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Tylz engages your spatial, perceptual and strategic skills - and it's fun, too

Tylz, as a passerby noted, looks like some kind of Scrabble® game played with colors instead of letters. There are racks to hold your tiles and a large, lovely, unfolding board, with special double-scoring squares marked with stars, even.

But, my friends, Scrabble it is most definitely not. You could compare it to dominoes, if your dominoes had colors instead of numbers, and were made of three instead of two squares, and were all L-shaped.

It turns out that Tylz is a unique board game combining strategic, perceptual and spatial skills with a welcome balance of fun-inducing luck. One to four players (yes, there is a solitaire version) score points by laying down tiles whose edges match in color to at least one of a growing configuration of tiles, or to a space on the board. The more edges matched, the more points you get. And, if you match more three or more edges, you get an extra turn.

Tylz pieces are magnetic, and adhere lovingly to the large board. The game comes with 80 tiles, no two of which are alike. Well, they are all the same shape (an "L" made of three contiguous squares), but every tile has a unique combination of colored squares. This makes you want to consider the strategic implications of each of the three tiles on your rack. Should you play your all blue (or black or red or yellow or green) piece or hold on to it? Should you throw all your tiles back into the pot, and replenish your hand with three new, and hopefully more playable tiles?

And then there are those profoundly moving moments when you approach something close to an ecstasy of scoring - matching three edges, picking a new tiles, getting another turn, matching three more, picking another new tiles, getting another turn, and, what, matching four?!

Designed by Andy and Elliot Daniel and published by their own company, Enginuity Games, Tylz is Major FUN - fascinating, flexible, adaptable. The rules are brief and easy to learn. There are rules for a shorter game, rules for a more challenging game - and suggestions for modifying them so that younger and older players can all be fairly and fully engaged. And there's even a solitaire version.

The colors are so vivid, the shapes so interesting, the board so large and attractively magnetic that the game can be enjoyed by children as young as 5 and adults who are even older than I am.

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