If you like Matchstick Puzzles, you’ll probably be amazed at how much fun you and your matchstick-puzzle-loving friends can have with Stix. We were. So much so that Stix was the only game to get an unqualified recommendation for Major FUN worthiness.

The game isn’t very impressive: a box containing a deck of cards, a sand-timer and five sticks. But the gameplay makes up for any lack of fanciness in the execution.

Each player gets five cards. There were eight of us, and, since the game is for 2-4 players, we played in pairs. Each card shows an array of five matches in a different pattern. One more card from the deck is turned over. The five sticks are then positioned according to the design revealed on that card. Players then take turns, looking for cards in their hand that show a pattern which can be created by repositioning one and only one matchstick. Amazingly, given five cards, it is rare to find a pattern you can’t create. If you can’t find a pattern you can create, you have to pick another card.

The object is to be the first player to get rid of all five cards – an object that gets progressively more challenging as there are fewer and fewer cards in your hand from which to choose.

There are instructions for two variations and a solitaire version of the game. As we progressed, we began wishing the timer was for 30 seconds, and not a full minute. We also wished the sticks were heavier (they are light, and easy to misalign). But we loved the game in all its versions.

You can buy Stix here.

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