Pylos Review

Pylos game on display

A new game that one of my friends brought over was a little game called Pylos.

In Pylos, the point of the game is to place the top-most piece of the pyramid. Each turn a player chooses where to place a new piece. If they are able to form a square of only their color by placing this piece (or a line in the advanced version), then they are allowed to remove 1-2 pieces of their color that have been placed. This continues with the players placing (and removing) pieces back and forth until the pyramid has been complete.

Now for the pros and cons. The first pro is that Pylos is a very pretty game. In fact, my friend who brought it over told me that he purchased it because he thought it would look good sitting on a table - indeed, this is a very nice looking ornamental game.

The next pro is that there is more strategy than there initially appears. Between having to block your opponent from forming lines (and squares), as well as trying to setup your own, there is some definite give and take in the strategy.

However, even though the depth of strategy is better than expected, it is still not what I would call "deep." In fact, unless you play the full version with both squares and lines, the game winds up stalemating much too often (like tic-tac-toe). In fact, when we first played the game, we almost gave up on it (I had written a review where it got a 2.5). After re-looking at the rules, we found the advanced set, and it gave us enough depth that we thought the game was tolerable.

The next con is that you can spend way too much time going back and forth removing pieces.  Some of the games we played wound up having me form a square and removing some pieces, which then freed up my opponent to form his own square and remove pieces; now I would be free to form another square or line and remove pieces.  And then he could.  And back and forth until you're not convinced that the pyramid is actually growing instead of shrinking.

Overall, I give Pylos a 6.5/10. It is a game that I could play every now and then, and I can think of much worse ways to spend 5-10 minutes, but overall, I think that my friend was right; this game is pretty. If you are interested in a pretty game, this would be a good option. Otherwise, there are much better spatial reasoning games (Yinsh, Dvonn, Gipf, etc.)

Like abstract strategy? You might want to read about Zertz, Quoridor, Quadrago, and Punct.

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