A to Z Gaming: Isolate

We tried to break tiles out of the pack in order to get ours off the board in Isolate, the next game in our A-Z game shelf play-through.

Basic Info: Isolate
Players: 2-4
Time: 45 Minutes
Designers: Guido Lap
Artists: n/a
Publisher: Educational Insights

Isolate is a divide-and-conquer game where players are attempting to isolate groups of tiles in order to remove all of their tiles from the board.

The game is set up with the board in the center of the players, and each player taking all of one color of tile (or two colors in the 2-player game). Players then take turns laying their tiles on the board, one-at-a-time, with each tile after the first placed adjacent to a previously-played tile.

On their turn, players push one row of tiles one space. In this game, a “row” is defined as at least 2 tiles – so you can’t push just a single tile around. If this action separates a group of tiles completely from the rest, the smaller group is taken off the board. If the two groups are the same size, the player can chose which group.

The first player whose color is completely removed from the board wins the game. In the 2-player game, only one of their colors needs to be removed from the board, not both, to win.

Isolate was another of our early gaming purchases. And another of our early abstract game purchases.

The game is fine. But, as usual, I’m just not very interested in abstract games. I suppose this could be a very thinky game, thinking through each possibility before choosing which row to push and which tiles to target for removal. I imagine that with more players the game could out-stay its welcome, since the board would change enough between turns that you wouldn’t be able to plan very far ahead. As a 2-player game, it was very quick, but mostly uninteresting.

How is it as a 2-player game? Isolate works fine as a 2-player game. You have two colors to keep track of instead of one, but it’s not a big deal. I suspect that at higher player counts the game will become too long, since the board changes enough between turns that you can’t plan ahead. However, with 2 players it’s less of an issue.

How about the art and component quality? There’s no art in the game, not even an artist listed, so not much to say there. The tiles are plastic, and they fit well in the grooved board. They also move satisfyingly within the grooves, with a “click” when they’re back in position.

Will this stay in my collection? No. Neither of us found it very interesting. We could try with more players, but there are enough other game on our shelves that I don’t feel the need.

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