Tesseract is a cooperative puzzle game. An alien cube has appeared in the sky and begun collapsing in on itself rapidly. As humanity’s top scientists, you must solve the mystery of the cube before it collapses completely, taking our planet with it! While Tesseract can be played solo by controlling two characters, it is quite the brain burner, so bringing a friend is recommended.
Setup begins with forming the tesseract by randomly dumping all of the dice into a square sleeve. The tesseract is on a turntable, allowing for easy rotation and examination of the cube. Players each get their own lab board and a unique character.
Every turn a die will come off of the tesseract and go into the primed area. As more dice are added to the primed area, breaches can occur. In order for dice to be removed from the tesseract, they must have at least three sides showing. This causes the tesseract to shrink from the outside in. Underneath the tesseract is an event disc. Each time the last die in a column is removed, a negative event will be revealed on the disc and is immediately triggered. If the tesseract ever shrinks down to nothing, or if there are too many breaches, then the players lose.
In order to win the game, the players must contain one of every dice color / value combination. In order to do that they must first collect dice sets or runs in their lab. These strings of dice must either all be the same color or all be different colors. Each lab can only hold a total of six dice, so careful management and manipulation will be required. The die that gets contained comes from the set or run, while the other dice remain to be used in future strings.
Players can get dice in their lab by taking them directly from the tesseract. They need to be careful, however, because taking dice from the tesseract increases the speed at which it is depleted. An alternative action is trading dice with another player, which can set up containment without the downside of taking from the tesseract.
Dice in a player’s lab can have their value directly manipulated, but this takes up a precious action, of which players only have three each turn. A better way is to use research cards which take no action. Research cards have a multitude of effects, with higher level cards having more powerful effects. You get research cards by containing dice. The bigger the set or run, the higher level research card you get to draw.
Players can also get powerful once-per-game abilities by containing complete sets of dice with each value. They’ll need these abilities, along with all the mental power they can muster, in order to reach full containment and win the game. And if they find the whole process too easy, they can always make the game harder by using a more difficult event disc and trying to do it all over again!