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a strategy game with a twist.

Pentago

Sheri was kind enough to let me hop on and post some information about a really great game I played at Toy Fair…

I love strategy games of all types, so when there’s something new and noteworthy, I’m always up for giving it a shot. When I first encountered Pentago, a sleek strategy game of Swedish origin, I at first dismissed it as too unoriginal, a game that reminded me too much of predecessors Gobblet or Othello, among many others. But after having been enticed to play a round or two by one of my co-workers at Toy Fair (she had mentioned that because she won, the demonstrator had given her a pretty snazzy free t-shirt), I realized that this game is actually quite different from others I had played before. The object of the game is to line up 5 of your pieces either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, which sounds simple enough, but here’s the twist– the board is divided into four independent quadrants, and after each move, the player must rotate one of the quadrants 90 degrees, completely reconfiguring the layout of the board.

Now, I’m no stranger to rotating the game board when it comes to strategy. When I was younger, my brother and I would sometimes play chess, and if the game was not going in my favor, I would take advantage of the opportunity if he left the room, and turn the board around. I can still hear the indignant, “Hey!!” echoing in the back of my mind when the realization of my deviousness finally settled in 3 or 4 moves later, and I was subsequently forced to reclaim my position as underdog. But a game where turning the board to foil your opponent’s plan is not only a viable option, but also a major rule—that’s my kind of game!

Pentago encourages critical thinking as the players try to anticipate each other’s moves while also formulating their own strategies. It’s a great gift for adults and teenagers as well as slightly younger kids who have a good attention span, and is small enough to take along when you travel. We’ve just received our first shipment, so stop by and check it out if you’re up for a fun challenge; I promise not to turn the board when you’re not looking (unless it’s my turn to actually do so!).

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