Khet


Khet (Innovention Toys), 2005, 2 players, ages 9 and up. Khet is a chess-like abstract strategy game that uses lasers as part of its game play. Under its original name ("Deflexion"), the game was awarded a 2005 Mensa Select Award. In 2006, the game was slightly redesigned and the name was changed to "Khet". Another slightly revised version ("Khet 2.0") was released in 2011.

Each player starts the game with a laser and 14 playing pieces (12 in Deflexion). Said pieces are arranged in one of several predefined configurations. In the original game, the lasers were built into the gameboard, whereas in the "Khet 2.0" version the lasers are built into two extra Sphinx playing pieces. Said Sphinx pieces cannot be moved from their starting positions, although they can be rotated.

Scarab (formerly "Djed") and Pyramid pieces have mirrors positioned such that when the laser beam strikes a reflective side, it reflects at a 90 angle. Players try to position pieces in a fashion that allows the laser beam to reflect into the opponent's Pharaoh, thus winning the game. At the same time, they must also try to protect their own Pharaoh from being struck by the laser beam. On each turn, a player either moves a piece one square in any direction, or rotates a piece 90 degrees. After moving, the player must fire his or her laser, and any piece of either color hit on a non-reflecting side is removed from play.

For people who enjoy these sorts of abstract movement/strategy games, Khet is probably just all sorts of fun. As for us non-Mensa types? Ugh, not so much... Frankly, I find it virtually impossible to plan a movement strategy (and at the same time keep up with what my opponent is getting up to); all while somehow trying to picture in my head where those danged lasers are going to wind up. When it comes to "taxing your puny brain to the point of overload", this thing is basically Robo Rally cubed - which puts it right near the top of my "most hated games of all time" list.

There are two expansions for the game - The "Eye of Horus" beam splitter adds a new piece (similar to a Djed) that splits the beam. When a beam strikes the beam splitter, half bounces off at a right angle (as with the other mirrored pieces), while the other half continues on directly through the mirror, thus creating two beams out of one and adding a new strategic element to the game (as if it really needed one). Eye of Horus beam splitters are available in either gold and silver (for those who own the old Deflexion game), or red and silver (for those who own the newer Khet game). With the expansion pack, each player receives one beam splitter (which replaces one of their Djeds).

And if all that isn't enough for you, the "Tower of Kadesh" adds a 3D element to the game by adding a second level to the game board. The base of the tower has four mirrors that bring the laser up to the top of the tower. In addition to moving a piece horizontally or rotating it, players may move a piece vertically up to or down from the tower, or may move or rotate the tower itself.



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