Saturday Morning Gaming: Quarto
Quarto is one of those “minute to learn, lifetime to master” games that really gets under your skin. There are 16 pieces in the game and they all have a unique combination of four binary traits: tall or short, light or dark, square or round, solid or hollow.
The goal is to place the piece that gives you four of the same traits in a row… and the twist is that your opponent hands you the piece that you will be playing.
So it’s a game that makes you read the board and guess as to what your opponent will do thus forcing the hand of your opponent in such a way that they are forced to give you the winning move (or, if you’re lucky, to not see something and hand it to you).
So you can get four tall in a row, or four dark in a row, or four hollow in a row, or four square in a row… and if you misread the board, you’re going to give your opponent the winning move.
It is irritatingly easy to miss a trait. Dang it! Those three are round!, you’ll say. Dang it! I missed that those three were short!
And since there are only 16 moves that could possibly be made, each game is short enough to have you yelling “Dang it!” within minutes of the last time you yelled it.
They have decent quality wood versions of the game that are attractive enough to leave the game out on a coffee table as some variant of modern art and the pieces are elemental enough that making a version yourself would make for a fun afternoon project. (And, checking the web, there are a handful of 3D Printed versions that people make for themselves.)
It’s a simple, elegant, fun game that will have you replaying the last game in your head long after you put the board back on the coffee table. (And there’s a version available on Steam on mega-sale this weekend for a mere two bucks. Looks less good on the coffee table, though.)
So… what are you playing?
(Featured image is “Opening” by MeoplesMagazine. Used under a creative commons license.)