Board Games: The skill and the strategy

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The Independent Culture
THE LARGEST games fair in the world took place in Essen, Germany, last month. Over 115,000 dedicated games players passed through the six halls which contained over 500 exhibitors, who were showing more than 3000 games.

For the last few years, the trend has been towards themed games, that play out a storyline, but this year there was a noticeable tilt back to pure strategy and abstract games.

Following this trend, a few bold British games inventors who had not only the vision to manufacture and market their own creations, but also the bravery to take a stand at Essen, therefore made a strong impression.

Pinpoint, by Oliver Cockell, is a beautifully made strategy game suitable for 2, 3 or 4 players of all ages. The rules are assimilated in seconds and the game involves placing four different coloured capsules into slots in a sturdy plastic board. You score points by forming lines and patterns - the longer or larger they are, the more you score. Price around pounds 25, from Just Games and other games shops.

Fibonacci, from Tom Naylor, is a head to head game of pure skill, incorporating a set of very unusual piece movements, which should appeal to the serious games strategist. Around pounds 20, from Just Games, Harrods and others.

Chamelequin, by Richard Breese, can be played by 2,3 or 4, and uses a colourful squared board on which pieces move to capture their opponents - but their movement is determined by the colours of the collars collected by the playing pieces, which change constantly. pounds 15 from Just Games.

Elevation, from David Royffe, is played on a carved wooden board, using 15 spheres in each of two colours, which build into a pyramid as the game progresses. The player who places the final ball atop the pyramid is the winner. The two rules are understood in seconds and this brilliant strategy game has the added advantage of being a beautiful room adornment when not in play.

If you want a set of Elevation, the only place to find one is at Covent Garden market, in London, on Saturdays. But hurry - these original sets will not be available for much longer. David Royffe has just signed a worldwide licensing contract and Elevation looks set to be the next major games success