Poison Pot

Poison Pot is one of those sweet little 2-3-player strategy games with just the right balance between the kind of strategic depth that makes you want to play again and again, with the sheer, dumb luck you also need to keep you from taking it too personally when you lose.

In this well-made wooden game a turn consists of moving a piece that is already on the board, and then adding a new piece. Pieces come in three colors. Since the unplayed pieces are turned so that the color is on the bottom, you never know what color you’ll be playing until you play it. A piece can be moved in any of six directions on the hexagonal board. The object is to position as many of your color pieces so that they are adjacent to each other.

There is another piece, the Poison Pot. The Poison in the Poison Pot, though not lethal, is just noxious enough to make any adjacent cluster worthless. Since the Poison Pot can be moved, a lot of the beginning strategy is aimed at trying to make sure the Poison Pot doesn’t get moved near one of your clusters. Of course, as the board gets filled, strategies change (which helps keep the game so interesting). You might find yourself trying to break up your largest (and highest scoring) cluster, just to avoid poisonous proximity to the pot of pointlessness.

Though the game is definitely easy enough for an eight-year-old to play, with enough luck to make the eight-year-old want to keep playing, the strategic depth might be better appreciated by someone a bit older.

All in all, this game is just the kind of strategy game that the Major FUN Award was created for.

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