Block Five

Strategy 1986 Dos Keypunch Board games

Tricky but rewarding fun

This is a pretty simple little game from Scott Miller, the creator of such classics as the Kroz series of fantasy dungeon crawlers and many more besides. This one is a far cry from his interactive fiction and adventure days and is instead a sort of computerized version of the classic and enduring game of Go, something which holds a similar fascination as chess and Mahjong. For the uninitiated, the game is basically a fancy version of that old chestnut, noughts and crosses or even the board game Connect 4 and pits two players, the computer plus a human, against each in a head to head battle. The game plays out across a large board and the two players take in turn to place their pieces, either noughts or crosses, with the overall aim of being the first to make five in a row. The computer opponent varies its strategy and difficulty level with each game, which really keeps you on your toes and the game is a highly challenging one which is simple to learn, but extremely difficult to master. Success revolves around a combination of an offensive and defensive strategy, where you place your own pieces aggressively to create a line, while simultaneously watching out for the computer's play. You really have to pay attention to every single move and it is all too easy to think you have a winning move, only to realize that the computer has tricked you into a move where it cannot lose. As far as board game-style strategy games go, this is clever and addictive stuff. It is incredibly easy to pick up but it will keep you challenged for some time so be warned that it is very easy to lose your afternoon, having just one more go.

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