Strategic Board Games
Math Engaged's top recommendation! The rules are simple: get 5 marbles in a row. But there’s a twist! That is, the board is made up of four tiles that must be continuously twisted with each turn of the game. The players must place their marbles such that the twisting tiles lines up 5 in a row, but look carefully to see what your opponent is sneakily setting up! Pentago has received numerous awards including “Game of the Year”, and is a fantastic way for helping players develop foresight into even the most unpredictable challenges.
Pentago is now also available in two mind-twisting alternatives! If you've learned the skills from the classic 2-player game, try Multi-Player Pentago on a 9-tile board. The rules are the same, but the universe is different. Will the strategies of the classic 2-player Pentago carry over to the larger board? Why or why not? How do your strategies have to adjust for playing a 2-player game Vs. a 3-player game Vs. a 4-player game?
Also try Triple Pentago: the Tri-Colored version where it's no longer "my marbles Vs. your marbles", but rather all marbles are fair game to all players. Triple Pentago welcomes 2-player, 3-player, and even 4-player games on its four-tiled board, and each different 5-in-a-row color combination goal challenges the mind to think about absolutely new strategies for how to approach these more-challenging-than-ever game!
The classic 2-player Pentago is available for check-out at the Durland Alternatives Library!
Othello is an ongoing battle between two players as they continuously flip and re-flip each other’s pieces. Placing just one piece on the board can affect 8 different directions of the board, challenging the player to be more observant and examine the problem from all angles. Developing strategies is even more challenging in this game because of how quickly the entire board can change. Othello takes just minutes to learn, but a lifetime to master!
Available for check-out at the Durland Alternatives Library!
All you have to do in this game is get all your tiles on the board. Simple, right? Not quite! Each player has a collection of tiles that are different shapes and sizes, and each tile can only touch at the corner. After just a few turns, players find themselves running into the opponent’s pieces and become cornered! The strategy unfolds in this game as players are challenged to use spatial reasoning on their path to victory.
Available to play at the Durland Alternatives Library!
Getting four in a row is a classic end-game goal, but Quarto challenges you to consider four different variables in achieving your goal before your opponent does. Every playing piece possesses a unique combination of height, color, shape, and top design, which challenges players to analyze every piece individually with every turn. Quarto also breaks the traditional game-play formula by requiring players to play pieces that their opponents select for them. Every move counts in this game as players consider variables, maximization as well as minimization, and set theory to achieve victory!
Available for checkout at the Durland Alternatives Library!
Quoridor is a perfect game to encourage learning from your mistakes. The objective is simple: get your pawn from your side of the board to the opposite side of the board. When it's your turn, you can either move your pawn by one space, or you can use your limited number of wooden planks to try blocking your opponent's pathway. The game is deceptively easy when players first try the game, but as the pawns approach their goals and wooden planks start to run low, players start realizing the strategies that they wished they implemented from the beginning. When a victor is called, players are eager to play again to exercise new strategies and enhanced deductive reasoning in hopes to claim the win.
Tic-Tac-Toe Times Ten
This vintage board game can be found on websites like eBay.com, but can be played by just paper and pencil anywhere, anytime. This significantly more complex version of the classic game still has simple rules, but challenges the players to tap into their strongest deductive reasoning if they want claim the victory. A large tic-tac-toe board has mini tic-tac-toe grids inside each space. To win the game, players must get 3-in-a-row on the large board, but to claim a space, they must win the tic-tac-toe boards within each space. The true challenge of the game is that every place you play dictates which space on the larger board your opponent must play in, forcing each player to think carefully about what moves to make and why. To read more about the rules and how you can play this with just paper and pencil, check out this fantastic page for a clear explanation.