Play This: Otrio

Let’s face it, Tic Tac Toe is pretty basic. Dare I say…boring? If I had a pen an paper, I’d rather play Hangman.

Actually, playing Tic Tac Toe with my kid has given me a different perspective on this simple game: it’s one of the first games young kids can learn game strategy. I remember watching in disbelief as my son, four years old at the time, made no attempt to block my moves–focusing only on filling his row with circles. I’m not one to let The small grid and limited number of moves make it easier to teach how to block and/or anticipate your opponent’s moves, which is a good skill to learn before diving into games like Chess.

Otrio is Tic Tac Toe evolved. It’s time to ditch the pen and paper, because check out this sleek bamboo game board.

(Photo/Marbles: The Brain Store)

Otrio supports two to four players. Each player begins with three large circles, three small circles, and three pegs in the same color. As you can see in the image above, the board is the same three-by-three grid as Tic Tac Toe. There are three ways you can win:

  • Three-of-a-kind of the same color in one row (e.g. three large circles in a row)
  • Ascending/descending sizes of the same color in a row (large circle, small circle, peg and vice versa)
  • All three sizes of the same color in one square

Easy, right?

Wrong. You’ll quickly discover that there are many elements to watch out for, and a player can sneak a win if you aren’t vigilant. Best of all, Otrio builds on basic strategies you’ve learned from playing Tic Tac Toe: plotting your moves while blocking opponents’ moves.

The board and game pieces are very well made. The plastic pieces fit the grooves nicely too, providing a nice tactile experience. One downside to the beautifully designed set is its price point: $34.99. It sure looks nice on the coffee table, though, and why not keep it out for a quick brain exercise? The game only takes ten to fifteen minutes to play.

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