I found Nowhere to Go in a store for teachers. I suppose that was a logical place to find the game, given that it comes from a company called Educational Insights. So I naturally assumed it was an “educational” game, which I almost immediately (and somewhat shamefully) assumed would be more educational than, well, fun.
But fun it is. Major fun, that is.
It’s an abstract strategy game for two players. It’s played on a hexagonal board. There are 19 platforms, each connected to the adjacent platforms by bridges.
When the game begins, each player first places her “spy piece” (a shady looking character) on one of the two platforms with slightly raised centers. Next, players place five “blockers” (little, notched, grey pieces that like to inhabit the bridges between the platforms) on the five bridges of their choice. Where they place their bridges is fraught with strategic implications, but it may take a while for them to perceive the fraughtness of it all. And, no, silly, you can’t put your blockers on the three bridges connecting to your opponent’s home, because that would make the game no fun at all.
From then on, players take turns, first moving their spy to any connected platform (as long as the path isn’t blocked), and then adding a blocker. The idea is to block every path that is available to your opponent’s spy, until you are the only player who can still move.
The instructions are wonderfully brief. The game takes only a few minutes to play. The rounds are quick. And death is often surprisingly sudden. All in all making this a perfect invitation to strategic thinking. Easy enough to entice your eight-year-old strategist, deep enough to make your adult self want to play with her.
Designed by Hank Atkins, Nowhere to Go is Major Fun.