Columns – a game of strategic stacking

Columns is another beautifully crafted game “PIN” from Out-of-the-Box’s Masterpiece collection. The two-player “stacking game” involves building on a matrix of 3×4 wooden pins. Each player has a collection of wooden pieces: “L”-shaped, rectangular and square “blockers” and disk-shaped “roundels.” There are 12 roundels, and they are the only pieces that can score, and they only score when they are placed on top of a column. Columns are built in five layers. A roundel can not be placed on top of an opponent’s blocker.

Rule-wise, that’s pretty much it. Well, you also can’t put two of the same kind of blockers on top of each other. And you can’t leave any gaps. Other than that, the game is one of careful anticipation as you try to build a foundation that will be topped by your roundels and not your opponent’s.

At first, it’s almost impossible to understand the implications of the different kinds of pieces. You place something in the matrix. You build. You are surprised. As you play repeatedly you get a growing appreciation for the strategic value of each different piece. If you are evenly matched, the subtleties continue to reveal themselves game after game. And you still get surprised.

For people who like 3-D puzzles and games of strategy, Major FUN, in deed.

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