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Subject: Counselor / Father / Gamer - Oliphant's Review of Quarto! rss

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R Moore
United States
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This user loves Easter eggs.

I go through phases in life where I tend to thrift, garage sale and trade games like mad which ebb into a phase of appreciating, playing and categorizing. This eventually flows back into acquisition and trading. During one of my acquisition phases in life I must have seen 4 or 5 copies of the game Quarto.
I purchased them all and currently own the big beautiful wooden version, the smaller portable magnetic version and what looks like an unauthorized reproduction titled Four Funky Frogs in a Row.

The Basics
The rules of Quarto ares almost as simple as tic-tac-toe but with added depth. It is an attractive 2 player abstract that takes about 10 minutes to complete a game. This is a game that plays with six year-olds up to and including adults. Wonderful little conversation starter and filler-game.


There are exactly 16 unique pieces. Each piece falls on either side of 4 axis. Each is either black or white, tall or short, cylindrical or square, dimple topped or flat. Your opponent selects your piece and hands it to you for placement. You place your piece one space within the 4X4 grid, then select a piece for your opponent. You must be careful not to give your opponent a piece that would allow the completion of 4 of any attribute in a row. The 4th piece in a row of any of the four attributes (color, size, etc.) is the winner. A game may end in a draw if all pieces are on the board without a complete 4-in-a-row.

In this example, the final player placed a flat top piece in the third row, winning by completing a row of four flat pieces.

Games normally do not end with all pieces on the board. Usually a 4-in-a-row happens, ending the game, much earlier.

Quarto! is part of the beautiful Gigamic lineup of simple, high quality, wooden, abstract, 2-player board games. Being a sometimes woodworker myself, I have a high appreciation for the beauty of this type of production.

Can I use this in the counseling office?

Absolutely. This is one of my go to games for icebreakers in individual counseling. I also like to use this in small “lunch group” settings where two students go head to head while the other watch and wait to “take the winner”. It's quick direct conflict and with dwindling options as the game progresses one must mentally imagine the number of turns left and subtract the possible reactions from the opponent to be able to select the right piece to give away. This kind of strategic thinking really seems to develop in the pre-teen years making this ideal for the middle school guidance counselor. The short duration of a game (about 10 minutes)

Would my kids like it?

I currently have 5 of my own kids from 4-12yrs old. My 8 year old whom I recently taught this game to loves it. For comparison, he's also really enjoyed Hive and Castle Panic. My older ones enjoy any kind of friendly competition with dad, this game being no exception.

Would I like to be stuck at the cottage with this game for a weekend?
I enjoy this game in the context of roping people in, starting conversations, getting youngsters to play a game and filling in the gaps. It's not a game I would chose to pull in the middle of a game night. However, if a friend and I were waiting for other family members to get ready to go, I would most definitely pull this off the shelf and challenge him to a few rounds till everyone else was ready to go. And speaking of shelf, this is a classy looking game. It looks nice out in the open, just waiting for someone to make a comment.. so I can reply “Here, let me show you.”

One more thought, this game has been around for a while and is loved by many, especially those who appreciate solid wood designs. I just had to share this home made version because it is absolutely the most beautiful rendition of what was originally already beautiful production. Also, please "thumb" the photos in this article as they are linked Geek images and I am grateful to the community for building such a library.

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