Doubles Wild

Warning! It looks like another game of tic tac toe. In fact, it looks like a game of tic tac toe where you roll dice to decide where you can put your marble on the grid. So, it’s wooden. So it’s really well-made and delicious to feel. But, so what? It’s tic tac toe!

Well, it is, and it isn’t. The tic tac toe part of it makes it easier to understand and play. The dice part of it, most surprisingly, elevates the game to something surprisingly unique, nail-bitingly exciting and, from time to time, pants-wettingly fun.

See, it’s called “Doubles Wild.” And it’s the wild doubles thing that is at least partly responsible for the fun of it all. Because without the wild doubles thing, you just roll your the dice and move where they tell you to. But with the wild doubles thing, you can position your marble anywhere along the specified row or column. And if you get two doubles (it didn’t happen to us during the Tasting, but we all acknowledged the possibility), then you can put your marble anywhere on the board.

And it’s also the attack-defend thing. See, if you can land on someone else’s piece, you can maybe remove it from play. Maybe, because you have do engage your opponent in the feared “battle of the dice” where you have three chances to try to roll the higher total. And the losing player loses a marble.

And even more surprisingly, it’s the roll again thing. If you don’t like your first roll, you can roll either or both pair of dice again. So you have to think of the odds. And the strategy. And how desperate you are to keep the other player from winning.

And, as you can almost guess from the first move, it’s the more and more marbles on the board thing that really makes the game into what one could only call a Major FUN Award-worthy experience. Because as the board gets populated, so do the strategic implications.

You can play Doubles Wild with two, three or four players. We had six at the time of our tasting, so we decided to play the 3-player version, in teams of two. I wish you could have been there to hear the profundity of reasoning and the intricacy of pro- and con- measurement. We played for an hour, and were surprised by the depth of the game on the average of every three minutes.

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