There’s one element of Geode that I will defend to my dying days: the Grid.

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In Geode, you are limited in the number of tiles all players can play to 8 tiles deep and 8 tiles high. You can only place tiles outside this grid if you cannot legally place tiles within the grid. It might sound odd, but it wouldn’t do if every game was the same, right?

Some of the reviewers have expressed concern that this limit seems odd, but if you step back and consider the primary requirement for any game: structure, you’ll soon see why this is the case.

You need structure in your game. You need rules and boundaries. And it’s the literal boundaries that the Grid maintains.

It might seem odd to be limited in the dimensions of the tiles you can place, but think about it. You’re playing a tile-placing game where you’re making shapes out of four tiles. If you could place those tile anywhere, you could have a board that’s 20 tiles deep and 3 tiles long, which would mean you’d never be able to make any connections and you’d be playing with yourself, just building your own geodes with no threat from anyone.

Believe me, I’ve tried it. We started with no grid, then moved to a 6 x 6 grid (too tough – try it sometime – it’s harsh), the 8 x 8 grid that we settled on, and finally a 10 x 10 grid. And the 8 x 8 is about right for the number of tiles in the box. Anything more and that tight game is lost.

I have to explain this endlessly, but once you “get it ” you realise how crucial to the game the grid really is.

And being able to “open” the grid is equally important. A game would come crashing to its knees if you couldn’t place additional tiles when there were no legal positions for them; so being able to open the grid a line or two makes all the difference (and it IS only a line or two, I’ve seen a few 10 x 8 games and one 10 x 9 and one 11 x 8 game – out of hundreds and hundreds of games).

So there you go. The honest reason why the grid is so important in Geode. I guess it’s the reason why you can only dig so deep in Minecraft and why Magic the Gathering has a 7 card hand limit.

But if you disagree, pick up a copy of Geode next week and check it out for yourself. You’ll come swiftly to the conclusion that the grid is your very best friend.

Unless you’re about to play a ruby tile to complete a geode and the player before you beats you to it! 😛


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