Game Review: Gemlok

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, But Any Gems Are Good

Gemlok

Gemlok™ from Pywacket Games

Gemlok™ is a clever strategy game from publisher Pywacket.  Winner of both a Mensa Select® award and the Creative Child Magazine 2007 Game of the Year Award, Gemlok is played with a game board, two dice, 32 pawns, and a score pad.

On his turn, the player rolls the dice.  Five of the six sides show different movement patterns the player’s pawn may take; the sixth side shows the word “Gemlok”.  One pawn may be moved for the moves shown on both dice, or a different  pawn may be moved for each die.  If a Gemlok is rolled, one of the player’s pawns must be locked down on its square by the end of his turn.

The fun lies in the fact that the player may “bump” opponents’ pawns by landing on a square previously occupied by them.  Such bumped pawns may be moved up to three spaces in any direction, which of course plays havoc with opponents’ strategy as you manoeuver to lock down the most valuable gem spaces.

This game may be played by two to four players, but it works best with four as the board gets pretty crowded and there’s more possibility of bumping.  Play proceeds until either a player manages to lock down all his pawns, or until a certain number of rounds have been played.  Points are tallied, and a winner is declared.

This is a simple but fun light strategy game, quite suitable for ages 7 and up.  The bumping aspect is quite appealing to kids (and adults, too) and a game can easily be played in 30 minutes.  Highly recommended.

Ages 7+, 2 – 4 players, $24.99

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