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Another of the wooden abstract strategy games from Gigamic and distributed in the UK by Hachette Board Games, Quantik was designed by Nouri Khalifa. It's a two-player game that's played on a 4 x 4 board that's also divided into four quarters. The players each have eight pieces: two spheres, two cylinders, two cones and two cubes. Players in turn place out any one of their pieces anywhere on the board. The only restriction is that you cannot place a piece in the same column or row as an opponent's piece of the same shape.

In fact that restriction is really the only rule - so this is a game that's as simple to learn as noughts and crosses (Tic-Tac-Toe), to which Quantik can probably trace its heritage. Just as in noughts and crosses, you are competing to be the first to complete a row, so in Quantik you win by placing the fourth piece in a row, column or quarter segment of the board. It doesn't matter who placed any of the other pieces in the row, column or segment, it's just the final piece that matters.

This is another of those games where you could probably program a computer to play optimally. That doesn't detract tho' from the enjoyment of this quick tactical tussle. Each game only takes around 10 minutes - not least because you only each have eight pieces and so a maximum of eight placements, and the winning condition will be met by one or other player before all the pieces are on the board.

A game will typically involve players carefully avoiding placing the third piece in a row, column or quarter. This might seem to give a distinct second-player advantage because the first player will be forced to place a third piece in a row, column or quarter on their fifth turn. The trick then is to use the placement restriction to ensure that your opponent isn't able to take advantage of such an opportunity. It helps to keep track of what pieces your opponent has already placed out and so what shapes they have left, and it helps too to remember that tho' your opponent can't place a shape matching one of yours in a row, column or quarter, there's no restriction on you playing your own second piece of the same shape...

As usual, Gigamic have done a great job with the production of this game. It comes with a very solid board and chunky wooden pieces. When you're not playing it, Quantik is a game you can happily leave out on display for its ornamental appeal.

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