Tark Zante, creator of TZUKH, at the Cycladic Museum in Athens
TZUKH has been a journey of passion from the beginning when trying to fix the problems of Noughts & Crosses by extending the pattern as a young trainee programmer. Every problem has a solution but problems can be complex and require creative, flexible and adaptive solutions. Noughts & Crosses was never really fixed but a completely new unique game grew out of trying and the design objectives kept expanding. Key design objectives included making it social, who starts be irrelevant, always having a winner and the ability to fight back when down. The main piece should be powerful but vulnerable. An early version had a custom designed board and pieces but no dice. The dice was added, greatly increasing the probabilities, when the "Big Blue" computer began winning against humans at Chess. A two-choice dice now gave players the ability to take calculated risks and defy the odds with confidence and attitude although more cautious players tend to win more often. But you can never be sure what risks a player is prepared to take at a given point in a game to gain an advantage.
After a life-time of evolutionary experimentation and perseverance, TZUKH developed into an intriguing and comprehensive toolbox of possibilities for strategic problem solving as a game which especially encourages lateral thinking - thinking outside the box. Life's complications always involve strategic thinking and an element of chance.
Figurines, like the one above from the Cyclades carved out of marble, hardly changed in the two thousand years prior to the Minoan civilization. Today we live in a rapidly changing world with many unknown unknowns that require creative, strategic thinking to challenging environmental and social issues. No one is ever totally in control and thinking must take into account change and the unforeseen. TZUKH encourages flexible and adaptive thinking.
The name of the game and setting for it changed over the years but a love of Minoan art gave TZUKH an obvious identity. The Minoans were nature loving, highly advanced and artistic people enjoying hot and cold running water with flush toilets, who had no need of armaments. After the Minoan civilization collapsed, it took a few thousand years to re-invent the flush toilet.
As well as a sense of fun evident in their beautiful timeless art and frescoes, the Minoans enjoyed athletic sports like bull leaping, played music and most importantly played board games. How they played their board game on Crete will probably never be known for sure. TZUKH, however, with as much historical accuracy as possible, using renditions of Minoan art and designs inspired by Minoan art plus their script Linear B (a precursor to Classical Greek) - captures the essence of the Minoan World.
After TZUKH was finally launched in 2004 as a hand-crafted version it became apparent from feedback at markets and playing, that TZUKH was very unique appealing to both sexes and kids. The enormous amount of hours invested in the unusual way it plays had paid off. No other abstract strategy game with a strategy to chance ratio of 80%/20%, which is also very social with varying numbers of players, is a better fit for the world we live in today.
Albert Einstein's quotes on the TZUKH site pay tribute to a silent mentor with his sayings by parents, teachers and others shaping my world view without knowing the source at the time.
Where there's a will, there's a way.
The Minoans called Santorini Stronghyle (the Round One) before Thera erupted
a magic place then and now