Ishido - The Way of the Stones
- Machine: PC
Take a look at the shelves of your favorite software store: The majority of new games for sale are either edge-of-your-seat role-playing adventures or action-packed simulators. If you prefer games that are more contemplative, take another look to find Ishido: The Way of Stones.
Ishido is an amalgam of many games from many cultures, based on traditions that go back thousands of years. Its primary inspiration, though, is drawn from the games of ancient China. Ishido is a very simple game to learn that nonetheless requires a subtle strategy reminiscent of chess.
Each player (you can challenge another person or the computer) works with a pouch of 72 pieces called stones. Each stone is decorated with one of six colors and one of six symbols. You take turns placing the stones one by one on the game board in order to match colors and/or symbols with as many other stones as possible.
If you match two stones of the same color or the same symbol, it's called a two-way. A three-way requires matching two colors and one symbol, or two symbols and one color. A four-way - the ultimate goal - requires matching two colors and two symbols. That's really tough, but the game puts a big premium on four-ways, especially consecutive matches.
Ishido has stunning graphics, particularly for a board game. You can choose from a number of different boards and stone sets (such as runes or hieroglyphs), which makes this game a visual as well as a mental feast.
There are also several play and scoring options. In the "ancient" variation of the game, the object is to place as many stones on the board as possible, leading to a more slowly paced and contemplative game. In the "modern" variation, the object is to score as many points as possible (which, for some, may detract from the game's charm). You can also set time limits for moves.
If your nerves have been frayed by the games you've been playing, perhaps a few hours with Ishido: The Way of Stones is just what you need to put everything into perspective.
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- Machine: Sega genesis
Another new Genesis game on the way is Ishido: The Way of Stones. It's the first Genesis title from Accolade, a well-known maker of computer games.
Ishido is a puzzle game that joins other Genesis puzzlers such as Klax, Columns, and Shove It!: The Warehouse Game.
Ishido is said to be based on a very ancient game once played by people all around the world. Legend has it that the game was rediscovered by a Taoist priest studying archaeological data, and that the priest introduced the game to modem players.
Reflecting its world-wide roots, Ishido offers a choice of seven different boards and sets of playing pieces. The seven sets are labeled Gemstones, Alchemy, Native Americans, Egypt, China, Stonehenge, and Japan.
Ishido finally hits the Gameboy screen! Perhaps even more enjoyable on the go, Ishido uses a gameboard that you must fill with tiles of different styles and colors.