Beautiful Games….

Heya folks,

As many of you have already noticed, the Tak kickstarter has been fulfilled.

(Dear Andrew, I’d like you to be the official Tak spokesmodel. And I’m not just saying that because you’re way *way* pretty. It’s because your presentation here is absolutely flawless.)

The vast majority of you who backed the kickstarter have your goodies now. And while a few of you might not yet, that’s mostly due to international shipping, or because some people never answered their Kickstarter surveys. (Imagine me giving you a disappointed-but-still-loving dad look here.)

But yeah. The big news is that games have been showing up at people’s houses for months. It’s exciting for me to see people finally getting to have their own copies. And not just playing it, but really kinda loving it.

Not only have folks been playing it, but they’ve been taking it out in public, showing it off, and making friends….

There’s been some very nice photography done, as well as some political commentary.

This was one of the more pleasantly surprising tweets I saw from fellow author Sabba Tahir.

I’d always assumed that Oot (age 7) would be too young to play. But hearing that Sabba’s kid and others had been successfully learning the game, I thought I thought I’d try him out…


We started on the 3×3 and he eagerly moved up into a 4×4 game. Then he wanted to play the 5×5….

Everything said, he took to it pretty well. He’s no mastermind, but… well… neither am I. And he won fair and square one game when I wasn’t paying proper attention.

Most importantly though, we had a good time. And I’m looking forward to playing more with him in the future.

In terms of games being shipped out, we haven’t just fulfilled the kickstarter. We’ve also completed shipping out all the pre-orders people placed in The Tinker’s Packs. That means that as of now you can order the base game, cloth or wooden boards, the Tavern set, and all the other Tak Swag over in The Tinker’s Packs. Not only will we ship it out to you straightaway, but you can sleep soundly at night knowing that all the proceeds go to charity.

Companion_Book_For_Real-real_1024x1024(I have to say, the companion book turned out pretty nice as well.)

If you’ve been enjoying Tak, feel free to share your pictures and stories in the comments below. You can also review the game on BoardGameGeek. It’s the biggest game review website out there, so a good rating there will do a lot to help get the word about Tak out to people.

Last but not least, Tak has already been nominated for a Golden Geek award for 2016. So if you’re a frequent user of BoardGameGeek, you can head on over and vote for it in the 2-player category.

So… yeah. I’m glad you guys have been enjoying it. And if you missed out on the Kickstarter, feel free to swing by the Tinker’s Packs and pick one up. Or more than that. Don’t worry. I won’t judge.


This entry was posted in Beautiful Games, Oot, The Tinker's Packs. By Pat35 Responses


  1. Posted February 22, 2017 at 6:31 AM | Permalink

    We’ve been enjoying it. My six-year-old has gotten pretty good and his beat me a couple of times and my husband several times. So far every friend I’ve introduced it to has really enjoyed it.

  2. Danielle White
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 6:45 AM | Permalink

    I can’t believe Oot is 7!!! I remember when he was born (not in a creepy way; we just happen to share a birthday, which Sarah and I discussed when I was in line to meet you once).

    • cynrtst
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

      I remember too!! And the “not where the breast milk comes from” story from a signing.

      • Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

        Heh. I haven’t told that story in a long while….

  3. James
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

    Had a cottage board games event with my friends last weekend. I used it as an opportunity to introduce Tak. It was instantly popular, and almost everyone tried a round of it. Two players played it almost exclusively.

    Only Settlers of Catan was played more often, partially because more people can play it at a time, and mostly because it’s really difficult to dethrone Catan. But Tak has definitely taken a place on the podium of our most played games.

  4. Thosetimis
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:11 AM | Permalink

    Just wanted to say that my Devi’s box is literally the most beautiful thing I own

  5. Tamazine
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    I’ve brought it to our local game store and discoverEd several other people at the store that also did the kickstarter. We’ve played several games, and the last one was gorgeous and lasted almost half an hour. We played courtly style and backed up several times just tone see the game get better!

    • Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

      That’s my favorite way to play, too. When I was playing with Oot, he won early on the 5×5, then we backed up two moves and played through the new game.

      After I won that game, he said, “But I still won *first* right?”

  6. 1999Brock
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

    I hate to be that guy. I really do.
    But my Tavern set arrived a few days ago, and it was missing a piece. Not only that, but the light capstone has a sizable chunk missing, which goes right along with similar wounds (missing corners, mostly) on several of the other light pieces.
    You guys usually do such great work (confirmed by the arrival of an absolutely gorgeous Classic set and a coin that makes me happy to look at), so I was really surprised to see this happen.
    Thanks for listening, and thanks always for a beautiful game!

    • Posted February 22, 2017 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

      That’s disappointing to hear. Worldbuilders itself wasn’t in charge of the production, only a portion of the fulfillment.

      Even so, can you drop us an e-mail so we can sort it out?

      • Cheapass Games
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

        Hey! We’re sorry to hear about your defective set. We’re always happy to replace broken or missing pieces. You can reach us at [email protected].

        Team Cheapass

        • Arydis
          Posted February 24, 2017 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

          Methinks Cheapass should have some sort of cameo in future Ambrose content.

        • 1999Brock
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

          Hey, y’all—you should know how awesome the Cheapass customer support team is. First off, check the timestamps on those comments up there—within about three hours, they saw my comment and invited me to get in touch. Once I did, they replied *three minutes* later.
          I’m thoroughly impressed, and am happier than ever to have supported such an amazing game produced by such great people.

  7. MrPensees
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    I got Devi’s box, so mine shipped way early. My boyfriend and I were playing one night (best 3 out of 5) and we were tied on the last round when I decided “I’m going to try actively using walls in my strategy” and beat him spectacularly. In that moment your description of the strategy opening up like a flower clicked. It really is a beautiful game.

    • Posted February 22, 2017 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

      Yeah. It took me a long time to figure out the true utility of the walls. They’re not the disadvantageous purely defensive piece that I thought they were at first.

  8. danwor82
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

    My wife and I have been obsessed since we got it to a few weeks ago. I agree with the above comment, with my only connotation being, be careful if using too many walls because then you just hinder your own as well ????.

    • danwor82
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

      … , be careful of using too many walls because then you just hinder your own movement as well ????.

  9. outerspaceguy
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

    I had a random thought today. What do you think of maybe becoming an amazon third party seller? I wonder if it would be better to put some percentage of your items in their fulfillment centers and thus allow us to get free prime+2day shipping (saving us potentially $20ish when we live far away — like AZ) You could even charge a little more for the items, we’d maybe even still pay less overall(items+shipping), and we’d know that extra money was going to you (instead of to the shipping company).

    No idea if that idea is workable, but figured I would throw it out there for consideration.

  10. James L
    Posted February 23, 2017 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    It’s a great game! I took my set in the bag with me on my trip around Europe and I’ve played with a bunch of people in Hostels in France, Italy, Spain and now my friend in London. It’s a relatively easy game to explain and good for travel because all you need is the coin for a center!

  11. davedujour
    Posted February 23, 2017 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    I received my Devi’s Box in December and my other sets last month. I love the Tavern Set (small, travel sized) so much that I ordered another set from Tinker’s Pack. So I could split it between mine & my GF’s sets (she got her own via the Kickstarter) and we both could play 6×6 travel set.

    I’ve also made my own set of pieces and given them to a friend. Two Scrabble tiles glued together is almost the exact same size as the Tavern Set.

    I enjoyed watching the USTak Open games. I learned a lot just watching those players. I can’t wait for the 2017 tournament to start so I can get my a** handed to me roundly.

    • davedujour
      Posted February 23, 2017 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

      Also, my Tavern Set is going to be a staple of my Fest costume next fall. I hope to introduce many a person to the game during those weekends.

  12. mynameistawny
    Posted February 23, 2017 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    I am part of a Facebook Group and when I posted that I got the game and wanted to play with someone in the Chicago area, I received about 10 marriage proposals.

    I didn’t realize it would be so easy! I’ve been dating all wrong. :P

    So thanks, Pat!

    • Posted February 23, 2017 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

      We should really use this in our marketing.

  13. Taylor
    Posted February 23, 2017 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

    Need this! Finally a tavern game good enough for me to pretend that I don’t live in the 21st century!

  14. Bfroese
    Posted February 24, 2017 at 7:07 AM | Permalink

    I’m a bit disappointed in the pricing of the game. You don’t get a lot compared to board games of a similar cost. This will have to be a pass for me.

    • Posted February 24, 2017 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

      Well-made wooden pieces are expensive. Especially when they’re made here in the US.

      We could have made some shitty plastic thing and outsourced the production to a Chinese sweatshop, but that’s not how we roll around here.

  15. lolzbuckets
    Posted February 24, 2017 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    I got my Kickstarter pack in the mail recently and played it with one of the several friends who I’ve shoved your books down the throat of. He loved it, and I loved it, and I wanted more pieces so we could play on an 8×8 board. Side note – you also drove me to buy a decorative polished hardwood chess board to console myself over not being able to afford Devi’s Board, because that was one of the most beautiful pieces of woodwork I have ever seen and I am a sucker for beautiful hardwoods.

    So I ordered Crazy Martin’s sack of stuff (and one of those pretty coins that I didn’t notice during the Kickstarter) and now I’ve got enough pieces to play an 8×8 game, and described it to a friend of mine who is a mathematician and avid player of chess and go as something he would enjoy because it shares qualities with both of those games. I was about to say that this beautiful game was probably more complex than chess but less complex than Go when I realized that…the only thing stopping me from playing it on a Go board was the fact that I have no idea how many pieces you would need to play Tak on a 19×19 board. Also, from a logistical standpoint, playing on a Go board wouldn’t give me enough space to place the pieces, let alone stack them 19 stones high – but let’s ignore physics for now.

    • lolzbuckets
      Posted February 24, 2017 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

      I took a few minutes to puzzle out the math, and if anyone wants to check my logic and let me know whether or not they agree, that would be awesome.

      To play on a 19×19 board, each player would need 160 stones and 9 – 10 capstones. The math I used irritates me because it doesn’t really work cleanly, but it does seem to work.

      Assume that a capstone has variable value based on the size of the board, and each player must be allocated sufficient pieces to match the number of spaces on the board. So for a 5×5 board, a capstone is worth 4 stones. Each player gets 21 stones and 1 capstone, so a value equivalent to 25.

      For 7×7, a capstone is worth 6 stones. Since each player gets 40 stones, with 1 capstone each player’s value is 46, and with 2 capstones each player’s value is 52. Both numbers are equidistant from 49, so that’s close enough.

      And finally, at 19×19, a capstone is worth 18 stones, so each player gets 160 stones and either 9 or 10 capstones.

      This bothers me because it doesn’t seem to follow any real pattern. For boards larger than 5×5, you increase the number of stones by 10, but as the boards get larger and larger this ceases to be a significant enough increase. There’s no (logical) reason you couldn’t play this game on a board 50×50 board, but at that point having 470 pieces might be nowhere near enough. I know that intuitively it seems like it would be, but on a 50×50 board there are 2,500 spaces, meaning that even if both players play pieces and don’t move them for the entire game, all their pieces combined would never be able to cover even half the board.

      So I propose a different way to determine how many pieces populate a board.

      To determine the value of a capstone for a board of a given size, take the number of sides on a board and subtract 1.

      To determine the number of capstones needed for a board of a given size, take the number of sides on the board and round it up to the nearest even number, divide that number in half, and subtract 2.

      To determine the number of regular stones needed for a board of a given size, take the number of capstones, multiply that by the value of a capstone, and subtract the total from the number of squares on the board. Result:

      5×5 = 21 and 1 capstone
      6×6 = 31 and 1 capstone
      7×7 = 37 and 2 capstones
      8×8 = 50 and 2 capstones
      19×19 = 217 and 8 capstones
      50×50 = 1,373 and 23 capstones
      100×100 = 5,248 and 48 capstones

      It’s not as easy to remember off the top of your head, but it lets you increase the size of the game arbitrarily without having to memorize anything at all.

      Ever since the game took a physical form, I always pictured Bredon bringing in a big fancy marble Go board that was also a table and he and Kvothe playing on that. Bredon struck me as eccentric enough to have his servants haul around a literal table to play Tak on. Realistically, it was probably closer in size and scale to a chess board, but it’s fun to think about.

      • Posted February 25, 2017 at 2:49 AM | Permalink

        When you say there’s no logical reason not to play a 50×50 game, I’m afraid you’re misusing the word logical. I think what you’re trying to say is that there’s no *Mathematical* reason not to play a 50 x 50 game.

        There are a *lot* of logical reasons not to. For example:

        Premise 1. Stacking is crucial to the game.
        Premise 2. It is not physically possible to make a 50 piece stack. (Let alone move it.)
        Therefore, You shouldn’t play a 50×50 game.

        (That’s a simple logical syllogism.)


        Premise 1. Games should be fun.
        Premise 2. A Game of Tak that takes more than 6 hours to finish would not be fun.
        Premise 3. A 50×50 game of Tak would take more than 6 hours to finish.
        Therefore, You shouldn’t play a 50×50 game.

        Now you can argue with the premises here, 2 or 3 most notably, But you can’t argue with the logical structure. That’s what logic is.

        What you do then is kinda interesting. You extrapolate a mathematical progression from the piece counts for the game, then you say that the mathematical progression bothers you, and you offer a *better* way.

        I get where you’re coming from. I too am a pattern seeker. Most geeks are.

        The problem here is that you’re looking toward a mathematical pattern as some sort of grail here. But claiming a game should scale according to a formula misses a huge point. Specifically, that games need to be *playable.* The number of pieces was developed so the game will be playable and enjoyable. To think you could scale it out infinitely according to a formula and maintain the same level of playablity and enjoyment is… well… it’s missing the point of game design. If things were that simple you could scale tak down to a 2×2 board and play that way. Or you could scale chess up to a 24 by 24 board and play with three times more pieces.

        And yes, I know, you *can* do that, and some people do. But you know why not many people do?

        Again, it’s because the game doesn’t really work at that scale. Which is why people play regular sized chess.

        I will say though, the way you pulled it apart and put it back together uses some interesting math.

        • lolzbuckets
          Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

          I actually agree with you 100%. I spent a disturbingly long time debating whether to use “mathematically” or “logically” there. I even went as far as dragging my friend into playing the game with pieces at 5×5 and 8×8 as recommended by clever game testers and as my math dictated, and him being a mathematician, he quickly came to the same conclusion you stated: no real math behind it, but it seemed to fit, so it was probably the number that made the game more fun.

          Conclusions from our testing: game is most fun on smaller scales. 19×19 would take hours and not be as enjoyable, and while it is POSSIBLE to stack 19 high, you will knock everything over if you to move a stack.

          Differences between mathematical progression and easy-to-remember numbers of pieces were totally negligible for games on an 8×8 or smaller board.

          Honestly, we figured this out pretty quickly once it went from thought experiment to actual gameplay. I like patterns and math and thought experiments, but you’re definitely right that just because you can hit it with a math stick doesn’t mean you should. I mean, I was skeptical of how fun the 3×3 version would be, but I spent a solid half hour playing 3 minute 3×3 games with a full grown adult who does math for a living. This game is incredibly well-designed.

          • lolzbuckets
            Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

            This has me thinking about 3D and 4-sided chess, though. Wacky and complicated versions of games have always had a certain appeal for me even if they aren’t fun to play.

            3D Tak. o_o

          • pacifist
            Posted February 25, 2017 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

            3d tak, where the board is a globe and the goal is to make an equator

          • Posted March 2, 2017 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

            I was surprised by the 3×3 and 4×4 games when I tried them too. They made me finally take walls seriously….

  16. Posted February 26, 2017 at 3:15 PM | Permalink


    I’d actually love to collaborate. I have some fun ideas and some great friends and resources here in LA to make some cool stuff. I’ll write a more detailed message through your contact page.

  17. Friar_Tuk
    Posted February 28, 2017 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    Tak is a wonderful game! I’ve played three times, been beaten every time, and loved every minute of it. Played once with two of my sons: ages 11 and 13.

    The 13yo beat me savagely; no subtly, no “beautiful game”. It was the shortest of all the games I’ve played. After, he said, “Well that was boring,” and I cracked up!

    The 11yo beat me through slow, methodical strategy. He played silently and deliberately. We filled most of the board, and the game was beautiful.

    I’ve never had so much fun losing over and over!

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