Element is the first entry in the Cornerstone line of games from Rather Dashing Games and Kalmbach Publishing Co. The game is very strategic, but also resembles a puzzle in certain ways. Fire, wind, earth, and water have fueled many aspects of humankind, from mythology and philosophy to science. Now, players can master these forces to defeat their opponents!
The goal of the game is to use Element Stones to surround opposing Sages. Each element has distinct properties to help block opponents from moving in on a Sage. Walls of flame, raging rivers, mountain ranges, and bending wind are all put to use in this board game. Elements can even transform into other elements! It’s chaotic strategy, but all good fun.
The game itself is ages 14 and up for two to four players, and the play time is around 30 minutes. Each element has its strengths and weaknesses that can either help or hinder the players. Fire is growing, vibrant, and extinguishable. Water is flowing, bending, and displaceable. Earth is timeless, steadfast, and erodible. Wind is formless, agile, and consumable. Clearly, there are ups and downs to each element. The box comes with all the essentials: a game board, four sages, 120 element stones, an embroidered bag, and a rule book.
The designer (Mike Richie) and artist (Grant Wilson) have worked together to create a really aesthetically pleasing game here. The box depicts all four elements perfectly, with symbols representing each of them. The board looks simple yet beautiful, with Celtic symbols of different degrees decorating the play area. The Sages themselves have a dramatic stoicism to them. I’m getting a very Avatar the Last Airbender feeling from this game and, I’m not going to lie, I love it.
Although players are trying to be victorious against their opponents, this game emits an almost Zen and peaceful tone. Thinking of the simplicity in the inspiration for the game, this poetic focus at the elements is a very calming and beautiful look at the everyday things we’re so used to seeing, but have never noticed.
Something I really love about this game is that it goes beyond the tabletop. Not only do players get to partake in a really awesome game, but they get to better understand the power and fragility of the four elements that make up our world. We know that the elements have led to countless other discoveries and progressive experiments to better the world or, at least, better understand it.
Element is a wonderful game that gives you both a fun game night and the power of the elements! It’s not that intricate of a game, so it’s easy to pick up, and is bound to start up some profound conversation. Board gamers, this beauty comes out next month, so keep an eye out!