Posted July 31, 2015 by Amy in Board Games

Tugie (Tabletop Game) Review


The lazy days of summer are in full force, with all the outdoor fun the comes with it. But after an exhausting day at the pool, the beach, or the campground, what better way to wind down than with an evening filled with family game time? Finding the right game that is challenging and fun for a variety of ages can be tough though, especially if you have novice readers in the household. But it’s well worth the search when you come through with a great game that all your kids will enjoy.

Tugie is just that sort of game. Though it’s meant for just two players at a time, it is both easy to pick up on yet challenging to master – and fun for a whole range of ages. There isn’t any reading involved, and each game takes only around fifteen minutes – perfect for sneaking a quick game in on busy nights, or for getting in the whole family involved in a tournament style game night.  Set up is simple. Tugie consists of just a few pieces, all of which are made from sturdy materials that can stand up to a whole lot of game nights.

The base of the game is a tall metal pole, which is attached to a sturdy wooden base, which makes the whole thing stand nice and steady. A steady base is important, because tugie involves some pretty tricky maneuvers. Along with the base, the game contains the pieces, which look like a bit like a ball cut across its center. Each piece has a flattened bottom, and a notch cut into one side, with a short string protruding from the other side. To set up the game, you stack the pieces end to end up the pole. The notches on the pieces allow them to slide onto the metal pole, so everything stacks up nicely. There are twelve standard pieces, in the colors of blue, red, yellow, and green, as well as a dark gray piece which is meant to top the stack.


Once the pieces are all set up, it’s time to play. The game contains one die (also made of wood), which has circles of the various piece colors on its sides, as well as a white tugie side. To start the game, the youngest player rolls the die. Whichever color turns up, the player must attempt to remove it from the stack without disturbing any other pieces. If the piece is removed without any pieces falling, it is placed at the top of the stack and the next player rolls the die and continues play. It’s a very simple concept, and easy to grasp for even young players.

There are a few caveats to the play though. First, the piece removed must come from below the dark gray piece. This makes it a little more challenging, as it’s always easier to remove a piece from the top rather than the bottom. If the color you roll isn’t present between the gray piece, you can choose any color you like to tug. If the gray piece itself reaches the bottom, it must be tugged as well, so that it can be returned to the top of the pile. And the white tugie side on the die? If that turns up on your roll, you have to tug two pieces out simultaneously, still while trying to keep the other pieces from falling. It’s challenging indeed, and often leaves a very unsteady pile for the next player in line.


So what happens if you do knock some pieces off when you’re trying to tug a piece out? You must keep any pieces that fall (unless it is the gray piece, in which case you’ll return that to the stack and keep the piece you were tugging instead). Keeping a piece here and there isn’t too big of a deal – and in fact makes play a little easier because there are less pieces on the pole to fall. However, dropping too many will lose the game for you, as the first player to reach six pieces kept loses the game, making the other player the winner by default.

Tugie is just the type of game that busy families are looking for. It’s well made, so you don’t have to worry about ripped pieces (or chewed up cards, for those families with toddlers). The mechanic is very simple to understand, a plus for families with younger players. And yet, it’s a challenging game that’s sure to illicit plenty of giggles when the pieces go flying. My testers young and old had an equally good time with it, and that’s no easy feat.


U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)