Tau

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This is our flagship game: Tau.

 

There are a lot of games out there; we know because we like to play them!  What sets Tau apart from many other games is its deceivingly simple design combined with its robust gameplay.  Tau was designed for gamers, by gamers, so that it can be enjoyed on family board game night, at 3 A.M with your buddies after way too many drinks, or anywhere in between.  And, no matter who you’re playing with: everybody dies at the end.

Tau is a story-telling game that requires one story-teller and, at the very least, two characters (we recommend four characters per deck for maximum enjoyment).  The deck is modeled after a typical deck of playing cards: there are four suits with thirteen cards each, as well as two jokers (pictured).  Cards are either a character trait, a special ability, or an item (some are permanent, some are one-use).  Cards can be distributed by the story-teller to the characters in a variety of ways: a game of Hearts, random deal, or whatever your gaming group agrees on.  Characters will then need to build… well, a character!  This is done by using a subset of the cards that you were dealt by the story-teller.  Just like with distributing the cards, you can use any method your gaming group agrees on to build your character; we make our recommendations in the included rulebook, but part of Tau’s beauty is how malleable the rules are to suit the players.

Once the characters have been created, the story-teller then weaves a tale that the characters must survive in using only the cards that fate… er, their story-teller, has dealt them.  Well, that and their wits!  This part of the game, like any good role-playing game, is limited only by the story-tellers imagination.  We’ve enjoyed stereotypical stories in a cave being overrun by goblins, hilarious stories where everybody wakes up as a tiny person on a sandwich being eaten, weird stories with centaurs walking backwards, and crazy stories where the characters’ doom was spelled out by a magical jellyfish ring.  In the end, everybody dies; you might say the last person alive wins, but they die, too.

“So what’s the point?” you may be asking.  Tau wasn’t designed to be played for hours on end (but trust us, you can).  Tau was originally made to fill the time between when “that one guy” in your gaming group is super late for a stupid reason and everyone else is ready to go; we call that one guy “Joe”.  It’s a quick, fun game that gets the creative juices going and can be dropped without any fuss when Joe finally shows up.  Of course, it’s also fun to make a big deal about having to stop playing so Joe wonders what he’s missing out on.  But you don’t let Joe play Tau because he needs to get his act together and quit being “that one guy”!  So don’t be like Joe: play Tau.

Finally, Tau is a great companion to many different games.  For games that require an element of randomness from a deck of cards, you can use Tau to have the coolest deck in the game store.  Each suit was designed and drawn by a different artist in our hometown of Columbia, MO for a truly unique look and feel.  If you’re a Dungeon Master running out of creative juice for the campaign you’re working on, you could pluck a few cards from your Tau deck to generate NPC traits, abilities and items.  And, of course, being a deck of cards, it can be used to play any traditional playing card game.  We like to call it the Swiss Army knife for your gaming box.

Tau sells in our online store and at select retailers for $15.  For wholesale inquiries, please contact jay@sparksgames.com