Eamon Bloomfield
Germany
23569 Lübeck
Schleswig Holstein
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An immaculately-dressed group of trendy sophisticates gathered around a large baize gaming table, glasses filled with long luxurious alcoholic beverages, their attention glued to the tense battle of nerves and intellect going on before them. This is the picture suggested by the manufacturers of The Power Game who describe their product as 'an exercise in spatial relationships', and indeed it is the picture shown on the box in which the game of subtle connections' is packaged. A rather pretentious piece of marketing for the best of games, and particularly so for the irrelevantly-named Power Game which it seems is hardly a game at all.

The Power Game consists of two sets of 8 plastic cogs of which one of each set (the 'Master Cog') is marked with an arrow pointing in an anti-clockwise direc¬tion. Each set of cogs is placed in op¬posing ranks on the 8x6 grid of pegs which makes up the playing area, and the players take it in turns to move any cog a distance of one peg orthogonally or diagonally presumably with the objective of being the player to make the final con¬nection between the two opposing 'Master Cogs' as the winner of the game is the player who succeeds in turning his opponent's Master Cog in the direction of its arrow by turning his own Master Cog in either direction. The rules indicate that if turning a player's Master Cog fails to turn his opponent's or turns his opponent's in the wrong direction, that player loses.

Some readers will have already realised even at this stage that the cogs, whilst perhaps aesthetically pleasing, are of course totally irrelevant to the mechanics of the game. One doesn't require an engineering degree or a Nobel prize in physics to know that if a series of cogs are connected, alternate cogs will revolve in the same direction, and that cogs not con¬nected in a chain will obviously not themselves be turned. This being the case, the game might just as well be played with ordinary counters although that would show just how unoriginal this game really is.

The greatest criticism of The Power Game is not its pretention however, but its failure to work as a game at all. Although there is no element of chance in its mechanics there is really little opportunity to exercise any skill either. As the last player to make the connection between the Master Cogs is invariably the winner, as soon as both players are aware of this fact at least one player will at some stage of play concentrate his energies on avoiding allowing his opponent a winning move by fleeing with his Master Cog and/or defensively blocking off his Master Cog with a barrier of other cogs. It is possible to force a draw in this manner in every game.

The Power Game may perhaps make an attractive and moderately interesting toy but as a game for children or adults of any age it really doesn't qualify.

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