Ingenious is a board game for 1 to 4 players. Players take turns placing colored tiles on to the game board matching existing colored symbols already on the board. Gameplay is somewhat similar to Scrabble and dominos, except your are matching colored hexagonal tiles.
Ingenious was originally released in 2004, and has been updated and rereleased by Kosmos Games again in late 2023. In 2004, Ingenious was nominated for the coveted Spiel des Jahres (Game of the year) award.
Ingenious is a family-weight game for ages 8 and up. Ingenious is extremely easy to learn. But it still has a good amount of depth for serious players.
What’s in the box?
- 120 Tiles (each with 2 colored symbols)
- 1 Fabric bag
- 4 Tile racks
- 1 Gameboard
- 24 Score pegs (4 sets of six different colors)
- 4 Score boards
- 6 Duel game tokens
How does Ingenious play?
Gameplay is very simple. Each player drafts 6 tiles from the bag, and places them on their tile rack. Players then take turns placing 1 tile on the board. The placed tile must match and be placed adjacent to a matching color or tile already on the board. (All six colors start on the empty game board, and all can be used at any time).
Players score points when one or both of the colored symbols on the newly placed tile match adjacent colored symbols printed on previously placed tiles or the gameboard itself. Players will be scoring points every turn. After a player has placed a tile on the board, they will replenish their tile rack from the draw bag.
The game ends when no more tiles can be placed because there are no more empty spaces.
Final scores are determined by the lowest scoring peg on everyone’s boards. The player with the highest final score wins. See example above.
Likes, Dislikes and Final Thoughts on Ingenious
Ingenious is nice family-friendly board game. It is a very simple game to teach. People will pick up the rules in just a few minutes.
This is a good “thinky” type game, but not overly stressful.
The game does not overstay its welcome. Games generally take 30-45 minutes.
I like that the board scales for group size. The board size varies for 2 players, 3 players and 4 players. Four players use the full board. Three players don’t use the outside ring. And two players don’t use the outside two rings. See photo below for shading differences.
Final scoring requires you to play all colors. You simply cannot always play the power move on one color, because you can’t ignore your colors that are falling behind.
Final scoring is easy. You simply look at the worst score on every player’s boards. The best of the worst scores is the winner.
The scorings pegs are really hard to jam into the cardboard score board. I know this keeps them from flying out, but it still requires some hand strength.
The plastic tiles are very light, and are moved easily by sleeves or if someone accidentally bumps the board.
Final Thoughts on Ingenious
Ingenious a great family weight game. You can teach everyone the rules quickly and start playing. It really does not get much simpler than Ingenious.
This is also fantastic filler game on game nights. You do not have to dedicate an entire game night to playing Ingenious. This is a good warm-up game for a long game night, and/or a good finishing-game after a long game night.