For those of you who don’t know, I’ve got a degree in industrial design and ending up in the game industry was somewhat a fluke. I needed a job, they were the only ones hiring after 9/11 so voilà – “toy/game inventor Kim.”
Now if you don’t know what an industrial designer is, consider what a graphic designer does for 2D designs; industrial designers do that for 3D products like cars, electronics, household goods, furniture and the list goes on. Essentially it means that I have a weakness for beautifully designed products. And the sad truth is that I don’t come across much in the game aisle that makes me drool, so when I opened the Pentago box it was like I could hear the design angels singing. It’s BEAUTIFUL. The plastic feels nice, the moving parts are smooth, the marbles are real marbles – not cheap plastic things. It’s so amazing that I’ve been raving about it since I opened the box.
The game is simple: you need to get 5 of your colored marbles in a row. The catch is, on each turn you must place a marble on the board (or move a marble) AND rotate one of the quadrants ninety degrees. The movement of the quadrants is so fluid. It slides out and rotate with such ease I had to stop the first game we played to take a closer look at it’s manufacturing. And then to boot it comes with a nice plastic clip on cover that holds the marbles in place if you decide to drag it with you somewhere and don’t want the fuss of a big box.
The game itself definitely falls into the “abstract strategy” category, but it’s so simple to learn and satisfying to play that it’s really enjoyable. It was invented by Tomas Flodén in Sweden and in 2006 it received the Mensa Select Award, but don’t let that deter you non-strategy game people from trying this one out.
~$30 Amazon and your local game retailer
3-30 Minutes (30 minutes seems really high…but this is what it said on the box. None of my games have been anywhere near that long, but I’m still working on mastering this game.)
Ages 6 and up