Gamewright’s Terzetto wins the Major Fun Award for the “clever randomizer” category. There’s a great strategy game and an engaging solitaire game in there too, but the shaker that determines how you place your pieces is a neat little piece of game design.

Terzetto can be played by two players or played as a solitaire puzzle. Each player has a 5×5 game grid and 24 marbles (eight colors, three marbles per color). The goal is to place all of your marbles on your grid by playing them in groups of three.

But you can’t place the three marbles in any old way. That’s where the diabolical shaker comes in.

The shaker consists of a three-by-three grid and three yellow balls enclosed in a clear box. When you shake the box, the three balls fall into the nine grid spots. The way the three balls are situated in the shaker is how you have to play your three marbles on your game grid.

In a head-to-head game the players take turns shaking and placing marbles. If you cannot play after you shake then you pass and your opponent gets to go again. Play continues until both players pass OR one player successfully places all 24 of their marbles.

The rules are incredibly simple and Gamewright includes a few  variations—one of which makes the game much more difficult. Games are quick and even though the strategy aspect is pretty light, there are enough choices in the early stages of the game that you always feel that victory is just one…  more…  game…  away.

Although the shaker usually betrays you on your last set of three marbles, it’s hard to stay mad at a game that lets you get so close to success. And on those moments when the shaker balls line up in just the right way, you feel as if the universe smiles on you.

If only for that brief moment.

Major Fun award

For 1-2 players, ages 8+

Terzetto was designed by Theora Design and is © 2013 by Gamewright.

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