix RisingTsuro: Phoenix Rising elements. (Prototype proven) Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising Elements

Word: My evaluate is predicated on a prototype copy, so it’s topic to vary and should not mirror ultimate element high quality. As an example, the ultimate phoenix pawns shall be plastic sculpts moderately than the flat 2D pawns seen in my photographs, and the lanterns will truly be molded plastic lanterns as an alternative of straightforward cubes.

Right here’s what is going to come within the field:

  • four interlocking recreation board trays
  • 36 Path tiles (16 Middle tiles, 20 Edge tiles)
  • Phoenix tile
  • First Participant marker
  • eight Phoenix pawns
  • eight Life tokens (glass beads)
  • 7 Lantern markers (three Pink, 2 Blue, 2 Yellow)
  • 50 Star tokens

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising path tilesPath tiles have edge-only paths on one aspect, and edge and nook paths on the opposite. (Prototype proven) Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The trail tiles will look considerably acquainted to those that have performed different variations of Tsuro: every one is a sq. tile, with numerous paths drawn throughout the face in straight strains and curves. Nevertheless, these new tiles are double-sided: one aspect has the normal Tsuro paths the place every edge has two paths main from it (although a number of have some additional wiggles only for taste); the reverse has some paths that lead into the 4 corners of the tile, and every edge solely has one path resulting in it, with the opposite area marked by slightly starburst.

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising center tilesThe tiles with golden sparkles are arrange within the middle and have lanterns on them. (Prototype proven) Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The paintings on the tiles is beautiful, with swirling clouds and small golden sparkles on the beginning middle tiles. The clouds additionally help in setup, as you’ll see under. All 16 middle tiles and three of the sting tiles have lanterns printed on them (on each side of the tile), with one aspect “lit.” I like that the lanterns have three totally different shapes, which can correspond to the lantern markers within the last recreation, making it colour blind pleasant.

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising game trayPushing down on the sting of a tile flips it up for straightforward removing. (Prototype proven) Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The sport board trays are plastic trays, every with a three×three grid. Inside every field of the grid, there’s a spherical bump within the middle, designed in order that if you place the tiles within the wells, you’ll be able to simply decide them again up by pushing down anyplace alongside an edge or nook of the tile. Because the tiles will typically be picked up, flipped, and rotated throughout gameplay, this can be a nice answer that makes it simpler to entry the tiles with out making a multitude of the remainder of the board. The 4 trays have small slots and tabs that make the entire thing match collectively simply. My solely grievance concerning the recreation trays is that they appear slightly incomplete when the tiles haven’t all been crammed in. For the prototype, at the least, the plastic on the underside appears extra completed (as a result of it has a matte floor) than the precise enjoying floor.

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising game traysThe underside of the tray on the left, prime of the tray on the appropriate. (Prototype proven) Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The best way to Play Tsuro: Phoenix Rising

You’ll be able to obtain a draft of the rulebook right here.

The Aim

The objective of the sport is to gather 7 star tokens, or be the final phoenix remaining.

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising setupA 5-player setup, with gamers able to enter the board. (Prototype proven) Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu


Assemble the sport trays and shuffle the 16 middle tiles, laying them out at random within the middle of the trays. Every of the middle tiles has cloud patterns across the edge on one aspect and scattered throughout the tile on the opposite aspect; they need to be flipped so that each one of them have the clouds on the sides. Then, place the lantern markers on the tiles that present “lit” lanterns.

Give every participant a phoenix pawn and a life token. Every participant ought to select a unique place on the surface fringe of the trays, dealing with an empty sq. on the tray. Shuffle the sting tiles and provides every participant two, putting the remaining in a stack with the Phoenix tile on prime. Give the primary participant marker to the youngest participant.


In your flip, you’ll create your path, journey your path, after which put together for the subsequent flip.

Create Your Path

For those who’re dealing with an empty sq. (as you’ll be on the primary flip), you place one of many two tiles out of your hand into the empty area in entrance of you in order that there’s a path related out of your place. Then, return the opposite tile to the underside of the stack.

For those who’re dealing with one other tile, you then decide up the tile you’re dealing with, and flip or rotate it so that there’s a path related to your place. (If there are different phoenix pawns or a lantern token on that tile, decide them up after which place them again into their unique positions after you substitute the tile.)

Journey Your Path

After making a path forward of your phoenix (whether or not by putting a brand new tile or adjusting an present one), transfer your phoenix alongside the trail till it involves an finish. If it goes off the sting of the complete recreation tray, place the pawn in entrance of your self.

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising path exampleThe inexperienced phoenix’s path collects the purple lantern on the prime. (Prototype proven) Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Alongside the best way, each time you allow a tile that has a lantern token on it, place a star on that tile. After your motion is full, transfer every lantern token that’s marked with a star to a different tile with an identical lantern. (You might not place lantern tokens the place there’s already one other lantern token, one of many star tokens, or your personal phoenix.) After you’ve moved every lantern token, gather all the stars on the board and place them in your personal scoring pile.

If the tile you positioned or adjusted creates a path in entrance of different gamers as nicely, they may even journey alongside these paths, amassing and shifting lanterns when relevant, in clockwise order.

Put together for Subsequent Flip

On the finish of your flip, for those who’re dealing with an empty area on the sport tray, draw two tiles from the highest of the stack (beneath the Phoenix tile).

There are a number of methods by which the phoenix can lose its life and is faraway from the board:

  • Shifting off the sting of the board
  • Colliding with one other phoenix (each are eliminated)
  • Getting caught in an infinite loop

You might also select to spend a flip by eradicating your phoenix from the board, and you’ll re-enter from the surface edge.

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising infinite loopInfinite loops (of varied styles and sizes) are attainable on this model. (Prototype proven) Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

To rise from the ashes (i.e., return to the board), you should discard your life token, after which play a tile in an empty area on the sting to enter the board. For those who should not have a life token, or there are not any empty areas to re-enter the board, then you’ve got been eradicated from the sport. (Hey, it takes one other 500 years earlier than you get one other probability at rebirth.)

Recreation Finish

If any participant collects 7 (or extra) stars, end the spherical so that each one gamers have had the identical variety of turns. The participant with probably the most stars wins; ties are damaged by remaining life tokens.

Or, if any participant is the final one on the board and not one of the different gamers are capable of re-enter (both as a result of they haven’t any life token or as a result of there are not any out there areas left), then the only survivor wins.

Superior Recreation

If you would like somewhat extra of a problem, there are some superior guidelines included as nicely. Right here, once you rating a lantern and transfer the lantern token, the unique tile ought to have the “dim” lantern displaying—if not, flip it over. Once you place the lantern token on a brand new tile, it ought to have the “lit” lantern displaying—if not, flip it over. Each of those flips might end in extra gamers shifting throughout your flip as a result of you’ll be able to have an effect on the tiles that they’re dealing with.

There’s a slight change to infinite loops, too—gamers usually are not eradicated, however should gather lanterns and can cease once they attain the primary star token. If the tile is flipped (on account of lighting or dimming a lantern tile), which will break the loop. In any other case, chances are you’ll flip over any tile inside the loop.

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising game in progressThe phoenixes race to mild the lanterns. (Prototype proven) Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Why You Ought to Play Tsuro: Phoenix Rising

First, a bit little bit of background: Tsuro was first revealed in 2004 by WizKids, and later turned one of many flagship titles when Calliope Video games was based in 2008. Since then, there was one new model (Tsuro of the Seas) and a digital model. The unique recreation nonetheless stays one among my go-to video games for brand spanking new and informal gamers, or once we’ve received an enormous group, as a result of it may well deal with as much as eight gamers at a time. It’s straightforward to study and fairly intuitive, and most of the people I’ve launched it to have loved it.

Now, for the 10th anniversary of Calliope Video games (and the 15th anniversary of Tsuro), Phoenix Rising takes that elegant gameplay and provides a couple of new twists that make the sport a bit deeper and extra complicated, whereas nonetheless retaining lots of what made the unique a lot enjoyable. You continue to comply with the trail round and check out to not fall off the sting of the board, however now you’re chasing these lanterns as they seem across the board.

As a result of the middle of the board is already populated with tiles (in contrast to earlier variations of Tsuro, which begin with a clean slate), this model is rather more about on the lookout for paths and manipulating paths to get you to these lanterns, relatively than constructing paths that maintain you on the board. There’s a little bit of guesswork about what’s on the again of a tile—when you strategy a tile from the nook, you don’t know for those who’ll shoot straight throughout or curve round to an edge if you flip the tile over. In fact, with repeated performs, gamers with an excellent reminiscence might begin to study a number of the tiles, however it will be quite a bit to maintain monitor of, and in my performs we principally simply took our possibilities. The reminiscence piece turns into notably essential within the superior recreation, the place you’ve the chance to flip over a tile whenever you transfer lanterns: with the proper play, you possibly can decide up a couple of stars and knock some opponents off the board throughout your flip.

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising 6-player gameA 6-player recreation in progress. (Prototype proven) Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The sport trays, whereas not as engaging because the cardboard-based grids of the earlier variations, definitely make it rather a lot simpler to control the tiles, and would have been a welcome addition to Tsuro of the Seas, which has daikaiju that roam the seas and may take away tiles. It could get somewhat fiddly for those who’re choosing up a tile that has a number of gamers on it, however general I discovered it to be simply managed.

To me, Tsuro: Phoenix Rising is a bit more elegant than Tsuro of the Seas (notably in case you included the ocean expansions); there have been simply extra guidelines to maintain monitor of, and the daikaiju moved randomly so there was extra random probability. Right here, the preliminary setup is random, however then a lot of the gameplay turns into strategic, as you determine the place the most effective place is to place a lantern in order that it’s not too straightforward in your opponents to succeed in.

The sport can final just a little longer than unique Tsuro (although not all the time), so the additional life is a pleasant contact: it signifies that you don’t get knocked out of the sport too early on after which have to attend a very long time for it to complete. Up to now I’ve solely had video games that ended due to a participant amassing 7 stars, however we’ve come very near having all however one participant eradicated.

General, I feel Tsuro: Phoenix Rising is a pleasant twist on the basic. It’s straightforward sufficient to study that you simply don’t must be conversant in the unique to play it, and the technique is totally different sufficient that followers of the unique could have one thing new to discover. Whether or not you’ve been enjoying Tsuro for 15 years otherwise you’re simply discovering it for the primary time, make a journey into the night time sky with Tsuro: Phoenix Rising!

For extra info or to make a pledge, go to the Tsuro: Phoenix Rising Kickstarter web page!

Click on right here to see all our tabletop recreation critiques.

 To subscribe to GeekDad’s tabletop gaming protection, please copy this hyperlink and add it to your RSS reader.

Disclosure: GeekDad acquired a replica of this recreation for evaluate functions.

Get the Official GeekDad Books!