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MIJNLIEFF

This game from Hopwood Games /XVgames.it is an Andy Hopwood game from about ten years ago that has only just been brought to my attention. As we are in Lockdown and only allowed occasional meetings with our 'bubble' my wife and I have been playing most games as 2-player, so playing games of Mijnlieff that is really meant for 2 players and only last 10 minutes has been a superbly entertaining.

   

These four pictures (2 up 2 down) show how a game proceeds - they are in order but not sequence, left to right top and left to right lower. Players (generally) only lay one tile per turn.

 

The idea of having the board printed on the velvet bag is both neat and clever. The bag flattens enough so that the wooden pieces, though not heavy, can be placed flat on it and stay where they were put throughout the game.

There are only four different pieces, both players having two of each, thus starting with 8 tiles ready to place one at a time on a 4 x 4 grid - the patterns on the grid map are places where tiles can be laid, the patterns have no other in-game meaning.

 

The start player positions one of their tiles on any edge space and the tile they play determines where the second player can play. This is because each pair of tiles has a directional icon, orthogonal or diagonal, or a closed or open circle. These effects of the tiles are only activated when they are played, thus a player may put a tile next to an opponent's tile which has the 'cannot place adjacent' effect as long as it isn't immediately after the 'cannot place adjacent' was played.

If a tile is played with the Cross or Diagonal icon then the opponent has to play their tile in any space that is inline. If you cannot play a tile, mainly because the other player has been very clever in the placement of their last tile, then you miss a turn and the crafty opponent gets to play another tile anywhere, disregarding placement rules but bringing their tile's effect into play.

When we started our first game our impression was that this was just Noughts and Crosses on a larger board but with knobs (ie 'effects') on. That impression was just from reading the rules - first player plays a tile then you play a tile etc. After Fran placed her first tile I sat there for a full minute before selecting and playing my first tile and from then on what we thought was going to be a fast paced game was a battle of wills (and in my case, won'ts). It's a very cunning game with traps that can take a while to see.  

The only thing that may occur, it hasn't yet with us but it is possible, is that someone figures out a winning strategy, or at least a way of ensuring a draw at minimum; like Noughts and Crosses, if you go first you should never lose. I hope this isn't the case with Mijnlieff because at the moment it is really enjoyable, though there is a slight advantage to the opening player, at least until you know the pieces well enough to be able to play them to your advantage and the opposition's disadvantage every time - you cannot waste a play or a tile; to do so is disastrous.

The author has provided four blank tiles, made from floor tile material, each with a cross dividing each tile into four sections. These are to be used for variants of play or for when you want to create a design that is different from the basic 4x4 grid. The game play the same way but obviously the positions for the tiles to occupy are different, plus you may get the added complication such as 'Does the diagonal reach across table space when there is no tile space between the newly laid tile?' This, of course depends on how you create your board. There are given examples naturally, but it's always good to experiment, so have fun doing so,

 

 

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015