Yinsh – a 2-player strategy game with a flip


Great game of strategy!

Yinsh is a 2-player abstract strategy board game that I’ve had on my “to play” list for a very long time. It’s part of a series of 6 abstract strategy games called Project GIPF that all have unique play mechanics that all look great to try. And of all the games in the series, Yinsh has held the most interest to me for a few years.

However, it’s also been a very tough game to find in game stores and even online. So when I saw it available online at Amazon.com for a great price in February, I had to jump at the chance to buy it.

And I haven’t been disappointed at all.

You can also see from Jaden’s video review of Yinsh that he hasn’t been disappointed either.

Can the whole family enjoy Yinsh?


The game could go either way.

If people in your family enjoy abstract strategy games, then we think they’ll enjoy playing Yinsh. It’s a game that requires some mental effort to figure out how to play well. But that also means Yinsh is a game that you can get better at playing.

Similar to playing other 2-player abstract board games, your ability to play well will improve the more you play it. Since Yinsh doesn’t have any elements that rely on luck, it’s all about how much mental effort you put into it.

With that in mind, we still think it’s a great board game to introduce to your children. The published recommended ages for the game are 8+, but we think you’re fine to introduce it to kids younger than that. Of course, don’t expect them to become expert at it overnight.

We also know that not all adults will enjoy it either. Not everyone enjoys 2-player abstract strategy board games. We’ve found that mom falls into this category. Sure she’ll play this type of game once in a while, but more out of pressure than enjoyment. She definitely prefers board games that have luck involved to even the odds.


Aren’t there a lot of games where you have to get 5 in a row?


A happy Yinsh game board.

Yes, there are a bunch of games where the object is to get 5 of something in a row. But the way you do so in Yinsh is what makes it so fantastic. As Jaden demonstrated in his video review, it’s all about flipping the markers so you get 5 in a row with your color face up. Do this 3 times and you win the game. The challenge is in how you can flip the markers to get them to show your color face up.

But the catch is that once you get 5 in a row, you have to remove those markers as well as one of your rings from the board. So as you get closer to winning, you also get handicapped – a fantastic way to keep the game interesting all the way to the end.


Be ready to change your plans

Yinsh is a game where every move can change the outcome of the game. Inevitably, just when you think you’ve got your plan of attack set, your opponent will make a completely unexpected move and cause you to rethink everything. And that’s what we love about the game.


How does Yinsh score on the “Let’s Play Again” game meter?

Yinsh scores high on our “Let’s play again” game meter for a few of us. Like we mentioned before, it’s not for everyone. But for those of us that enjoy some thinking games, Yinsh is definitely a board game that we’ll play multiple times in a row. It’s also so easy to set up and get playing that it has earned an easy access spot in our game closet.

The Board Game Family Game Ratings
Caleb: 4.5 Meeples Caleb
Has not played Brooke
Jaden: 4.75 Meeples Jaden
Trevor: 4.5 Meeples Trevor
Has not played Mom
Dad: 4.5 Meeples Dad
AVerage: 4.6 Meeples Average

Interested in what others think of YINSH?
Check out these other opinions:
* Board Game Reviews by Josh YINSH review


Comments: 3

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I love the GIPF project! It also looks like they’ve made a new edition of Yinsh since the one that I bought. Anyway – if you love Yinsh, you should also try Dvonn and Gipf. They are other great games in the series… really the only one that I outright didn’t like was Punct.




There’s an iOS version available here, in case it’s of interest.





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