Thrift Treasure: Oshi Abstract Game
After I finished designing the game of Gekitai, I posted links to the Abstract Games forum on BGG. The reactions were incredibly positive, and many enjoyed how quick and simple the game is. I believe “elegant” was the term I heard most often. It’s not uncommon for gamers to compare one game to another if it reminds them of something they’ve seen before.
The most common comparison I heard about Gekitai is that it reminded people of Oshi. I wasn’t familiar with Oshi at the time, but thanks to this year’s Geekway to the West flea market, I was able to find a like-new example for only $5. Now I could finally determine if there were similarities or not!
Like many abstracts from more than a decade ago, the quality of the components is better than average. Oshi includes a custom solid wood board and sixteen detailed plastic pawns. Unfortunately, humidity has taken its toll on the board because it is well-warped – almost to the point of being unusable.
Like Gekitai, the game play is very straightforward. Each person begins by setting up their side of the board in a predetermined configuration. Pieces are either one, two or three units tall.
This signifies both how many spaces they may move and how many pieces they may push. The object is to knock off seven or more points worth of opponent’s pieces before they knock off that many of yours.
Movement is only orthogonal (no diagonals) and as part of the movement you may push pieces which are your own, your opponent’s, or a combination of both. Any that fall off the board are captured. You take your opponent’s pieces, while they take yours.
In the end, the only thing like Gekitai is the pieces are pushed off the board. Otherwise, they are quite different games. What was more interesting to us was the advertisement included inside the box for Tsuro! We had always considered it a Calliope Games title. It turns out that before that company began, Tsuro was originally offered by WizKids and Oshi was a follow-up game!
If you’d like to add Oshi to your own collection, there are still brand new (sealed) examples on eBay for reasonable prices. It’s not one you’ll find at thrift. Yard sales are a good possibility for saving a few bucks. Or a flea market at your local game convention!
What wooden-board games do you own?