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3 Highly Competitive Games With No Components

5 Minute Read
Apr 1 2019

Sometimes you don’t have the resources to play a strategic and tactical game. Don’t worry, these very serious games don’t require any components at all!

Not too long ago, we discussed some games that only require pen and paper to play. The response was very good and people asked for more of the same. I’m always one to deliver where I can, so I thought, “If people like games that only need 2 things to play, they will love games that require zero things to play!”

So let’s dive right in.

Combinatoric Struggle

Combinatoric Struggle is a competitive abstract strategy game for 2 players. The goal of each player is to have the highest valued construction at the end of the game, which takes place over 6 rounds. Unless a player can’t find a valid point value for their construction during their turn, in which case they lose.

In each round of play, players will determine the starting value of their initial construction. This value can be within any range, but starting smaller is usually a good strategy. Both players announce their starting construction value and the game begins. The first player is the one with the lower starting value.

During their turn, they will note the value of the other player’s construction and, based on that information, determine a new value for their own, declaring it aloud. As with initial starting values, the value can be within any range, but with the added restriction being the new value must be greater than that of the opponent. This is where the game’s strategy really shines through.

In determining a new construction value, a player could take a safe play and choose a value that’s only a few points greater than the opponent’s. This is a safe play since you can be sure it would be easy to find a value that’s only, say, 4 or 5 points higher than whatever the opponent’s value is. However, a riskier play would be jumping ahead a much greater value. You’re risking your opponent being able to counter with an even greater value and if you can’t discover a valid value in response, you’re going to lose.

“Should I go with 45 or 7,134,817?”


The base game comes with all the set of all whole numbers. But there are also expansion boxes that includes the rationals and constructables. Although, the fan base has been clamoring for an expansion for the imaginary and the non-computables.

Twilight Imperium: Mentis Oculi Edition

Fans of the Twilight Imperium series will love this latest expansion which really streamlines the setup time of the game and drastically reduces the ‘fiddly-ness’ that drive so many people away. Twilight Imperium: Mentis Oculi Edition simplifies gameplay by removing all the components of the game, and relying on player skill and mental acuity to keep track of the game state. And they do this without changing gameplay at all! Very impressive.

Starting setup for Twilight Imperium: Mentis Oculi Edition

TI:MO admittedly does require a good understanding of the base Twilight Imperium game before being able to play. Since the expansion removes the physical aspect of every game component it is up the the players to be able to retain the current game map, the location of their ships, the player boards and others. This expansion is only for the most skilled veterans of Twilight Imperium who are looking for that next step into this highest strategic game.

The main benefit is the decrease of setup time. As fans of Twilight Imperium will tell you, the setup can be a little overwhelming and a deterrent towards playing. However, TI:MO reduces setup time incredibly. Similarly, once the game is over, the time to get everything back into the box and packed away is practically null, since there is no box.

The expansion has been released by Mental Synthesis Entertainment and they’ve done a fantastic job. I’m hoping to see some of their work on other games in the coming months. I’d love to see a Mage Knight: Mentis Oculi Edition sometime soon!


Claim The Victory

Claim The Victory is a competitive party game for any number of players. The goal of the game is to be the first player to claim victory, which might sound easy, but there’s so much more to it than that! People like party games because they are easy to learn welcoming for all players. Claim The Victory is certainly one such game. The rules take only a few minutes to explain so everyone can start playing right away!

Claim The Victory uses a similar game mechanic to that found in The Mind, a game released last year which drew a lot of attention for its highly abstract gameplay. In The Mind, players each have a hand of cards and are trying to play them in increasing sequential order, without any communication between players. The idea being, the players have the weigh and gauge how long they think they should wait before playing their card, since playing cards out of order will force a loss for the players.

Claim the Victory plays off of this idea and spins it in a really interesting new way. Rather than a hand of cards, each player is waiting to see which player will claim victory first. As with The Mind, it requires players to feel out the crowd and determine if they should claim victory and, more importantly, when. If someone else claims victory first, that’s going to give them the win, so you want to try to claim victory before them, so knowing how long to wait is a key element to victory.

Some veteran players will react with horror and disgust at newer players claiming victory too early.

Claim The Victory is a very tense game which high levels of suspense. With each player waiting to see if someone will attempt to claim victory before themselves and feeling the excitement of wondering when they should attempt to claim victory.

Thanks for reading!
Happy April 1st!

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