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The Best In Tabletop 2017 – NMBR 9

The Best In Tabletop 2017 – NMBR 9

We’ve been lucky in 2017, with amazing games hitting store shelves and our tables. We saw some of our favorite developers hit the shelves yet again with a couple of fresh faces thrown into the mix. It was hard to choose just 10 games to spotlight on the list, and here is one of them.  Stay tuned to see the other games on this list and for the full list.

We’ve been playing abstract spatial puzzles since first introduced to the blocky wooden pieces of Tangrams in Kindergarten. Sitting at a table, shuffling pieces around until they resemble a giraffe or whatever the goal is that day. Good times!

But just as we’ve grown up, our games have as well, and Peter Wichmann’s NMBR 9 takes spatial puzzles to a whole new level. It’s a simple game to learn, but a challenging puzzle to master. Not only will you have to contend with trying to get oddly shaped tiles into a legal configuration, but, to win, you’ll have to do so more cunningly than your fellow players.
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The game is composed of 80 number tiles ranging from 1 to 9 and a deck of number cards. Each turn you will reveal a card from the top of the deck and then all players must place that number into their tableau. The first tile can be placed in any orientation,so long as it is face-up. All other tiles that are added must adhere to the following rules:

  • It must be placed touching at least 1 other tile, along a straight edge.
  • A tile can be placed on top of other tiles so long as no part of the new tile is hanging over a gap and it must be placed on top of two or more other tiles.

nmbr 9
nmbr 9
Sounds simple, right? Placing the first level of tiles certainly feels straightforward enough. You can organize them any which way so long as they are touching. But once you start contemplating where your second level of tiles is going to go, things get much more complicated. Each tile is in the (vague) shape of it’s number and oftentimes these pieces don’t fully fit together, potentially leaving large holes in your foundation. Since you can’t place a tile over a gap, it begins to limit where your second (or third…) story tiles can be placed and often times you’ll be forced to go back and add more to the first level than you originally planned.

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But why all the fuss over adding tiles in higher levels? Well, as soon as all of the cards have been drawn and everyone has configured their pile of tiles, you’ll add up your scores. Tiles on the “0”, or bottom level (touching the table), are worth no points (so all those tiles you used to make your foundation count for nothing!). However, every level of tiles above the first is worth the number of the tile multiplied by its level. So if you have a 9 on the second level you’d score 18 points for that tile. By efficiently growing your tableau, you can amass a big pile of points, but just remember, numbers can’t be laid across gaps.  The spacial puzzle has a really satisfying ‘Tetris-y’ feel.

nmbr 9

NMBR 9 offers up what is, in essence, a solitaire game. Multiple people can play at the same time, trying to beat each other’s scores, but there is no player interaction (unless you want to break out some completely optional mathematical banter). That said, the game is a lot of fun and is really well made. You’ve got nice tiles, bright colors, and the insert for the box keeps everything neat and tidy. Add the quality of the production to the challenging gameplay and you’ve got yourself a game worthy of our Best Games of 2017 list.

What are some of the best games you’ve played in 2017? Tell us in the comments below!

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Image Credits: Jessica Fisher

In addition to Geek & Sundry, Jessica Fisher writes for Gameosity.com and produces the Gameosity Reviews Youtube Channel. Find her talking about all things geeky on Twitter @miniktty.

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