O.G Willikers - The game does not save when you exit: Sometimes I have a surprise visitor or the dogs need to be let outside and I had to exit the game. This is particularly upsetting when we were trying to work towards a hard achievement for Steam.
Princess Kuchi Kopi - Uneven numbers of game pieces: So many game developers get it stuck in their head that you MUST have an exact even number of all your pieces. To me, personally, most games like Tatsu or Tzaar that give you less of certain pieces are sooooo much more balanced games as a result. Having only 2 fire dragon pieces makes WHEN you put them into play and how you use them major decisions.
OGW - Detailed stat/achievement page: I dig that for both your own games as well as globally, Tatsu provides a number of stats such as how many games and stones have been played, dice rolled etc. etc.
OGW - Possible to win by crippling your opponent’s moves - I tend to play more like a turtle than any other style. I like finding the safe moves and slowly cripple my opponents, bending them to my will. Tatsu is well designed in that it lets you do just that as you lock up an increasing number of your opponent’s pieces. With effective Vine dragon use, you can slowly not only stop your opponent from moving a piece, but potentially lock up multiple spots on the board-- giving you a safe buffer to move past and putting your opponent near a VERY dangerous section of the board.
OGW - I like that it uses my Steam avatar as my avatar in game: I also really love that it actually looks BETTER than it does on Steam. I wish that smiling punk kid with his tongue out always looked that good!
OGW - 5 levels of varied A.I increases accessibility for all: The developer spent time working and reworking the A.I. The A.I on the Dragon Master settings (the hardest level) does not really make mistakes as it is programed take into account the distance between pieces and dice roll probabilities for example. Dragon Master can and will beat even the most skilled player, if they are making mistakes that is. For less skilled players, there are helpful information bubbles that pop up letting the players know they are committing an illegal move, as well as what a good solution may be. With easy rules, helpful illegal move tips and 5 levels of difficulty Tatsu should be fairly accessible by players of all skills.
Princess KK - Controls are a mixed bag: While the mouse and keyboard controls are a joy, the touch pad and gamepad controls are not perfect. With the touchscreen, you had to double click often, as it would not recognize your first touch. There were also times when we would select a piece to move and no matter how many times you would click it, it would not move. The gamepad worked, but was counter-intuitive. When you wanted to go clockwise, you had to move the controller counterclockwise. This was not a huge issue, but more of a learning curve.
OGW - Skill beats luck: Princess and I both felt about 70% skill to 30% luck. The better player still will win the majority of the time. Heck, the Dragon Master A.I proves we may even be off on our percentage here. But with every single turn being based around dice rolls, it is fair to say there is a good degree of luck still present in Tatsu. Rolling 2 dice and deciding which dragon to move first does help mitigate the luck in those rolls thankfully. There are also several smart design choices such as making the red dragons freedom hinge on a location so close to the opposing players start area. Luck in an abstract game still feels odd to us though!
Mutiplayer is there but dead: Asynchronous play and skill rankings are available and will help match players to equal level players. Unfortunately though, every attempt we had at quick matching other players failed. Custom match making attempts also failed when match times were set to several minutes or less.
Princess- Tatsu is a fun little abstract. I love that it is a two player only game and that it is very easy to learn. The concept was pretty easy, though I truly do wish that there was a little more theme or art represented in this game. The developer recreated this game on Steam to replicate the original physical board game, but like we said above, it would have been nice to have the pieces look like dragons. I do enjoy the weight that each dragon has. This is not often done enough in abstracts. There are only two red dragons, so their power is balanced yet they still feel so very powerful. This game gives you constant opportunity to weigh risk and reward. I would play this game again, but it better be the digital version- I’m really horrible at remembering which direction my pieces are supposed to go; the digital version will always tell me, “Wrong way, dummy!”….Ok, so maybe it says it nicer than that, but I appreciate the pop up nonetheless!
The Lonely Punk - Part of why I often love abstracts is because they feel like games of pure strategy. Tatsu is a game that while still more about skill then luck, has a larger degree of luck than many abstracts. This made it so my first reaction was to think I just flat out disliked Tatsu. However, the more I played, the more I saw luck of the dice is moderated by having a wealth of options. First, you always have numerous pieces on the board and thus numerous immediate actions. Second, the dice are not added together—instead they represent two separate moves. This means those range of options are now multiplied as each Dragon may be able to move twice.Third, there are so many ways to protect your dragons such as leaving them in the bin or leaving them protected by other units. There were games where I let a vine dragon hold my opponent’s vine dragon versus moving him to a red dragon just because it protected him from being taken and thus costing me the game. These factors make it so you rarely have a reason to feel luck is ruining your life worse than your new step-dad who insists on walking around in his stained tighty-whiteys. It’s kind of hard for even an epic whiner like me to complain about luck when I have two dozen different moves I can make. So, I give Tatsu a Thumbs up. It has a few issues, and it does still use dice rolls in an abstract game, but it is a game I will keep playing periodically as a filler between meatier games.