Squaremino

Squaremino       Frost & Frost |  BGG  | Buy

Publisher: Frost & Frost
2-4 players  15 min. ages 6+  MSRP $28.95

text-the concept

Squaremino is a clever and strategic twist on the tile laying classic. The goal remains the same, however: be the first to play all of your tiles to win.

text-the components

There are 64 square domino tiles in the game. Each one measure s1 1/8” on each side is 3/8” thick. They are made from a nicely weighted material which gives each tile just the right heft. It’s a pleasure just to hold and fiddle with your tiles as you’re setting up and playing.

The 64 tiles are divided into 4 colored suits: red, blue, yellow, and green. Each suit has 16 tiles numbered 1 through 4. So there are four of each number within a suit. Keep in mind, unlike a conventional domino, each tile only has a single number instead of two.

To play, you spread out all the tiles face down and each player draws 12 tiles as a starting hand. The tiles are thick enough to stand on their own, so it’s easy set your hand up in a line.

Like most domino games, you’ll need room for several lines of tiles as the game goes on, so make sure to leave plenty of room in the middle of the table to play. Push the unused dominoes to the side as a draw pile and you’re ready to go!

text-the mechanics

Each player will take turns playing 2,3 or 4 tiles to create a shared board – lines of tiles extending vertically and horizontally, crossword style.

There are two simple rules for playing tiles.

The set of tiles you play must be consecutive numbers in the same color

OR

The set of tiles you play must be the same number but different colors.

So, a 1-2-3 in blue would be legal. So 4-4-4 provided that each 4 was a different color.

There are a few no-no’s in the game.

You can never play a single tile. And you can never play more than four tiles at once or extend a line of tiles past four.

The tiles played must be in a straight line. And the tiles played cannot create a square of tiles on the board.

If you cannot or do not want to play, you draw an extra tile from the face down pile and add it to your hand.

The first player to get rid of all his or her tiles wins the game.

text-apart

Many times a Major Fun game will be a champion of innovation. It will offer up an experience that is totally new and very different from other games.

In the case of Squaremino, what makes it noteworthy is its decision to not stray too far from the comfort zone of the classic on which it is based.

There are certainly new strategies that are very different from the classic. This is not a game of matching numbers. You’re playing either a sequence or a set to build the board.

And the game does offer a bonus for completing a row of four tiles. Each time you do this you have the option to turn in a tile and draw a replacement. Setting yourself up for these bonuses and also keeping your opponents from them is key.

What makes Squaremino special and noteworthy, though, is that it resists the urge to reinvent the wheel. It would have been very easy to add several additional layers of complexity to the game, bonuses for longer runs or making certain shapes within the layout of the board. But I’m certain this would not make the game better.

Sometimes the key to fun is knowing when to stop. Knowing what not to ad,. Perhaps it’s like negative space in painting. The things that are not there help give art shape as much as the things that are.

text-final

The structure of the game is one any domino player will recognize. And though it borrows some of its inspiration from games like Qwirkle (another Major Fun winner), Squaremino feels familia and comfortable. Like a favorite sweater or perfectly broken in old pair of shoes.

Its so familiar, in fact, many may even think they have played before because it stays true to the soul of the classic. It celebrates its heritage but finds a way to stand on its own.

That’s a fine line and a fun line for any Major Fun game to walk.

Whether you’re learning for the first time or the pips on your set of double twelves have worn off, Squaremino is a game almost anyone will find hours of fun playing.

Ancestree

Release: 3/1//2018    Download:  Enhanced  | MP3
Run Time: 68 min    Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS

Genealogists are a curious and squinty lot. They spend much of their lives buried in the archives doing research, trying to uncover hidden branches of their family trees.

All those late nights are about to pay off. If all goes well you’ll have enough information to prove your lineage is historically significant – a family tree for the ages!

Ancestree is a tile drafting game where each player cultivates a family tree over three rounds. You’ll build dynasties, marriages, and wealth to score points.

The game is wonderfully simple to learn but the scoring system makes each decision matter and each decision fun.

Ancestree is also inclusive. It celebrates diversity and allows us to play with the idea of family. Allowing more people to find themselves in the game is a powerful and playful idea. Inviting more people to the table helps open a door to the wider world of games and (we hope) allows even more people to share the joy and fun we find through play.

Listen in for a full review and discover why Ancestree is Major Fun!
Ancestree

Calliope Games  |  BGG  |  Buy

Designer: Eric M. Lang

Artist: Larry Elmore & Adelheid Zimmerman

Publisher: Calliope Games

2-6 players  20-40 min   ages 8+   MSRP $30

For info on the Truckloads of Goober segment featured on the show, check out the show notes at The Spiel!

Music credits include:

We Are Family   By Deborah Dixon & Nova Bossa  |  the song

We Are Family (Adam Clarke Club Funk Mix)  |  the song

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Kingdomino

Release Date: 4/17/2017 Download:  Enhanced  | MP3
Running Time: 43 min Subscribe:  Enhanced  | MP3 | RSS

Being King is a tough job, especially when your subjects need more land. Some like the forest, others the desert, some even like the swamp. And it’s your job to make sure they all have a place in your realm. To do this, you’ll expand out from your castle, laying dominoes of different types of land, hoping to create the highest scoring tabletop kingdom.

Kingdomino mixes the time tested classic tile laying game with several simple, clever modern twists. Easy enough for kids and families to learn quickly but deep enough to provide a fun challenge every time you play.

That’s a surefire recipe for Major Fun!

Listen in to our full review of the game and discover why Kingdomino might deserve an honored place on your shelf, too.

Kingdomino

Blue Orange Games  |  BGG  |  Amazon

Designer: Bruno Cathala

Publisher: Blue Orange

2-4 players  15-20 min.  ages 8+  MSRP $20

Music credits include:

Domino by Roy Orbison  |  the song

Falling Like Dominoes   by Donald Byrd   |  the song

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