The Games

This is the big game show, folks.

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People have played games since the dawn of civilization, and quick placement games like Achi are found around the globe. This version originated in Ghana where it is often played by children using pebbles and a hand-drawn board. In England, fragments of the game were found dating back to the 3rd or 4th century. A version is played in India called "Yih" and the variation played in the Phillipines is called "Tapatan." Achi looks a bit like Tic-Tac-Toe (also known as Noughts and Crosses), but players can move their pieces after they are place on the board. A simple but challenging little game that has survived for centuries.

This is the second in the Battlefield series of two-player card games. You take the role of either the Union or the Confederacy, represented by a deck of 72 custom cards. These cards depict military officers and units, plus some civilian influences and fateful events that affect the battle's outcome. You control the placement of cards in each skirmish, including combinations that add extra force in the lines of battle. The losers are interred in the graveyard while the winners survive to fight another skirmish as the cards cycle through your hand. Ultimately, one side will triumph, furthering the glory and survival of your nation. But one battle does not win the war, and your armies will surely meet again on the Battlefield.

The first of the Battlefield series, this two-player card game simulates a conflict between powerful Medieval armies of equal strength, each player having a deck of 72 cards. Under your command, the leaders of your military units are called into battle, and even the peasants will rally in the name of your King and the Royal Family. Deploy your advance units, assign your reinforcements, and deal with the hand of fate as the weather and other effects can influence the outcome of each skirmish. Archers, Knights, Cavaliers, Pikemen and more are in your control. The winners will survive to fight again, but the losers are consigned to the graveyard. Only one army will ultimately triumph for the glory of the King!

The third of the Battlefield series expands the game to the stars. Each of two players has a deck of 72 cards which represent an alliance of space fleets from several alien races. The two sides differ in the fleets and their capabilities, but the forces are equal in their effectiveness through combinations of powers and tactics. Deploy your warships to the battle coordinates, assign your available reinforcements, and deal with the anomalies that can occur in the depths of space. Winners go on to fight in future encounters, while the losers are blown to oblivion. Through a series of skirmishes, each space force will be reduced to their most powerful fleets, and will finally meet in a glorious battle for supremacy in the galaxy!

The game Brandubh is an Irish variation of ancient Norse games, and related to the Welsh game "tawlbrrd." A thousand-year-old carved wooden game board and pegs was found in Balinderry, Ireland. The original rules have never been found, but based on other games of that type, two sets of rules have been developed. The game is "asymmetrical" - meaning that the two players' sets of pegs are different, and their objectives are different. In both variations, the defender wins if they can get their King off the board, or to a specific place on the edges of the board; the attacker wins if they can capture the King before he escapes.

In the family game called CardBoard, each of the 66 cards represents a space on a game board. From two to six can play CardBoard, and as you play, you create the game board one card at a time. Your goal is to get to the point cards on the table to increase your score, but remember that any card you play may be reached by any player. You can create traps or paths to gain points quickly. You can also become trapped in your own schemes if you're not careful! The game is quick and exciting, eventually filling a table with paths that are both dangerous and rewarding! The millions of card combinations means that the game is different every time, but the rules are easy, and CardBoard can be played anywhere that you find a flat surface.

The name of this Japanese peg game means "it's your turn." A traditional game in Japan, the rules were refined in 1971 by Alexander Randolph for the Stancraft company. The game is unusual in that it can be played by two or three players, and that the players are not assigned a specific color of peg. Any peg can be played by any player on their turn, the objective being to form an equilateral triangle of any size in one color anywhere on the board. It's an entirely different challenge in Gamer and visualization, an innovative blend of pattern and planning.

The game of MuTorere originated among the Maori tribes of New Zeeland (though similar games are found elsewhere). No one knows how old the game really is, but when European colonists first recorded it in the 1850s, it had been around for generations. When the game was described by the famous game historian R.C. Bell in 1969, it found a new audience and became popular once again. It's a simple looking puzzle game for two, each player attempting to trap their opponent one step at a time. MuTorere is a great alternative to tic-tac-toe to introduce players to the genre of two-player puzzle games.

Seega - a game that has been played in Egypt for centuries, and spread throughout North Africa. Seega sets vary from finely crafted sets in ceramic and ivory to boards scratched out in the dirt using colored pebbles for the pieces. The game begins with each player's 12 pieces off the board, and a placement phase of two pieces at a time, turn-by-turn. Once all these are in play, the game becomes one of capture. Your opponent's pieces are captured by trapping one between two of your own orthogonally. Throughout this exchange, the center position remains immune to capture, but this is not such an advantage as it might seem. A deep abstract game, the moves are simple and quick.

Nikola Tesla, one of the greatest scientific minds in history, invented many aspects of our modern world and conceived of a future that is being realized every day. This card game, which can be played by two to six players, embodies many inventions and events from Tesla's roller-coaster life - great success and great failure in equal portions. Through rounds of blind-bidding, you will (hopefully) acquire cards to build your own deck of powerful cards, increasing your ability to win more power round after round. In fact, your final score is measured by how much voltage you can generate at the end of the game. Learn about this fascinating genius as you play Tesla, Master of Lightning.

This race game comes from the Moki and Hopi people of southwestern North America. There are several variations of the arrangement, including a version for four players. In all cases, each player has but one peg, and must race to the opponent's home space and back again to win. The movement is determined by a toss of casting sticks or coins, and there's a definitive push-your-luck aspect to these coin-tosses. Control of the center space is the real key to the game. Fun and straightforward, a series of games is typical to determine a final winner (best three out of five, and so on).

Three to five players old enough to recognize the two words "victor" and "victim" can play this quick card game. The cards depict the letters of those two words in three colors, plus a handful of other cards that can influence the flow of the game. With three cards face-up on the table, each player draws a card on their turn then decides which of their cards to pass along to the next player. Through this simple choice, they're trying to force the other players to spell the word "victim" - eliminating them from the game - or to spell the word "victor" from their own cards, thus winning the game. Simple, fast, and fun, Victor or Victim is a great family game for any place and any time.