In answer to the question: “what do you get when you combine rock-paper-scissors with tic-tac-toe?” You get Sizzletoad – a board game with a near perfect blend of strategy and chance, one of the few strategic games that kindergarteners could enjoy as much as, say, fourth-graders.

You can play Sizzletoad with 2-4 players. Because the game is based on familiar games, its mechanics can be readily understood, even though it offers a very different play experience. Instead of using fingers to play the game, you use cards. This is also a little different. The cards (24 of them) are divided equally between players. Equally, but randomly, so another element of luck is added to the strategic mix. You might want to play a Paperduck, but you can’t if you don’t have one in your hand. The rock-scissors-paper part (Sizzletoad-Paperduck-Fossilstick actually) works a bit differently with three players. But it most definitely works.

The tic-tac-toe part is also a little different. The player who wins the Sizzletoad-Paperduck-Fossilstick showdown wins the other players cards, and gets to play any one of those cards on to the tic-tac-toe grid. However, the first player to get three of any card in a row is the winner of that round.

All these differences are just enough to make everything you might know about strategies for playing tic-tac-toe and rock-scissors-paper useful, while you find yourself engaged in a very different, and challenging game.

The cards are small (perfect for a child’s hand). There are four, lovely, crystal playing pieces, and a folding board. All-in-all, a unique invitation to play, and think.

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