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Quarto» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Simple, Elegant, Fun -- They Don't Make 'Em Like This Any More rss

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J. Jefferson
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Columbus
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I like a complex game with a lot of rules and tones of cubes as much as the next guy, but every now and then, it's nice to have a little palate cleanser, something to focus on briefly without getting all kinds of concepts in the way of the strategy. Quarto is that kind of game, there's no feeding your family, there's no disease, there's no getting killed--there's nothing stressful at all, except the competition of a fairly light and quick game.

Components: I found this game in my mom's house and I only bothered pulling it off the shelf because it looked so nice. They don't make games this classy any more. The dark wood board has some heft to it, as to the nicely carved pieces. This is a game to slip into your evening jacket and pour an expensive bottle of wine to--at least, that's what the cover photo and the components would have you believe. And Quarto does have a feel of a bygone era. Sure, it's just from 1991, not too long ago, but it feels like ages ago. Even the most elegant of more recent abstracts (in my opinion, Hive is the most elegant of the recent abstracts) don't have this after-dinner adult party type of feel. Ok, there's not room for too many games in my collection that have that feel, but Quarto's one of them.

Gameplay: The mechanic is simple. Pick one piece, your opponent must place it on a 4x4 grid. Pieces differ on four dimension, color, height, shape, and hollowness. (Hollow-ness? Some are sort of dug-out. It's obvious when you are holding the pieces.) The person who places a piece so that there are four in a row that share any attribute, is the winner. You have to stay out of the position where of the remaining pieces, all of them can be placed so that they are the fourth in a row sharing an attribute.

Like many abstracts, it's a heads-up game. Don't get lost your wineglass or distracted admiring my new corduroy jacket. That's what I want you to do, and when you do . . . POW, I win, the moment is ruined. This isn't some fancy adult party, it's my basement. I'm bored of this, let's play some super nintendo.
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