Char is a three dimensional alignment game similar to the many flavors of 3D tic-tac-toe that have appeared over the years. Its rules and production values raise it above the level of these titles, however.
Rules: The play space is a 4x4x4 volume. Players alternate placing black and white pieces into the volume; the goal is to create a row of four like-colored pieces either orthogonally or diagonally within any plane of the space. What makes the game unique is the pieces: There are "whole" pieces shaped like solid disks, and "half" pieces that are either rings or nubs that fit into the ring's center. Discs count as either other type; a valid row contains either rings and/or disks OR nubs and/or disks. It is allowed to place, for instance, your nub into an opponent's ring (quiet, you!). Therefore, potential lines can intersect one another. Furthermore, the pieces must be played in rotation, i.e. white disk, black disk, then white ring, black ring, then white nub, black nub; then again from the top.
Production: the board is a very nicely designed laser-cut acrylic affair, with two supports that slot into one another, and etched levels that rest on the arms of the supports. The pieces are molded of black and white plastic. Molded clear trays are provided to keep the pieces sorted in the proper playing order.
Also included is a patently ridiculous but highly amusing booklet about the game's "history" full of quotes from fictitious Zen masters and a bibliography of alleged texts about the game and its historical significance.
This was Games Magazine's "Best Abstract Strategy Game" for 1993 and Mensa Select for 1994.
—BGG Char main entry description