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Time-tested pattern-seeking twisted in whole new dimensions.

Board Game Review: ‘Slideways’ from R&R Games

Slideways from R&R Games takes the classic Tic-Tac-Toe and stretches it in a direction rarely before seen, altering the fabric of the game. As was made famous in 1983’s WarGames, people generally give up on Tic-Tac-Toe as they grow up and realize that the few iterations are predictable, so games end up always being a tie. Slideways, however, takes the time-tested principles of pattern-making and gives players a new chance to change what has been marked and the board itself, bringing back the familiar in a new way that will set minds aflutter.

slidewaysThe first change from the old is Slideways’ bigger board. While Tic-Tac-Toe has only nine squares, with players needing to get three of their icons in a row, Slideways offers a four-by-four board with players seeking to get four in a row. That difference alone increases the difficulty and need for strategy in the game, much as the disc-dropping Connect-Four has done in years past.

As in standard games, players take turns flipping tiles to their colors seeking to make a line horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Going beyond the regular pattern-creating games, players may change a tile that had been previously flipped at least one round beforehand, ending the possibility of an unrewarding cat’s game and instead continuing a dance of logic and judging the plans of one’s opponent.

The real change that sets Slideways apart is that the board is separated into four rows. These rows are anchored by magnets, making Slideways suitable for travel while still being flexible enough to easily slide a row one space in either direction. Moving one row radically changes the game, adding not only a new level of directional thinking for strategy but also a wild way to disrupt gameplay for those who prefer their strategies loose and lucky.

In addition to the classic duel of two players against one another, Slideways offers special rules for a three-player game. While the “blue” side is neutral in the two-player version, it becomes the color for a third player also seeking a four-tile line. The board is set up with alternating colors, creating a set-up that is initially blue-friendly, but by the time the yellow and red players have their first turns, it is anyone’s game. Three-player games are typically more chaotic than two-player ones, but play stays well grounded in logical strategy, as the rule stands that a flipped tile or moved row must stay as it is for at least one round before it can be changed.

Slideways is a game for two or three players aged eight and up. Games are usually very quick, lasting ten minutes on average for the speedy ones over in just a few clever moves and the drawn-out battles where players set traps for an opponent. Players should especially watch out as brains are usually looking for patterns to be made in the board as is, while deeper players will look for ways to change the board to their advantage.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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