# Take It Easy

A game for 2-4 people by Peter Burley, published by F.X. Schmid

Take It Easy is a quick little game of simultaneous puzzle solving. Although a single copy of the game includes boards and pieces for only four players, using multiple sets will allow you to play with many more. In fact, Alan Moon ran a Take It Easy game for over 150 people once - but then, he worked for F.X. Schmid at the time and had access to lots of copies of the game ...

I'm told the sets sold in the U.S.A. in English already have components for eight players - cool! I haven't seen one - I have the basic German edition - so read the box carefully before believing that.

### Components

The game is small and fairly inexpensive. You get four small boards, each with 19 hexagons arranged in a large hexagon shape, like this:

```
_____
/     \
_____/       \_____
/     \       /     \
_____/       \_____/       \_____
/     \       /     \       /     \
/       \_____/       \_____/       \
\       /     \       /     \       /
\_____/       \_____/       \_____/
/     \       /     \       /     \
/       \_____/       \_____/       \
\       /     \       /     \       /
\_____/       \_____/       \_____/
/     \       /     \       /     \
/       \_____/       \_____/       \
\       /     \       /     \       /
\_____/       \_____/       \_____/
\       /     \       /
\_____/       \_____/
\       /
\_____/

```
Each player takes a board and one set of 27 unique tiles, which are also hexagonal shaped and fit in the smaller hexes on the board. Each tile has three lines on it, running from the center of one edge of the hex to the opposite edge. The lines are different colors and are marked with a number. All of the vertical lines, as you read the numbers, are either 1, 5, or 9. Those running from the lower left to upper right are either 2, 6, or 7. And those running from the lower right to upper left are either 3, 4, or 8. The line for each number has a unique color: red, blue, green, yellow, turquoise, orange, pink, fuchsia, gray.

So a single tile might look like:

```
_____
/  9  \
/       \
\7     8/
\_____/

```
You'll have to assume a line running from the top to the bottom of the tile through the nine, and likewise through the 7 and 8 to their opposite edges.

### The Basics

Each person sorts their tiles by type: all the "9s" together, all the "1s" together, and all the "5s" together, for example. One player, however, mixes his tiles face down in the box lid so he doesn't know which are which. This person is the "caller."

When all are ready, the caller draws a tile at random and reads it off. (We read our tiles as top number, left number, right number - so the tile shown above would be "9-7-8.") Each player finds their 9-7-8 tile and places it in any open hex on their board - even the caller. The caller then draws another tile, reads it off, and each player places the new tile on their board. And so on until all 19 spaces of the board are filled in, and only eight undrawn tiles remain in each player's stockpile.

When the boards are full, each player scores their board, and the highest score either wins the game or possibly just the round, if playing multiple rounds.

### Scoring

You only score for connecting an entire row of the large hexagon with the same colored lines. Your score for that row is the value of the line (1-9) times the number of spaces connected (3-5). Count all solid lines running up and down, lower left to upper right, and lower right to upper left.

As an example of an incomplete board (so it wouldn't really be scored yet), the player would score 45 points for the 5-hex north-south column (five 9s), 12 points for the 3-hex lower-right to upper-left row (three 4s), but nothing for the 5-hex lower-left to upper-right column, because they aren't all the same number (mixed 7s and 2s), for a total so far of 57:

```
_____
/  9  \
_____/       \_____
/     \2     4/  5  \
_____/       \_____/       \_____
/     \       /  9  \6     4/  1  \
/       \_____/       \_____/       \
\       /     \6     4/  5  \7     4/
\_____/       \_____/       \_____/
/     \       /  9  \7     4/     \
/       \_____/       \_____/       \
\       /  9  \7     8/     \       /
\_____/       \_____/       \_____/
/  1  \7     3/  9  \       /     \
/       \_____/       \_____/       \
\2     3/     \6     3/     \       /
\_____/       \_____/       \_____/
\       /  9  \       /
\_____/       \_____/
\6     8/
\_____/

```

### Decisions

The game gets very interesting the more tiles are drawn. No one really pays attention to the other players' placement of their tiles on their own boards - there isn't any point in it. Instead you focus on your own, and begin to mutter and grumble as the caller draws yet another blasted 1-2-X that you don't want to have to place!

Indeed, the entire point of the game is optimizing your score, but you don't know what tiles will be drawn. Consider: there are nine tiles of each number. Very well, you want the 5-hex north-south column to have all 9s in it, to maximize your points there. But what if only four of the 9s are drawn? There are eight undrawn tiles at the end of the game, remember - what if even five of them are 9s? Then perhaps it would be safer to build a four-hex column with 9s ... And so on.

Here's an example. Suppose the board looks like this:

```
_____
/     \
_____/   A   \_____
/     \       /     \
_____/       \_____/   B   \_____
/     \       /  9  \       /     \
/   C   \_____/       \_____/       \
\       /  5  \6     4/     \       /
\_____/       \_____/       \_____/
/     \6     8/  9  \       /     \
/   D   \_____/       \_____/       \
\       /  5  \7     8/     \       /
\_____/       \_____/   E   \_____/
/     \7     3/  9  \       /     \
/       \_____/       \_____/   F   \
\       /     \6     3/     \       /
\_____/       \_____/       \_____/
\       /     \       /
\_____/   G   \_____/
\       /
\_____/

```
What do you do if the caller now draws the 9-6-8? You have some good, unbroken rows and columns going here, and don't want to ruin any. You could put it at either A or G, helping the main north-south 9s column. But 6 and 8 are good numbers - you hate to put such a tile in a spot that is in two 3-hex rows. Very well, you could try to expand the 8s row at C, E, or F. Or maybe you should just go with the 6 row at B or D.

If you decide to get risky and put it at E, it would look like:

```
_____
/     \
_____/       \_____
/     \       /     \
_____/       \_____/       \_____
/     \       /  9  \       /     \
/       \_____/       \_____/       \
\       /  5  \6     4/     \       /
\_____/       \_____/       \_____/
/     \6     8/  9  \       /     \
/       \_____/       \_____/       \
\       /  5  \7     8/  9  \       /
\_____/       \_____/       \_____/
/     \7     3/  9  \6     8/     \
/       \_____/       \_____/       \
\       /     \6     3/     \       /
\_____/       \_____/       \_____/
\       /     \       /
\_____/       \_____/
\       /
\_____/

```
This looks good at first glance - no broken rows yet! - but is actually very risky. First, by not helping the main 5-hex north-south column, you're hoping for at least two more 9s to be drawn. Second, by placing it in a 4-hex column, you're probably dooming that to incompletion. That's because if you fill the 5-hex column, you would then need all nine 9s to be drawn to fill in the 4-hex column as well. Do you feel lucky?

### Why Wouldn't You Like This Game?

Some people just don't like simultaneous puzzle-solving games. In a way, it's like Flickwerk, except that there's no time element.

It's very abstract and a little dry - it's just numbers, no theme at all. You might not like such abstract games, although it's short enough that it shouldn't bother most people.

It's very short - a game takes maybe ten minutes. You might not think such a short game is worth your while.

### Summing Up

This is an excellent game for filling short time periods. It's worth having two sets for up to eight people, in fact - something to play while waiting for that last person to arrive, perhaps, or while waiting for the pizza delivery person.

We even keep a score sheet in the box for record scores. We don't record every score, just those that beat the old record. So there's a little ongoing competition for us with this game, giving it a little extra edge.

Nice game, simple, easy to understand, not as cerebral as it sounds, quick to play - you'll find people asking for a rematch. Recommended.

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