Khet (Deflexion)

Earlier this year a new board game under development was announced that really caught me curious. I kept an eye out for when the game would be released and it just was. It’s name is Deflexion.

A note about the game’s name change:  It’s name was Deflexion.  Right about the time the game started to sell like hot pancakes, the developers were sued because, evidently, the name Deflexion was already being used.  So the game name changed to Khet.  When the game was reprinted it was also changed to red and silver colors instead of gold and silver.  I actually prefer the original name and colors.

The game is the invention of a professor and 2 Engineering students at Tulane. The team lives in New Orleans and were impact hard by hurricane Katrina. 2 of them lost their homes and all three lost most of their holdings in their newfound company. Fortunately they had an inventory of completed games ready to ship in a warehouse in Texas. I learned that the game was ready and for sale this past weekend. On one web site that I checked, all copies were sold out by Monday. My personal copy arrived on Wednesday evening and I bought it along to the office to share on Thursday this week. It was a hit.

Here’s what make this game cool. It uses lasers. Real penlight lasers built right into the game board. It’s a 2-player chess-like game with lasers and mirrors. Most of the pieces have mirrors and the laser beams reflect off the pieces. More about game play in a bit. The first thing that struck me about this game when it arrived was how large the box is. I purchased the game sight-unseen. For my own pictures these will open to a much larger shot if you click on them. Here’s the box as it arrived and once it was opened.

The pieces look to be of high quality. Here are a few pieces set aside on the table.

The piece names are Obelisk, Djed, Pyramid and Pharaoh. An Egyptian theme (or a Stargate theme if you are so inclined).

The Obelisk and Pharaoh pieces do not have reflective surfaces. The Djed and Pyramids have mirrors. The Djed has mirrors on both sides.

The game is very simple to understand and play. Game setup comes in two flavors: beginner and advanced. I’ve played 8 games now but we’re still using the beginner’s setup. Here’s that initial board condition.

Each player does 2 steps every turn. You move a piece and you fire your laser. Moving a piece involves either advancing the piece 1 square on the board, like a king in Chess, or rotating a piece 90 degrees in either direction. the Djed pieces have the capability of swapping locations with an adjacent piece on their turn. The gold and silver rows on the board are off limits to the other player. After moving you fire your laser. When the Pharaoh piece is hit by the laser you lose. Even if you did it with your own laser. Test firings of the laser are not allowed. You need to study the board before you move. If you hit a non-reflective surface on a piece, the back side of a pyramid for example, or any side of an Obelisk, that piece gets removed from the game board.

Here’s a photograph after a few moves have been made. The laser on the right side is firing (from bottom right to top right) but you cannot see it very well in the photograph. You can see a tiny red spot on one of the mirrors and you can make out some of the red target lit up on the black back wall of the game board where it ends.

The game is currently in short supply, as I understand the situation. Although I did find one store that had 9 copies left when checking on Froogle this morning.

it’s an ultimate tech cool game and quite the novelty. It was also a big hit at the office today – we’re all geeks too. I recommend you play this game if you can. The cost is remarkable, ~$40.00, when you consider the components. Game play is surprising. You can get caught easily by not thinking of diagonal piece moves and if you pay too much attention to your own mirrors you can get caught by your opponent very easily. In fact, one strategy I used a few times was to use the other player’s mirrors against him when he took his own turn if he didn’t consider carefully what was about to happen. Some games move really quick. Sometimes it feels exactly like a chess game or most any war game. it’s a lot of fun.

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