IDW Games has an interesting set of titles at their disposal these days, both original works and titles based on established properties. When I saw my copy of Torres arrive in the mail for review, I was thrown back a bit as I’ve seen this game before. It was originally released back in 1999 and has gone through a few different publishers and incarnations over the years, all with their own take on the design. We took a crack at the IDW version to see how the current game works out.
You start by dealing out a specific number of tower pieces in specific sets, as you can see below we have two sets of three and two sets of two. Along with a deck of cards for each player depending on the color they chose and an Actions & Costs card. You’ll be doing a bit of resource management and a bit of strategic placement, so be aware of what you choose to do with the pieces and the cards you earn along the way.
The goal of the game is to build up your empire of castles within the space on the board in order to attract the attention of the king, highlighted by the red token on the board. Every turn you will build up or across on the territory you started out on, in an attempt to make your castles bigger. The board starts out like it does below with everyone taking a castle they prefer to start on and someone placing the king randomly on the board.
You’ll use a combination of placement and stacking to make all of your castles bigger, along with an assortment of knights at your disposal to claim new territories. Every player gets one turn to place a specific number of pieces on the board however they see fit according to the placement rules, which is basically anything except moving diagonally. They’re also given five action points to spend however they wish, which includes placing knights and drawing cards that may have extra incentives that will add to your score. Every player gets four turns around the board to place their towers, and lose whatever remaining resources are left if they fail to use them.
At the end of the round, points are tallied up to see how has the most space covered and the highest towers, using a bit of addition and multiplication. Each player’s score is kept on the outside of the board to see where everyone stands and how best to plot against the leader. The player who also manages to connect to the space the king is on gets a bonus, but that bonus is quickly removed when the player with the lowest score moves the kind at the start of the next round. The game will have you plotting against your opponents to connect kingdoms and take over territories in an attempt to quadruple their score in short manner, while also trying to make you spend your own resources in ways you had no intention of doing so.
I really enjoyed playing Torres again and having a few rounds where it wasn’t clear who might pull ahead. This is a very simple game once you get the rules down, and even the most confusing rules can be worked out through examples on the board. This makes a nice family game to teach competition in as well since everyone is vying to be the winner and there’s no way to team up, but you’re not really losing anything like you would in traditional family games like Monopoly or Life. I recommend it if you’re looking for something mildly challenging with strategy, but is also easy to grasp.