Updated: Oct 24, 2020
Fugue is a 1–4 player game from Lost Age that comes in a small box. The game is simple to teach. Each player has an area where tiles arrive on the board, next to that an activation area, then a scoring area before, finally, all players share the same discard area. Tiles are drawn from a bag and placed in the arrival area. On your turn, you move a tile from the arrival area into the activation area, making a set if possible, then you can activate your set to take a move, and then finally you can discard a tile from their arrival area before drawing back up.
The sets that are made is where the action is – by pairing a set, players can take a tile from one area and place it in another. Players can use this action to create scoring sets, to break up an opponent’s tiles and to mess their scoring sets, to create Fugues (special sets to be used in combo with other tiles), or just to shuffle tiles about to set something up for a later turn. By creating a Fugue, a player can turn the spirit tiles in the game into whatever tile type matches their Fugue. This can help create more scoring opportunities as well as messing with their opponents by forcing them to create their own Fugue sets, or by destroying their opponent’s existing Fugues. The game plays over four rounds with a tile removed each round to keep track.
Fugue is highly interactive and can be aggressive: scoring opportunities need to be taken quickly, and then players tend to peg each other back. The solo game is more puzzle-like as the player knows what the AI will do, but it is still an interesting challenge, and the difficulty level is scalable. With two players, it is possible with the right tile draw for an opponent to almost lock out the other player. The addition of more players helps here; although players inevitably gang up on the leader, the multi-player interaction makes for interesting decisions.
Fugue is highly portable: once players know what they are doing, all the required components fit in the bag that comes in the game box, and with two players, the space needed to play is minimal, so this is a good potential travel game.
Designer Adam Glass has themed the game around areas of the mind but, to be honest, this doesn’t really come across in the playing. In some ways, the use of the thinly veneered theme makes this essentially abstract game seem more complicated than it is.
Simple to teach but full of interesting moves and options, Fugue should appeal to fans of small footprint games with room for clever play. The game is due to launch on Kickstarter in early October. We'll add a link to the KS campaign when it goes live.
(Review by Steve Berger)