Friday, September 23, 2011

TOS Product Review: Games for Competitors—Tri-Cross

It's been a long time since I was so impressed with the quality of a board game. With today's mass-reproduced versions of classics that come in a flimsy box and sell for $4.99, it was refreshing to see something different come our way. Tri-Cross is a clever hybrid of checkers and chess, a strategy game using numbered tiles. There is also a Tri-Cross tile. Each tile has its own set of “rules” (similar to chess). You will quickly learn that a 5 can jump a 4, 3, 2, and 1 and a Tri-Cross tile can only jump a 6. It only takes a few rounds of play, and you'll memorize which pieces can perform what moves pretty quickly. The game board is small. You can't hide from your enemies for long, which keeps you on your toes and keeps you thinking ahead to what your opponent is about to do to sabotage you!

The most astounding part of this game, to us, was the quality of the product. Even my children noticed that these were well-produced pieces. The tiles remind me of my grandmother's old Bakelite tile bracelets from the 1960's. They are very durable and smooth. The board was even thicker than most boards. The pieces are housed in a velvet, draw-string bag.

We also got a chance to review the Eco-Friendly travel version of this game. The board is made from organic cotton, which is folded up and kept in a drawstring organic cotton bag with the same quality pieces. It's nice to see companies like Games For Competitors putting forth an effort to be more environmentally aware.

The first few times we played, the game was over quickly, because one of us (that would be me) wasn't paying attention to all the rules. My 9 year old smoked me. Then, we got a little more competitive and the game went on a little longer. Some games out there can last forever. It's nice when you've got some spaghetti boiling and your kid asks you to play a game. This is the first one I would grab. It's quality time playing a quality game and you aren't going to be cycling around the board 50 times and counting money while the dinner burns!

The only issue that came up for us while playing is that if you aren't paying attention and get your Tri-Cross tile AND your 6 tile taken by your opponent early on in the game, you have very little chance of redeeming yourself.  Since the only way to win is to keep a piece in the center Tri-Cross square for 4 turns, or to take all of your opponent's pieces, you need to keep your high value tiles and your Tri-Cross tile unharmed. It's kind of like keeping your Queen in chess. You need her abilities to help you win in the end.

Tri-Cross comes with rules for 2 players and rules for 3 and 4 players. When 2 are playing, only red and black are used. There is also a variation in which the values of the tiles are not revealed until a challenge is presented between two opposing tiles. This makes for an entirely new kind of game, which my children and I both enjoyed!

You may purchase Tri-Cross here and also see tutorials on how to play. The company sells three variations of their game. The eco-friendly travel set sells for $19.95, the standards set sells for $24.95 and the wooden set sells for $35.95. I think these prices are very fair in the current board game market. This is truly a game that can be passed down to the next generation and is worth doing so.

**Disclaimer:  Games for Competitors provided my family with the standard game and the travel game in exchange for an honest review, which I have provided here.


Debra said...

I'm with you... this is the perfect game to grab while making dinner... though I wouldn't have thought to mention that!

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