Quads Classic – a puzzle, a strategy game for two, a work of art

Quads Classic is another beautifully rendered game from Gigamic, compassionately brought to the US by Fundex Games.

There are 36 square, wooden tiles, each of which is backed with a magnetic sheet. The board is made of metal and is supported by 4 wooden corner pieces. Printed on the tiles are geometric patterns made of lines and solid shapes. A drawstring bag is included to store tiles between games.

One player gets the tiles with solid shapes, the other gets the rest of the tiles. Two tiles (one with concentric squares and a solid border, the other with regular patterns of right angles and a border of broken lines) are the first tiles played. The game consists of placing tiles so that they are adjacent to at least one other tile. Adjacent tiles must match, making it illegal to place a solid edge next to an edge with an open pattern.

Players alternate turns. The player making the last legal move wins.

Though you can play a game in as little as 10 minutes, it requires deep, very focused strategic thinking. Our Games Tasters kept on likening it to Othello – probably because it is as visually engaging as it is conceptually challenging. As for learning how to play, it takes about as long as it takes to say “whoever makes the last move wins.”

There are a couple recommended variations – to add an element of deductive reasoning, players can place their tiles on edge, rather than flat on the table for all to see. To add more challenge, players have to match the patterns on the edges of the board as well.

As a puzzle, it’s endlessly fascinating. No matter how you place the tiles on the board, you get wonderfully satisfying, geometric patterns of light and dark. You can increase the challenge as much as you want, trying to make evermore symmetrical, board-spanning patterns. And even if you fail, it still looks good. What more could you ask?

Quads Classic is what you might call “museum quality” – at least as much a work of art as it is an invitation to play. And here’s a little extra reassurance: Gigamic will replace lost parts, for FREE, for the first 10 years of ownership!

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