Khet is a game that we picked up a few years ago now, way back in… oh… 2006? However, when we picked it up, it wasn’t called Khet at all, it was known by the much more descriptive name of Deflexion. I had read about this game in a board game trade magazine before it was released for general consumption, and had been excitedly awaiting its arrival in my local game shop. Deflexion… I mean Khet, is an abstract logic game that uses lasers. Right there you should stop reading this review and go buy a copy. I mean lasers! Come on!
Not sold yet? Still reading? Ok, there’s more…
The whole game has an Egyptian theme to it, but don’t let that throw you. The “Pharaoh” is nothing more than a “King” in chess. You must protect him from suffering an awful demise at the hands of your opponent. You do this by maneuvering pieces around the board, one move per turn, and firing a laser. The trick is that each of the pieces, save for a special few, all have mirrors on them. These mirrors alter the trajectory of the laser beam, allowing you to have it strike the non-reflective side of your opponents pieces, thus killing them and removing them from the game.
I would like to chalk myself up as a seasoned chess player. I can hold my own with most casual players, but Khet is different. You have to not only figure out how to make your laser maneuver around the board, but you have to be strongly on the lookout for how your opponent could potentially be maneuvering their laser around the board. What’s so different between that and chess? Well, I guess it’s hard to describe until you see it in action. You constantly have to be thinking several moves ahead in both directions, the entire board effects the outcome of individual battles, rather than being isolated to a few pieces. The rotation of a single piece can drastically change the outcome of an attack. And it’s completely possible to kill your own men on your own turn through a misguided fire of the laser.
The one thing that I don’t like about Khet, is what they did when they changed the name. I know they had some legal issues, apparently someone else had already copyrighted the name Deflexion, and thus forced the change. But when the change occurred they didn’t just change the name, they changed the colors as well. The original set comes with gold and silver pieces. The new “Khet” sets come with Red and Silver. “So what,” you say? Well, unlike chess, this game has published expansions sets, and guess what colors those expansion pieces are? Red and Silver. They don’t match my set, so I have never bothered to buy them. Oh, I suppose it doesn’t matter that much, but it just irks me. Was that change really necessary?
So why am I blogging now about a game I purchased roughly four years ago? Well, last night this game got pulled out, at the request of a gaming buddy. And we played three games of it, one right after another, and I had just as much fun with it as the day that I bought it. It was still challenging, but the basic rules weren’t that hard to remember, and most importantly we had a great evening of satisfying gaming. Which really should be the true test of any game.
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