Thursday, August 16, 2007

Qool Day

My oldest son Anthony and I have a couple of weeks home alone together, since everyone else in the household is back to school. This is a fun opportunity for us to have some cool one-on-one mother/son bonding time - or should I say qool?

Today we decided to play all the games we owned that start with the letter Q. We found we have 6 games that start with the letter Q: Quads, Quarto, Quoridor, Quixo, Quiddler, and Qwitch. (Below I've added pictures and commentary. You might want to have a QOOL DAY of your own!)

The day for me was one of pride and humility mixed. Anthony won 5 of the 6 games we played. As his mother I'm proud he's so smart (the first 4 games in particular being strategic thinking games). As a human being, I'm humbled at all those losses!


The first 4 games below are put out by Gigamic. We LOVE all of them. We have a particular passion for abstract strategy games, so we're rather prejudiced in that direction. The other two games are good for their categories as well.

This game has basically three elements: the goal is to move your pawn acrosss the board before your opponent moves his across, on your turn you may place a wall or move your pawn one space, and you may not entirely block off your opponent from reaching the other side. It is so simple a young child can play it, yet the strategy can get so deep that serious game-playing adults can be captivated by it. This is definitely a classic!

This is an extremely elegant variant of tic-tac-toe with three twists: you need to get four in a row, what you need to get in a row is not "your" x or o but rather 4 pieces sharing an attribute (short, light, flat-topped, round, tall, etc.), AND your opponent chooses the piece you play. Again, a game a young child could play but also allows for tremendous strategizing - elegant and satisfying. This too is absolutely a classic game.

This is another variation on tic-tac-toe. Each cube has 4 blank sides, one x and one o. On your turn you may select a piece from the side with your symbol on it (x or o) or a blank cube which you will flip to show your symbol, remove it, and slide it back into that row from the top or bottom or from the far side. In this way everything shifts. It also allows for lots of strategizing and a good balance between defense and offense. The sliding introduces an element of surprise.

Quads is a game of territory. You play darks or lights, and you have to play on pieces already laid, but you have to match any newly laid piece to each side of other pieces it touches - dark to dark, light to light, neutral to neutral. The goal is to move the game to a place where your opponent is unable to play a piece.

This is a nice casual word-card game. It works well with a group larger than two - slower paced than the other games and less strategic, but fun. It seems like a nice game to play with a group that you want to talk with at the same time. The cards are beautiful.

Qwitch is a game of quick reflexes. It also is better with more than two (and on the box the lowest number of players recommended is 3, but there were only 2 of us, and we were on a mission). We figured out why they recommended 3 or more - with 2 it is too evenly matched and you have to stop too often to flip another card and replinish your hand. I look forward to trying it again with our whole family - seems like a fun game for kids and parents to enjoy.

1 comment:

Tony said...

What fun! It sounds like a wonderful day (even when losing!).