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.

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
art

The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs

News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
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

Senior Java Developer/Designer

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: My client are looking fo...

Domino Developer and Administrator

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Domino ...

Systems Build Engineer (Development) - Peterborough

£35000 - £45000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, inte...

SEN Teacher

£36000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: Experienced SEN Teacher n...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?