A New Game to Check(er) Out

Arlekino

Arlekino

Okay, it’s a pun — Arlekino is a simplified spelling of the Italian word “arlecchino”, which means “harlequin”, or jester, in English.  Arlekino is also the name of the newest game from designer Bernard Tavitian, a Frenchman who holds a Master’s degree in Mathematics and a doctorate in Biophysics.  His previous smash-hit game was Blokus, a deceptively simple game of strategy for four players whose straightforward rules but engaging variability made it endlessly replayable.

Arlekino is brand new, having been introduced formally to the gaming world at this year’s Internationale Spieltage SPIEL (known familiarly as Essen, after the German city in which it is held annually during the month of October).

The rules are elegantly simple:  two to four players each choose one colour of four (green, yellow, red, blue).  The 36 game pieces — 35 of which display either one solid colour or a combination of two or three colours — are arranged at random on the board, so that each game is different.  Each player, on his turn, plays with a piece containing at least one section of his colour and tries to eliminate pieces with his opponents’ colours.  If the piece contains more than one section of his colour, the player may move the piece more than once, by moving it to an adjacent square or by jumping over an opponent’s piece.  Pieces jumped are removed from the board.

The game ends when no player can make a legal move.  The player whose colour is dominant on the board (by counting up the coloured segments on the pieces) wins the game.

Simple, yes.  Easy to win?  No.  Like all good games, Arlekino asks the player to make lots of decisions  — none of which has a straightforwardly correct answer — and the decisions made by the three other players will also have an impact on the evolution of the game.  This means that even young children can develop quickly into very good players, so that kindly parents, sitting down for a quick game, may soon find themselves fighting desperately to avoid a humiliating defeat at the hands of a nine-year-old.

In stock now.  CAD$34.99

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