Updated: Jun 27
I stumbled upon this game while searching in the attic for something else. It’s a game that was published by Lazy Days in the 1975 and I don’t believe it’s been reprinted since. That’s a pity because it is an interesting two-person abstract game: one of many that set out to take a draughts/checkers-type game and move it to the next level.
In Quantum, each player has a set of pieces that come in three types: the squares can move one square orthogonally, circles can move one square diagonally, and crosses move one square in any direction (orthogonally or diagonally). If a piece is on one of the black squares on the board, it can move an unlimited straight-line distance. Players cannot move over or through any of their own or their opponent’s pieces but they can land on top of an opponent’s piece and capture it. When a piece is captured, it forms a tower with the piece that took it on top. It retains the movement ability of its top-most piece but the number of squares it can move is increased so that it is equal to the number of pieces in the tower. So if my beige circle captures one of my opponent’s pieces, I will have a two-piece tower with a circle on top that can move two squares in a diagonal straight line. When a tower becomes six or more high, it becomes fixed: it can no longer move, capture or be captured. The winner of the game is the first to build three fixed towers.
The rules of Quantum are simple and can be learned in a minute. The chunky pieces are easily recognisable, so there is no great learning curve for this game. That doesn’t mean that Quantum lacks depth. On the contrary, there is considerable strategy involved in getting your pieces into positions where they can capture an opponent’s piece without immediately being taken by another of your opponent’s pieces. If my two-high tower is subsequently taken by one of my opponent’s pieces, then she will have a tower that can move up to three squares.
The board is arranged so that it can facilitate play on either a 12 x 8 square grid (the full board) or a 10 x 6 grid (inner board). This principally affects the length of the game. It does also demand some modified tactics because it doubles the number of black squares on the board.
I seem to remember playing this game quite a lot in the years after it appeared, so it was especially pleasing to rediscover it. If you ever you see a copy at a reasonable price, it’s certainly worth trying.
(Review by Selwyn Ward)