An abstract strategy game for more than 2 players? Yep, in Gigamic’s Quoridor, up to four can battle it out in team mode. Quoridor is a fine example of simple to learn, hard to master gameplay. In Quoridor, you need to get your pawn to the opposite side of the board. Just one pawn and just once across the board. But so does your opposing number. And you don’t want them to get there first. So, each turn, you get to choose whether to (a) advance your pawn one space orthogonally or (b) erect a wall. Walls can slow your opponent down, but you mustn’t dead-end them completely. And that’s it. Nothing complicated, but something surprisingly crunchy!
Like a game of cat and mouse, where you’re each playing the cat as well as the mouse, this is a thinky race. And yet it is not always a race. I sometimes focus on trying to shorten my own journey time, but other times it’s more about sending my opponent down longer paths. In fact, it is more like a labyrinth. You think you can see the exit from the mind maddening maze, and then it flip reverses on you again!
I would say that, when my husband and I play Quoridor, when one of us wins, the other is usually nowhere near their destination. I’d like to blame wiley wall placement, but my husband is simply very good at assessing a game space and predicting what I will most likely do…..even when I try to mix it up. And that runaway success can sting. Some people like that sharp snap, others not so much. Me? I love to loathe my opponent haha! Needless to say, we play this game (like the others in fact) with meanness cranked up to the max!
But we don’t always play to punish. With such a simple ruleset, I can also play with my 6-year-old son. And not just to let my game stats recover! And you know what? He is already getting this game. He's a huge fan of mazes and maze games generally (Labyrinth and Mazescapes to name a few!). He sees opportunities to shortcut his route and he takes them. In time I think he will probably extend his focus to make my routes longer in terms of winning strategies. But for now, I am happy to let his confidence build as his skills develop.