PATHAGON: ABSTRACT FUN WITH A CLASSIC FEEL

Last November, during my annual trek to Chicago with my wife for the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, Lisa and I came across a booth that really grabbed our attention. Tucked away in the back corner of the exhibit hall, my wife was drawn to the Maranda Enterprises booth like a magnet. And, you know, I’m happy to go where she wants to go, especially when something gaming related peaks her interest, so I followed along.

The Maranda Enterprises booth displayed 6 wooden, bookshelf/heirloom quality abstract games that were designed by Mark Fuchs. Fuchs and his company are known mostly for introducing the world to Ladderball, the popular yard game involving a PVC pipe target and two golf balls connected by a string and flung through the air toward said target. In 2011, he expanded the company to include a unique line of board games that deserve some attention, especially for fans of abstract games.

After talking to Mark’s wife for a few minutes, she told us that his true passion was classic strategy games. She told us that he spent a lot of his free-time in his workshop, lovingly crafting his own wooden games. When you see these games, you can see Mark’s passion shining through. After trying out most of the games, we wished our budget would have allowed us to take home all 6 games but we settled on Pathagon.

To be honest, I’m generally not a huge fan of abstract strategy games (maybe because I rarely win!) but there is something about the visual appeal and big chunky octagonal pieces that draw me to the game. The simple rules help, too.

In the game, each player takes turns placing one of his pieces on the board trying to complete a connected line of his color from one end to the other. Once all of the pieces have been placed, players take turns moving one piece at a time. If your opponent happens to capture one of your pieces between two of her own, that piece gets removed from the board. It’s quick to play, easy to learn, and nice to look at.

From my experience, Mark’s games stand up to many to the classics. Fans of Corridor, Othello, and Cathedral will find themselves on familiar ground while gaining a unique and challenging game experience. I know I enjoyed the experience enough to share it with you guys more than a half year later. I hope that Maranda Enterprises’ line of strategy games, stick around for a while as they scratch a unique itch in the gaming world.

What’s your favorite classic board game?

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