22/06/2024

Bound, a print-and-play abstract game for two players [Preview]

It’s been a while since our last endeavour with an abstract game. A no-nonsensical for two, especially. Well, it’s Bound to happen soon, though, as we have our hands on Corin Elliott’s upcoming Kickstarter project. Bound is supposed to be a print-and-play game. 

With nothing but a printed piece of paper to start playing, I didn’t have much to comment on the components. Nonetheless, Bound comes with a simple approach, artwork-wise, in which the reddish touch of autumn is dominating the scene. There are two badgers lounging near the circle. They are cute. I think I would just print one and frame it, hanging it as a decoration in my room, too.

Disclaimer: We had the preview copy for this review, and it was not the final version. There might be possible changes and alteration from the publisher regarding the components, printing and build quality, rules and concepts in the official released product.


A short disclaimer before you read my board game analysis

As an avid euro gamer and hardcore Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) LCG player, my reviews may reflect a preference for these styles, and I may not cover solo games/variants extensively. Please note that my personal remarks are based on my gaming experiences, and I aim to provide honest insights within the scope of my preferences.


Going deeper to the game itself, Bound has a fascinating concept as its basis. The board projects a dodecahedron, a three-dimensional shape, in a two-dimensional plane. All board game geeks must have known this figure, though. We know it better as the D12.

Unlike chess, the tokens are not moving from one tile/surface to another. Instead, their motions shift between vertices. The whole idea is not to capture the enemy’s stones, but rather to trap one of them, making them unable to move around at all.

One vertex has access to three other vertices. Thus, although it sounds like a piece of cake, confining one stone out of four of your opponent is practically challenging.

While in the offensive stance, we may not forget to defend our pieces as well. It creates a smart and flowing dynamic between players, which can be pretty punishing when one makes a small mistake. 

Bound is pushing both players to devise two to three steps ahead. It is definitely a deep strategy game, although one must admit that the gameplay is comparatively simple compared to the modern abstract games out there. The rule is relative easy to grasp. One requires a short period of time to understand the entire concept and to teach it to the other new player. It does open the window for higher replay value, though. 

As mentioned, Bound is an abstract game. There is no attachment between the gameplay and the theme. No background story whatsoever. That would be a pet-peeve for some players, especially who hold the connections between thematic touch and the core mechanic in high regards. 

Verdict

With a one-pound-price-tag, I don’t think entry barrier is an issue for this game. Bound, despite its low fare and simplicity, still offers a great depth in its overall gameplay. It also comes with artworks that please your eyes, too. Easy to learn and to set up, Bound would hit your table more often than you’d expect. 


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