Four Elements is a physical, tabletop game that sees you building up a base with various plastic pieces, then flicking your soldiers at other bases until you have destroyed their main lord. The core version of Four Elements can be played with four different people, however there are various expansions that can make it so that the game supports more players. Flicking pieces and building your base are both major parts of the game — setting up being the most fun for me personally. I recently got to check out Four Elements at Game Anglia.
Overview & components
Four Elements is unlike any other tabletop game that I have ever played. Set up is quite unique, to begin with. The game contains a bunch of different pieces, all of which are one of four different colors. Each of these colors represents a different element; earth, fire, wind, and water.
The various different elements all have different pieces that can be stacked and interlocked, as well as placed flat upon the table you wish to play on. As an example, wind can interlock in their swirls, making a dense chain, while fire can be locked within the middle of longer pieces. All of this makes more sense if you look at the images within this article. Every element has a Lord, which is a big version of that element. Lords look basically the same in each element. Looking much like tiny lords, are your soldiers. These (as well as your lord) will be the pieces that you can flick, while the other prices are just to build your own base.
As the game begins, everyone gets to set up their base. You can place any of your pieces any way you want in your corner of the table. I played the game with a game mat, dividing up the space evenly, however you can purchase Four Elements without this. These pieces can be stacked, interlocked, and laid flat — but you’ll want to make sure your soldiers aren’t behind barriers so that they can be moved across the area.
Once everyone has built up their base, the game begins. One by one, each player will take a turn flicking either their lord or a solder. Flicking these plastic pieces across the table will hopefully cause them to run into another player’s area with the goal of knocking their pieces out. If any base or soldier piece go off the table or outside the map, it is removed from the game. Your goal is to eliminate all of the other lords while keeping yours safe.
Four Elements is a very interesting game. I really enjoyed the variety between the elements — but I found some are more easy to connect together than others. I was told by the developer that there are best ways to use each element, but I found that with the limited playthrough I got to have, wind seemed like the best choice. I can see how having this variety of pieces can be a benefit, but it also can feel unbalanced until you really learn about each of them.
I also found that I couldn’t personally play more than one round of Four Elements, as flicking these plastic pieces hurt my nails after a while. Maybe I go at it too hardcore to really enjoy the game nail-pain free.
Otherwise, Four Elements is a really interesting, unique, and fun game. It seems to rapidly get down to 1 v 1, as the last two survive the rest of the other enemies. Then you end up finding yourself in an epic battle against another lord, hoping to be the one that ends up pushing the other off the board. The various pieces are well made and the game itself is a very clever idea. You will need quite a bit of tablespace though!
You can grab a copy of Four Elements on their website — and keep an eye out for expansions and events that they are attending.