Kuzushi: The Pocket Abstract Game

Kuzushi: The Pocket Abstract Game

February 10, 2020 0 By Ryan Sanders

Review of Kuzushi from Gobico Games.

Kuzushi is a game that literally fits in your jeans pocket, for 2-players (though there is a 4-player version called Kuzushi Seasons as well).  It comes from a little known game company, Gobico and is a game definitely worth a look. Check out this review from 2018:

Editor’s note: A version of this article was originally published on our brother site, The Inquisitive Meeple back in 2018. This article has been edited and an intro added (including the cutting out of an interview with the designer) to better fit the style of Adventures in Gameschooling. 

The Rules

Kuzushi (pronounced coo-zoo-she) is an abstract card laying game. Players take their color cards and will be laying them out in a 6×6 grid.  To win,  a player either needs to get rid of all their cards or have the most cards on the board when the 6×6 grid is full.

From Gobico Games’ website:

The Play

Kuzushi (pronounced coo-zoo-she) is a small, and I mean small, abstract game from Gobico Games. The game is a card-laying abstract that isn’t that much bigger than say Carcassonne tiles. It not only fits in the palm of your hand but also in the front of your blue jeans pocket. “Is it any good?” Yes, I can tell you that right from the start. A better question is “Is it worth buying?” Well, let’s find out my thoughts on that…

General Thoughts

As you can see at the top of this Q&Play, the rules for this game are extremely simple. You play cards on a grid and trying to achieve one of two goals.  You either want to have the most of your color on the grid when its 6×6 or you are trying to get rid of all the cards in your hand. As far as abstracts go, it is not much more difficult to understand than mainstream box store abstract games like Connect 4 or Othello. Though it may take a playing game or two to fully understand how its played.

I will say I am able to play the game with my 9-year-old, he understands the rules but has yet to beat me. Though he may get there in time. Though the box lists the game at 20 minutes, our games of Kuzushi last only 10 minutes (if that). There are no repetitive move rules that could end in a draw and the game has just enough depth to have fun while keeping everything streamlined and easy to grasp.

A game of Kuzushi in play. You can see the 6×6 grid has finally be determined.

Components & Game Footprint

Just because a game comes in a small package, doesn’t mean it will always have an extremely small footprint. Look at Circle the Wagons. It is an 18-card game that comes in a small vinyl wallet – but can take up quite a bit of space. Kuzushi, however, takes up very little space. A full 6×6 grid takes up only 12 or 13 inches squared. Though because your grid is fluid at the start of the game, you will want a 2 or 3 foot squared playing surface. Even though the cards are small squares, they are not uncomfortable to handle. This is primarily due to the lack of shuffling and fanning of the cards. They act more like tiles, so you can lay them in a stack. The card quality isn’t something I really noticed, they are not flimsy or feel like they are going to rip, so that is good. The tiny box they go in is just a small tuck box, that is the same quality is a cheap deck of poker cards. Nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done.

Comparing box to a Carcassonne tile, poker card and a US Quarter.

Rules

If I have one con to say about this game, it is in this area. The rules included in the game are printed on the front and back of one of the tiny cards. To get the “full rules” (which isn’t much more than what’s on the card) you have to go to their website. Even then, I ended up on a Skype call with the designer to make sure we actually played our first game correctly. My suggestion is to add another card with clarifications or some endgame text on one side and a QR code on the other that leads to a how to play video. The game is extremely simple to grasp once it clicks, but I think a “how to play” video would make it much easier. Actually, the simplicity in the rules can almost trip you up, because they are so simple. As a gamer I want to say, “yeah but what about this situation” – only to quickly realize that situation couldn’t happen.

Final Thoughts

Kuzushi is one of the best “pocket” games I have played. It would make a great “gateway abstract” to introduce people to the genre, who may be interested in abstract games, but don’t want to get into ones that have lots of rules or piece movement variations like Chess or Hive. Though let me say, even if you are into abstracts (like I am) that Kuzushi is still worth being added to your collection, as it is quick, very portable, and a great price at its $9 price point.

Note: We also should state that Gobico Games sent a free review copy, for an honest opinion on the game.

If you like to purchase a copy of Kuzushi, it’s available at Gobico Games’ store, by clicking here.


Ryan Sanders is the founder, owner, and editor-at-large of Adventures in Gameschooling. He’s also the guy behind its social media accounts. God has blessed Ryan and his wife Mary, with five children, which he homeschools. As a Christian, he believes that he should not only look out for your own interests but other peoples too (Philippians 2:4) and this is one of his guiding principles for Adventures in Gameschooling. Ryan’s expertise is informed by almost two decades of experience as a stay-at-home father and from the running The Inquisitive Meeple where he performed over 300 written and podcast interviews within the board game industry.