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Gorinto Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look: Gorinto

Designer: Richard Yaner
Artist: Josh Cappel
Publisher: Grand Gamers Guild
Year Published: 2020
No. of Players: 1-4
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 30-60 min

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Gorinto. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.


tl;dr: Semi-abstract set collection game with variable (designed) set up and clean, elegant art. Plays quickly and with lots of tactical gameplay, especially at two players.

Getting to the Game: The rulebook provides a few examples of how best to set up the initial board, but basically, you're given a 5x5 grid and you have to put 60 tiles on it. The standard setup is a pyramid shape, with two tiles high along the outside edge, three tiles high on the eight middle spots, and then four tiles high in the center. These should be randomly placed, face-up from the bag. From there, add ten more tiles in order along the top and left edges of the board. Give each person a player mat in their chosen color and place that color scoring marker next to the wisdom (scoring) track.

You're also going to shuffle up the goal cards and add two of them to the goal spaces on the scoreboard. Shuffle the key element cards and add two of them as well. Place the season marker in Spring, and then Chwazi to see who goes first. Give that player the yen first-player coin, and get ready to climb the mountain.

Playing the Game: Each game is going vary in its scoring from another, some wildly, so any given strategy isn't necessarily going to always work. Not only is the setup random in where each of the tiles are, but depending on the pattern you used, the amount of tiles in each space is going to vary. What this amounts to is a fresh game experience with each session. This absolutely delights me, and in a game as quick as this one, it's also massively important for replay value. 

Ultimately, you're going to score points based on how many tiles you have in each stack on your player mat. The two scoring goals you chose earlier will dictate exactly how those points are tallied. On your turn, you'll choose a tile along the edge, and move it into the adjacent row or column. Based on the type of tile you moved, you'll claim some number of tiles near the final resting place of the moved tile -- for example, a fire tile means you can choose from the top tiles in the column; water lets you pick from the row. Just how many tiles you can claim from the mountain is based on your Understanding of the tile you moved. If you look at the player mat, you'll see that each element starts with a single symbol above the name. You add this symbol to the number of already-collected tiles of that element, and that's your understanding value. So, in the example pictured, we currently have a Water Understanding of three, so when we place a water tile, we'll be able to pick up three tiles from that row. You add the claimed tiles to your mat, increasing your understanding of those elements. For the most part, any Understanding over four is irrelevant, since there are only ever four other spaces you can take a tile from. This changes when you place an Earth tile, as then you can take as many tiles as you want from the space you just placed that tile onto, up to your Understanding.

While this seems complicated to explain, in practice, it's the essence of simplicity. Once you grok it, the majority of your turn is going to be figuring out just how many points each available space will net you -- which brings us to the first point I'll make here: as with most abstract games, AP players need to be aware of their triggers. You can very quickly derail a game by trying to math out every available outcome of FIFTY different placements (assuming you're the first person in the round). Absent this, games will be a pretty quick affair of people aiming to nab as many of the two key elements as they can while keeping their eye on the scoring goals.

Gorinto succeeds wildly where it aims; it's a tactilely-pleasing abstract game that's gorgeous to look at and has just enough tactical gameplay to feel like you're not completely at the mercy of the random tiles scattered on the board. With no hidden agendas to complicate the proceedings, there's definitely an aspect of the game where you see an optimal move and pray that no one else does, but of course, they always will. The goals mitigate this somewhat by forcing people to diversify in some cases. Early on in our testing, we played with a goal that allowed you to score points based on the difference between your tallest and smallest stacks. Since no one wants to take zeroes on either of the two key elements, in a three-player game, this means you're all going to have to pick an element to avoid. In a four-player game, someone's going to have to make some hard choices. It won't always be like that, but with limited resources, and those resources literally being the only way to score other resources, there's a delicate, delicious dance to be had here. In a four-player game, you're going to notice the mountain dry up quickly, so make your moves early, and try to play ahead -- if you can.

Also, Kickstarter friends are going to get the Dragon tiles expansion straightaway -- these are tiles you can shuffle into the tile bag at the beginning of the game. They serve as wildcards, allowing you to put them in any stack you want. However, once they're there, they can't be moved. So choose wisely.

Artwork and Components: While the assets I have on my table are definitely not final, what's here and what's pictured on their KS page are encouraging. The overall aesthetic is pleasing and simple, with clean lines and a welcoming palette.


My concerns with the components are mostly space-related. The board can get a little cramped, and while I don't have the for-sure production-ready pieces, for my money, the mountain board needs to be at least 10% bigger. As it stands, you can't really get your fingers in between taller stacks of tiles without pushing everything around, and while the stacking tiles pictured in the campaign solve the issue of my tiles being easy to skew all over the place, a tad extra space would really go a long way towards making everything look a lot nicer. The 3D sculpted season marker and metal coin for the first player token are both nice upgrades to the KS edition, so don't skip on that.

The Good

  • Compelling visuals, 
  • Easy-to-learn mechanics
  • Strong theme
  • Goal cards keep every game fresh
  • Quick play all but guarantees an immediate rematch
The Bad
  • Can have runaway leader issues
  • Mountain board feels cramped and interacting with the (admittedly) prototype pieces feel clunky
Score: Grand Gamer's Guild has a strong pedigree of games that have a catchy hook, and keep things relatively simple while maintaining a strong sense of involvement. Gorinto follows in these footsteps by providing a gorgeous table presence without sacrificing gameplay. Fans of abstract games and thinky titles without being paralyzing should love this latest offering. I'm giving Gorinto a score of On the Path.


About the Author:

Nicholas Leeman has been a board game evangelist for over 10 years now, converting friends and family alike to the hobby. He's also a trained actor and works summers as one of the PA announcers for the St. Paul Saints, a professional baseball team. He lives in Minneapolis, MN with his board gaming wife and son.

You can find Nicholas' articles HERE.
Gorinto Kickstarter Preview Gorinto Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by The Madjai on February 20, 2020 Rating: 5

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