Think you know noughts and crosses? Think again! Gigamic have raised their game in Quixo!
Publisher: Gigamic Hachette Board Games UK
Designer: Thierry Chapeau
Release date: 1995
2 – 4 Players
Age: 8+ (we say 6+)
5- 15 mins
Favouritefoe score 8/10
*Up to 4 Players * Strategic * Simple Rules * Wooden Game * Abstract * Team Game * Logic * Prediction/Anticipation * Random Set Up * Pattern Building *
Who doesn’t like a game of noughts and crosses? On the back of a scrap of paper, in the sand with a stick…….when you’ve run out of phone battery and you’ve got a bored tiny person, it can be a useful distraction.
But for all its simplicity, it is just that. A bit too simple. Play it once and, unless your opponent demands a rematch, it can get very samey very quickly.
Well, not anymore!
Thanks to Hachette Board Games UK, we get to experience a whole new side to noughts and crosses. They are bringing Gigamic’s classic abstract strategy game, Quixo, to our shores, and they have added some fun and tactical twists!
Just like Quoridor, Quixo is set up in seconds. Take the 25 gorgeously chunky wooden cubes out of the bag and randomly place them (with blank faces showing) on the study inset board to form a grid of 5 x 5 Done!
And the rules take even less time to learn. You’re still aiming for 5 matching symbols in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line to win. But this time, no pen in sight!
Each turn, you take one cube from the outside edge (never the inner 9 cubes), turn it to show your chosen symbol (nought or cross) if it doesn’t already, and then slide it back into either the column or row that now has an available space. The only cubes you can’t flip or touch are those already showing your opponent’s symbol.
Needless to say, Mini-meeple got this in seconds. He was turning and sliding cubes in and out like a pro – must be all that Labyrinth practice! He already knew the main objective of the game, so it was just the mechanic that was new to him.
Rattling through our first few games in a few minutes, he realised this wasn’t as easy as the ol’ familiar paper and pen version. With the game space changing each turn, he would have to be as dynamic and reactive in order to keep his crosses connected. He would have to think ahead a little. Predict where I might go or what I might take. And change he did! As well as focusing on his own lines, he was soon working his hardest to scupper my own pattern forming efforts!
Now, one big way in which this game definitely differs from the basic noughts and crosses, is that there is a team variant. And it’s a great twist!
The dot you see on each cube isn’t there just to jazz up the design. When playing with 4 players, your team member will sit opposite you. And the cube you can select each turn is restricted to only those where the dot is closer to you than it is to them! Drafting in Bearded Moon and a willing school friend, we tried the team variant (one grown up and one kid on each team), and it was great! Not overwhelming on the strategy front, still fast playing, and, most importantly, fun! Dare I say it, even more fun?!
What was really interesting was hearing the strategy being played out loud each turn – the communication between the team members. At 6 years old, they had no hidden agenda or desire to be cloak-and-dagger about their intentions. They wanted their team to win, and they were going for it. Bearded Moon and I still encouraged our co-Quixo-er to think about what their move could inspire the other team to do as much as where their symbol would end up, but that extra restriction on the pieces they could choose was an enjoyable added challenge. Definitely one Mini-meeple will grow into as his skills develop.
Personally, I think the team variation is what makes Quixo special. Perhaps more for us grown ups than the little gamers right now. But we definitely enjoyed it. And I am thinking about adapting the rules a little to make a two player version of the team game – using some method to determine which side of the table each of us plays every turn.
Quixo is another fast playing, easy to learn, accessible, beautifully made abstract strategy game that will be staying in the #favouritefoefunlearning library! Like most quick games, it’s not a main event choice. It’s a 5-10 minute “pick up, play, and put on the side looking beautiful until next time” type game where one or two plays in a row will scratch your itch and exercise little gamers’ minds. But because it is so easy to play, and there is almost zero set up time, it is one that is going to keep coming back for quick game hits. And as Mini-meeple is such a fan, I’m very much looking forward to watching his skills develop over time!
Click here to download the Publisher’s learningthroughplay classroom resource sheet or click on the file to download it below:
If you like the sound of Quixo check out my reviews of the other titles in the Gigamic Abstract Strategy Collection (including Quoridor) which are being published over the next few weeks, or click here to go to my feature overview of them all!
[Please note that a copy of this game was kindly provided by the publishers for review. I am not paid for my comments, however, and all opinions are my own].