Games: Will lateral thinking bring inventor success?

WITH the love affair with computer games seemingly on the wane, it is good to welcome three intriguing new two-player strategy games, Quarto], Pyraos and La-Trel to the British market. These are perhaps the purest type of game; everything is always on view, there are no randomising factors - such as dice - and only good play leads to victory.

Games such as these represent particularly good value, as they can be played again and again using varying tactics, so giving infinite scope. Quarto], Pyraos and La-Trel have been produced to a quality that makes them a pleasure to play.

Quarto] was invented by Blaise Muller of Switzerland, and prior to its arrival in Britain had already collected a clutch of awards around the world. The playing board has 16 circles arranged into a square, and there are the same number of playing pieces made of polished wood. Each piece possesses four of eight different characteristics: light or dark; short or tall; solid or hollow; round or square. No two pieces are identical.

The idea is to form a line of four pieces, all containing one single characteristic - all dark, or all hollow, for example. Playing pieces start off the board, and you take turns to select any one of the pieces and pass it to your opponent, who places it in any circle of his choice on the board.

Not only do you need to watch what is happening on the playing board, but also what is left for selection. Being the one that selects your opponent's pieces, you have only yourself to blame if you lose.

Pyraos is the brainchild of a British inventor, David Royffe. It consists of 30 balls - 15 in each of two colours - and a two-level playing board. The lower deck is purely a channel in which the balls are placed at the start of play, so you can see at a glance how many you have available as the game progresses. The actual playing area is raised above this and has 16 indentations which form a square.

The object of the game is to place your final ball on top of the pyramid which forms as play develops. In turn, players place a ball of their own colour into any of the indentations. When a square of four balls has been formed, players may choose to stick a ball in its centre, either by taking another ball from the channel, or by elevating a free ball already on the playing surface.

By raising a ball already played, another has been saved for later use. But only unencumbered balls may be raised, not ones supporting others, or the pyramid comes crashing down.

If a player forms a square of four balls of his own colour at any level of the pyramid, he may return two balls already played to the channel, and the more you have in reserve, the better your chances of placing the last ball on top.

La-Trel was invented by another British man, Richard Morgan, who has taken the brave step of manufacturing and marketing his game himself. I sincerely hope that he emerges unscathed from this minefield, because this game deserves to succeed.

The playing board is as for chess. Each player has two types of pieces - attackers and defenders. There are three types of attackers, and their shapes are well-conceived to define their varying territorial moves. Defenders form the front ranks (like pawns in chess), but cannot capture any other piece. The winner is the player who captures all the opponent's attacking pieces.

These are mainly captured by jumping over an opponent's piece on a clear path, and landing on the empty square beyond. The same piece can then zoom off in another direction for further captures, all in one turn.

This bouncing around is great fun and very satisfying. However, should you become a La-Trel addict, you may well wish to progress to the advanced game, where two of the defenders are replaced by blockers which cannot be captured, nor are multiple captures (no bouncing) of other pieces permitted.

Quarto], Pyraos and La-Trel are available in various sizes from Just Games, 71 Brewer Street, London W1. Telephone: 071-734 6124.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on