Tak is a game of abstract strategy and logic played throughout Temerant. Initially introduced as a game in The Kingkiller Chronicle, Tak was adapted for the real world by game designer James Ernest (with input by Patrick Rothfuss). The game was launched via a successful Kickstarter with Cheapass Games in 2016.[1]


The description in the Chronicle does not provide details on the rules of the game. However, a full playable rule-set was later created by game designer James Ernest, a friend of Patrick Rothfuss, with the author's approval and assistance.


James Ernest explains how to play Tak

James Ernest explains how to play Tak

Tak is played on a square, tiled board, though using a board is optional and a game can be played on any flat surface, even an unmarked one. Tak boards can vary in size from 3x3 tiles to 8x8, depending on the desired complexity of a given game; the size of the board also determines the number of pieces used by both players. Games of 5x5 and 6x6 are considered "standard" and are the most commonly played.

Board Size # of Stones (per player) # of Capstones (per player) Skill level
3x3 10 0 Trivial
4x4 15 0 Beginner
5x5 21 1 Traveler-style
6x6 30 1 Court-style
7x7 40 1 or 2 (as desired) Eccentric (rarely played)
8x8 50 2 Master

There are two types of Tak pieces: stones (also known as "normal stones") and capstones (also known as "capital stones" or "caps"). Stones usually consist of small tiles (common materials include wood, stone, and metal) in simple geometric shapes that are capable of being stacked and stood upright on one side. Capstones are larger standing pieces that can range in shape from cubes to elaborate totems. Each player typically uses a set of pieces of a contrasting color, such as black for one and white for the other.

Alternate rules

Standard variants

  • Beginner's Game -
  • Traveler's Game -
  • Court Game -
  • Master's Game -

Edema Ruh



In the Chronicle

Tak is introduced in The Wise Man's Fear. Although the rules are never explained, it is noted for its emphasis on subtlety.[2] Kvothe describes it as "simple in its rules, [but] complex in its strategy."[3]

Two moves mentioned in the book are not officially named in the game: a "brooker's fall" (which is played in a corner) and "Bredon's defense." [4]

Kvothe is first introduced to Tak by Bredon in Vintas.[3] Kvothe later attempts to teach Tak to Felurian, only to find that she already knows it; Felurian wins in a game "so lovely" Kvothe imagines it would have moved Bredon to tears.[5]

Kvothe and Bredon play several games of Tak throughout the novel, with Kvothe improving as the book goes along. Bredon views Tak as a philosophy, continually emphasising its reflection of subtlety: "Tak reflects the subtle turning of the world. It is a mirror we hold to life. No one wins a dance, boy...A well-played game of Tak reveals the moving of a mind." He adds that the objective isn't to win, but to win a beautiful game.[6]

As the novel progresses, Bredon notes Kvothe's steady improvement; Kvothe reflects that "it [seems he] was learning to play a beautiful game."[7]

See also

  • Kaen - An ancient gambling game that gave rise to modern Tak

References List

  1. Tak - A Beautiful Game on Kickstarter
  2. Bredon's conversation with Kvothe in Chapter 57 draws parallels between subtle court rules and the ability to play Tak well.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 57: "A Handful of Iron"
  4. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 157: "A Handful of Iron"
  5. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 133: "Close Enough to Touch"
  6. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 65: "A Beautiful Game"
  7. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 137: "Questions"

External links