When you look at boardgames, you often see games created which are in many ways hybrids in as much that they bring elements of various games together in a new one.
Tri-Cross, which was first released in 1986, does that.
There are elements which will remind people a little bit of chess, although that can be said about a lot of games, as well as a taste of bluffing as in poker, and a board movement design that has a Chinese Checkers feel.
Tri-Cross is an abstract strategy game played on three rows and columns that cross in the centre, with both sides moving toward the centre which is the hotly contested area of the game.
The winner is the player who controls the center for four consecutive turns. Think King-of-the-Mountain.
Players begin with hidden pieces -- that is their actual strength is hidden from the opponent. It’s actually hidden from the player too, so keep a sharp memory of how you lay out your pieces at the start of the game. The hidden element has been described as a poker-like element, which is one vision of it, although it’s not quite that mechanism either. The actual strength of pieces are revealed when they come in proximity to initialize a challenge between players. The greater strength makes a capture.
Equal strength confrontations freeze peoples.
The board is solid, the pieces are quality-bakelite-like ones that is a definite bonus. The little velveteen bag is a nice accessory.
A laminated rules tutorial is a terrific idea that most games should mimic. It’s a real plus for learning a game.
The rule set has some nice illustrations to help the learning curve.
Tri-Cross is designed primarily as a two-player game, and that is where it is best. Most abstract strategy games excel head-to-head, and Tri-Cross is an abstract, albeit with the early hidden strength element.
That said Tri-Cross does have rules for three and four players, with the pieces included to make that possible.
A game which can be learned rather easily, and plays quickly, with good components, Tri-Cross is a solid addition to a games library.
You can check out the game at http://www.gamesforcompetitors.com/
-- The review appeared originally in Yorkton This Week newspaper, in Saskatchewan, Canada, March 10/2010