★★★☆☆ Pentago; seconds to learn, years to master… but probably competence in a day.

Check out this game if: you like two player abstract games like chess and checkers.

This game stands out because: it’s clever and simple. Games like this are called abstract because the rules do not follow a theme (like saving a princess or fighting a monster) they are just rules for the game. And that’s okay because a story-line would just be distracting for this kind of game.

This is a particularly clever abstract game because with just a little experience, you can figure out “moves” and set up “traps” for your opponent. However, if both you and your opponent are equally matched, the game can tie.  

1. Simple rules make this easy to teach.
2. Few options make for quick turns and games.
3. This game teaches planning ahead and spacial relations.
4. Games are quick enough to play a few in a row -which will likely happen once the game “clicks” with someone.

1. Only two players
2. Can cause contention with sore losers.

Brief Overview:
The goal of this game is to get five of your colored marbles in a row on a 6×6 grid. The trick in this game is that the 6×6 grid is further broken up into 3×3 grids that spin. On your turn, you must place a marble and spin a 3×3 grid (not necessarily the grid you played your marble on).

Number of Players 2
Age 6+
Time 5 mins
Friendly ★★☆☆☆
Teachable ★★★★★
Replayability ★★☆☆☆
Creative Freedom ★★★☆☆
Inclusive (no elimination) ★★★★☆
Interaction ★★★★☆

There is a four player version of this game, but it lacks the simple beauty of the two player version.

Teaching Advice:
First, explain how to win and show the player the multiple ways to get five in a row. Then show how to turn the 3×3 grid (quarter of a turn). Finally, explain the turn order (place a marble, then turn a piece), and explain that you don’t need to turn the piece you placed a marble on.

Link to Video Tutorial.

Link to Pentago on Amazon.

One thought on “★★★☆☆ Pentago; seconds to learn, years to master… but probably competence in a day.

  1. I love this abstract game due to several reasons mentioned in your review. I especially like that players must turn a 3×3 grid during their turn (unless there is at least one neutral 3×3 grid).

    Liked by 1 person

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