I wrote a review of Ta Yü. It’s in Finnish, as usual.
Ta Yü is one of the most beautiful games in my collection. I just love the plastic tiles, which remind me of Mahjong. It’s the same kind of heavy plastic. The game, which is an abstract game with German origins, does a pretty good job pretending to be a Chinese classic. The theme is about Chinese legendary hero Ta Yü who prevented a flood by creating rivers and thus diverting the water to the sea.
That’s what players do. Players try to create outlets for the river network formed by the tiles. There are two players: one is working on the north-south and other has east-west-direction. The final score is the product of the river outlets on each side. So, if you get four on one side and six on the other, you get 24 points. Very clever!
The game is simple. Pick a tile, place a tile. Tiles have to continue the previous river network, obviously. It’s all very intuitive and easy to teach. Game can be played with two players, of course, but also with two two-player teams. If you have a third player, that player plays the flood and tries to sabotage the other players. That should be interesting, but as it requires three players who are already familiar with the game, I haven’t been able to try it yet.
It’s a pretty game and a good gateway game for non-gamers. It’s a bit dry, perhaps, but looks spectacular. Unfortunately the English version is out-of-print and if you can find it, it’s very expensive because of the tiles. Still, I consider mine a good purchase — it’s one of those games I really expect to enjoy for years to come. Thanks to the plastic tiles, it should last decades.