Oversight from Griddly Games takes familiar strategy concepts and adds a new dynamic that changes everything. Achieving a row of pieces is a game mechanic that goes back thousands of years to boards resembling tic-tac-toe carved into stone roofing tiles of ancient Egypt. But while getting four player pieces in a row is a time-tested skill, Oversight plays things differently by allowing the board itself to move.
A game of Oversight begins with setting square tiles on the game board to build a base for the game. Sixteen squares are set permanently into place as a guide, which makes the other 33 pieces free to move by sliding them. Players then select the circular tiles of one color and take turns to either place a piece or move one of the rows or columns. The game continues until a player wins by getting four of their circular pieces in a row. As in many strategy games, it is a set of rules that can be explained in under a minute and mastered over a lifetime.
The innovative moving system in Oversight prompts players to think in an additional dimension. Keeping track of potential placements is the basic aspect of the game. Players must know not only what is to their best advantage but also what blocks their opponents from winning. On top of that, players must also consider how the board would change if a row or column were changed. It could be a great benefit, lining up an unexpected victory, but it could just as well suddenly set up an opponent to win halfway across the board.
As more players join a game of Oversight, the play becomes more unpredictable, perfect for those who like a little chaos in their games. One-on-one is the classic setup for a strategy game so that players can remove as much luck as possible. They will study each other to see what moves will serve them best in the long run. With more players, Oversight becomes a game of finding opportunities as they appear. It is a great mental workout to keep track of the board as it becomes more complex with every piece laid down. As the board becomes full, players will have to think in multiple directions to see the best way to shift the board to improve the layout of their pieces.
The visual aspect of Oversight gives yet another dynamic. If players want a high difficulty level, they can play with the square tiles color side up, making for plenty of distraction that might have them overlook a potential win. For an easier “setting,” players can use the uniform orange sides of the tiles that match the board. To help with potential color blindness, each player piece has a unique symbol to go with the color, leveling the playing field for all.
Oversight is a strategy game for two to four players aged seven and up. It is an excellent classroom and learning game since it has no language requirement and multiple ways to play. Games are fast enough that players will be eager to go another round as soon as one is done. With placing and shifting mechanics both in play, no two games of Oversight will likely ever be the same.