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Fugue Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look: Fugue

Designer: Jason Leonard, Adam Glass
Art: Thomas Robb
Publisher: Lost Age Games
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 1–4
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 15–30 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

For most people who have heard the word before, fugue brings up thoughts of music. The game Fugue uses the psychological meaning--a period during which a person suffers from a loss of memory. The duration of amnesia can lead to people wandering or starting a new life because they don't remember their past.
In the game Fugue, players are competing to recapture their lost inner self by creating tile pairs of mind tiles they can score when moved to their Passion Area. Dealing with abstract concepts of the mind created some confusion when we were first learning the game. However, once it was understood the levels of the mind are only names for the areas used in play made the game easier to understand.
Setup for a 3-player game
The first game of Fugue took a little longer as players worked to understand the complete range of moves they could make. All tiles are placed face up so you know what the other players have (we are all playing as part of a singular mind). And each player has the ability of using sets created in front of them to move any of the tiles in play, not just the ones in their section of play.
The next couple of games played smoothly as we began to understand some of the intricacies of play. The rules are easy to understand. I think the concept was making it harder for some players as they were trying to work the theme into the gameplay. With the follow up games, the theme moved into the more cerebral position above the mechanics. Players were enjoying the competition and the twist of events as other players manipulated the Mind Tiles in play.
Along with a score card, each player has three areas of the mind in front of them, Imagination, Vision, and Passion. And there is a shared area for all players, Depth. In the center of everyone is the Depth. Radiating out from the center are Passion (closest to Depth), then Vision, followed by Imagination, which is closest to the player.
In a shared area is a bag of Mind Tiles and the four fugue meeples. From the bag each player draws 2 Mind Tiles and places one on each side of their Imagination Tile. There are 5 different Mind Tiles. There are tiles for each area of the mind, Imagination, Vision, Passion, and Depth along with Spirit Tiles.
3-player game with the first draw.
The object is to create pairs of tiles in the Passion Area of your side of the mind. Each set scored has a different point value. The player with the highest score at the end of the game has taken control of the mind. Unfortunately, this doesn't give the power to control the other players.
There are only a few basic rules to follow with Fugue. The resulting possibilities of movement is where the strategy builds.
On the layout, Depth is a discard area for used and discarded Mind Tiles. Each of the 3 other areas can only have 4 Mind Tiles, 2 on each side of the Area Tile, just remember the mind can only hold so much.
On your turn, you move one of your Mind Tiles from your Imagination Area to your Vision Area. The tile can be by itself or made into a set with another tile already in play in the Vision Area. If you already have 2 sets in your Vision Area, you must first move one set to the Depth and then move a tile from your Imagination Area to your Vision Area.
If you have a set in your Vision area, from prior or just created, you can choose to activate it. Activating a set allows you to move a Mind tile from one area to another or take a Fugue action.
Movement is done by moving a Mind Tile from the area identified by the left-hand tile in the set to the area identified on the right-hand tile of the set. This movement isn't limited to the areas in front of the player, it includes all the tiles/areas in front of all players. You can move tiles into other player areas and out of them. You can move Mind Tiles that are in another set. When breaking a set, the one tile moves, the second tile is placed in the Depth. Once a set is used, both Mind Tiles of the Set are moved to the Depth.
A regular movement set
A set can also contain a Spirit Tile. Spirit tile sets can be used to create and destroy Fugues. Fugues are marked by use of the different colored meeples and they allow the player to use Spirit tiles as the Fugue(s) they have on their score card. This allows for additional ways to make sets to move Mind Tiles.
After making your moves you can discard a Mind Tile from your Imagination area by moving it to the Depth, then draw enough tile so you are back to two in your Imagination.
Play continues until there are no more Mind Tiles remaining to be drawn. At that point, at least one Spirit Tile is removed from the game, usually the Depth, and the tiles in the Depth are placed in the bag. The game ends when the bag empties and 4 Spirit tiles have already been removed.
A spirit set
Theme and Mechanics
I liked the concept of the mind for a game of abstract strategy. The use of the tiles and making sets provides many different combinations that each game we played was different than the previous. The limitation on the number of tiles and how they are recycled into additional rounds worked well.
Artwork and Components
The artwork is symbols used to represent the areas. This allowed the game to be kept to a more compact size along with creating a randomized timer of play. The components should hold up for many games.
The Good
  • Cabin game (small and easy to transport)
  • Filler game

Scoring for sets
Final Thoughts
We enjoyed Fugue. We have enjoyed different strategy games with rules allowing multiple options for how a play is made. These are not different levels of exceptions, just a wide range of options with how a tile is placed and the set it creates. Then how and when to use them, before someone else does something to change the layout of the board.
The musical fugue is the building of a theme to the climax of the piece. In many ways the game makes a wonderful combination of the two definitions.
Players Who Like
  • Abstract strategy

Check out Fugue on


Hits KICKSTARTER Oct 1, 2019.

Daniel Yocom - Reviewer

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines along with stories, after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.com.

See Daniel's reviews HERE.
Fugue Kickstarter Preview Fugue Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by Guild Master Gaming on October 01, 2019 Rating: 5

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