A to Z Gaming: Ingenious

We laid tiles to create strings of symbols in Ingenious, the next game in our A-Z game shelf play-through.

Basic Info: Ingenious Travel Edition
Players: 2
Time: 30 Minutes
Designers: Reiner Knizia
Artists: Michaela Kienle
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games



Ingenious is a tile-laying game where players make points by matching strings of symbols.

The game is set up with the board in the center and pegs placed in the “zero” position of each color counter track. Players each take six tiles from the bag and place them in the slots on the board – this is their “hand.” The bag of tiles is placed nearby.

On their turn, players place one of their tiles on the board. For their first turn, the tile must touch one of the pre-printed symbols on the board. After that, they can play anywhere as long as the new tile is touching a previously played symbol on the board.

The player then looks at each symbol on the newly-played tile and counts up how many of that same symbol lines up with the newly-played one in each direction (not including the new one). They then move the counter for the associated color. If a player maxes out a color, they get to play an additional tile that turn (without drawing back up).

Play continues until no more tiles can legally be played. Then players look at the position of each of the colored pegs, and the lowest-numbered one represents their score. Player with the highest score wins.

Ingenious Travel Edition is another game we picked up early in our gaming “career.” I’m sure we played it a few times after we bought it; though, it’s not one that came out very often.

When we sat down to play, I think we were both dreading it as yet another early abstract game purchase. However, the game turned out to spark our interest more than most other abstracts….Andrew more than me, but I wouldn’t object to playing again. There were some interesting decisions – do I continue the string of symbols to score better, or cut it off so my opponent can’t score it? Do we pack in the tiles as much as possible, or play inefficiently to reduce the total number of tiles?

How is it as a 2-player game? Ingenious Travel Edition is made as a 2-player game, and works well as such. There are interesting decisions, and you are able to plan ahead (as long as you have a couple alternatives) because the board won’t change too much.

How about the art and component quality? Well, there isn’t exactly a lot of art. The symbols are all different colors and shapes to help distinguish them. The tiles fit neatly on the board and are made of a durable plastic. However, the trackers on the side are very fiddly, and a couple of the symbols are less than clear, given how small they are – the color helps to make up for that, though I still had to pause a few times to make sure I was moving the right one. This is a very early edition, though, so that may have been updated in later versions.

Will this stay in my collection? We’ll keep it for now – Andrew expressed that he liked it, so it may come out now and again.

One Reply to “A to Z Gaming: Ingenious”

  1. This sounds like a game I would like. When I was growing up, we played more abstract games than other kinds so these types of games bring back fond memories even though I feel like I’ve “moved on” to more advanced and complex thematic games.

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