Tunnelz is a 3-D, Twixt-like game with the elegance and simplicity of Tic-Tac-Toe. Your objective: make a connected line of your color pieces, stretching from side to side of the cube.

You get 8 blocks. Your opponent, 8 of a different color. You get a plastic cube, a 3-D matrix, 5-rows by 5-columns by 5-tunnelz deep. The blocks are one cell wide and high, and two cells deep. So, in fact, you only need three blocks (well, 2.5) to make a continuous, side-spanning line. Except, of course, you take turns, and your opponent has this annoying need to block you, so to speak, whist pursuing her orthogonally distinct line-making, side-spanning efforts.

The two two-cell depth of the blocks adds yet more interesting properties. Once you put a block into a Tunnel, it stays in that tunnel. If it were one-cell deep as well as wide and high, you could slide the block in any of eight directions, from row to row, column to column, level to level. But it’s two. So you can’t. So a piece positioned in any particular tunnel, blocks four other tunnelz. Very interesting. Interesting also that you can push a piece deeper into the game cube. You even get a pushing rod for that very purpose. Interesting that when you push your piece, you might very well be pushing another piece in that same tunnel, in such a way as not only to connect some of your blocks, but also to disconnect some of hers.

All in all, Tunnelz is an attractive, inviting, and unique two-player strategy game, simple enough for any tic-tac-toe-playing tot. Intriguing enough to merit more than a modicum of mature contemplation.

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