Pyramids, Piles of Spheres……Gigamic named this game perfectly!
I wish I could say I played it perfectly. But I can’t. I am so far from a perfect Pylos player that I have almost come full circle! Or should that be sphere?! Nevertheless, to me, a game I like playing even if I lose is a marker of its success... And without doubt, this is one I want to play again and again!
In case you haven’t guessed, Gigamic has spoilt us again with a game slash sculpture made entirely of beautiful wooden components. There is a lovely wooden board, with a grid of 4x4 indents. There are 15 spheres in light wood and 15 spheres in a darker shade of deliciousness, rolling round the outside in the “reserve” gullies.
The object of the game is simple; be the player to place their colour sphere on the very top of the completed pyramid. Sounds therefore very much like a straightforward race to the summit.
But, not so straightforward in fact! Each time you create a square of your own colour, you get to either (1) move one or two of your own spheres (which aren’t supporting any others) back into your reserve or (2) somewhere else on the grid. If you create a mixed square, you can take one of your spheres from somewhere else on the board and stack it on top to form the next level, locking the pieces in underneath.
Of all the games in the Gigamic Abstract Strategy Collection, I think Pylos is my favourite. Not only is it visually stunning and lovely to hold, but the dynamic nature of the build-out gets under my skin. When I am doing well, I love it. As I see myself getting closer to the summit, a smile tickles my lips and my eyes. But then my opponent completes a square and they are overtaking me. And that rankles. My determination cranks up another level until it's either smiles all around or scowls abound. If I win, I want to play again to prove it wasn’t a fluke. If I lose, I want to play again for another shot at victory. Either way, I want to play again.
Plus, Pylos has advanced and easier variants to keep both pro-husband and developing son happy when gaming. There is also a travel version, Pylos Mini, for when I need that puzzle hit off compound (and a GIANT version for fun convention play!). I am honestly happy to play extra hatey or with a little more flex, whatever suits the room. But, either way, rolling the smooth wooden spheres around in my hands helps take the sting out of being thoroughly bested by my opponent - whatever their age and ability!