Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our Latest Gaming Obsession: Quatro

QuatroI saw this game at my sister's place last weekend and my first thought was "Wow, this is fun!" followed by "Yea, I can make this!" and here it is.

The game is called Quatro (Spanish for "four." Or a German luxury car, take your pick) and it's pretty darn addicting.

To play you have sixteen wooden pieces, each slightly different from the next, and players take turns trying to place pieces on the board such that they can make a row of four that shares one of four characteristics.

For example, the first player picks a piece and hands it to the person at his or her right. That player takes the piece and puts it anywhere on the board, trying to somehow make a row of four. After placing that piece they pick another piece and hand it to the player at their right who also places it and tries to complete a series of four.

Around and around you go (you can have as many players as you'd like), each player playing the piece they were given and choosing a piece for the next player to place. As soon as someone is able to complete a row of four in any direction the person who handed them the winning piece is out and the game continues until only one person is left to claim victory.

The trick lies in the connections. You have round pieces and square pieces, white pieces and brown pieces, short pieces and long pieces, hollow pieces and filled pieces. Of the sixteen total pieces no two share all four characteristics and it's very tricky to train yourself to see all the possible combinations on the board.

QuatroIf you look at the picture at left here you can see, for example, that the bottom horizontal row can be completed if someone places a hollow piece in that empty spot because then all of the row would be hollow pieces even though some are short and some are tall and they are of different colors. Same for the diagonal--one more brown piece in that upper right hand corner and you've completed a row of four brown pieces diagonally even though the pieces are not all exactly the same otherwise.

What makes the game tricky is that you might be concentrating on the fact that there are three hollow pieces in a row but not notice that you also have three square pieces in a different line so things can sneak up on you and get you out unexpectedly.

It's a great game for children but entertaining for all and we've been playing it all weekend.

How do you make your own game? Well I'm so glad you asked!

For the board you can use anything you want--a piece of plywood, a pre-cut piece of craft wood from Michael's, a plastic lid, a piece of cardboard, whatever you've got on hand. I used a $2.79 piece of pine from Michael's then sanded it a bit and stained it with a light stain.

QuatroThen I used sixteen wooden discs (also at craft stores) and stained those with a dark walnut stain and glued them with wood glue in a four-by-four grid on the top. I drilled a hole in the corner of the board and attached a drawstring bag with a leather lace to hold the pieces when they're not in use.

In a burst of creativity I also used my woodburning tool to write the instructions for the game on the underside of the board should anyone forget how to play (though as much as they're playing around here I doubt very much that will happen).

As for the playing pieces I used a square dowl and a round dowl then cut them into eight 2 1/2 inch segments for the tall pieces and eight 1 1/2 inch segments for the short pieces. I drilled part way into the tops and bottoms of eight hollow pieces and then stained eight of them with a light stain to match the board and half with a dark stain to match the discs. Easy huh?

Here's a breakdown of the kinds of pieces you'll need (one of each kind for a total of 16):

short white round hollow
short white square hollow
short brown round hollow
short brown square hollow
short white round filled
short white square filled
short brown round filled
short brown square filled
tall white round hollow
tall white square hollow
tall brown round hollow
tall brown square hollow
tall white round filled
tall white square filled
tall brown round filled
tall brown sqaure filled

Total price to make? Not including the paint stain, leather lace, scrap of fabric for the bag and sandpaper (which I had already on hand) about $10.50 with some discs leftover. Not bad.

Sponsored by Tiny Prints for the holiday party invitations for children.


Bee said...

This would be a great gift!

george bell carrie said...

Looks fun. It's a lot like the card game "Set", which will drive you to madness in a similar way.

Anonymous said...

How Cool. Not only did you save money you have a really nice looking game. Thanks for sharing how to make this game. This is something I could actually make and play.

Anji Gallanos said...

Wow I love it. My boyz are at an age where they love playing family games together. I think making it yourself is such a great thing..and would make a perfect gift. Thanks

Flea said...

What fun! Our Quattro looks different and is more of a three dimensional tic-tac-toe. I'll email you a photo.

MommyTime said...

This looks like so much fun. I can't wait to make one!!

Jill in MA said...

I love this -- very simple, yet great for developing minds! I'd love to show this to my husband to try to make! Do you know what aged kids this is recommended for?

Patricia Linehan said...

Very nice... You're ambitious! I'm thinking I might try one with different materials-- I'm thinking foam.

Diane said...

Actually (and I had to go look to make sure) it's Quarto. It won a Parent's Choice award in 1993 as well as a Mensa Select award. I worked for an educational toy chain back then, and the staff generally messed around learning the games before we put them out (in order to better sell them, of course=^)

I love your creative way to make your own! The game is harder than you think; it's easy to keep three of the attributes in mind at once, but harder to hang onto the fourth. The twist of giving your opponent the piece to play makes losing your own fault!

Scribbit said...

well not "quarto"--that's a book. I think you mean "quatro"?

Mary P (MA) said...

Really cool game. As a parent of 3 boys really different ages it is always fun to try out new games that won't hurt anyones feelings. You have no one to blame if the person after you gets knocked out.

Motherhood for Dummies said...

Oh wow... it turned out really REALLY nice. Do you wanna trade it for ours :)?

Scribbit said...

Jill--I'm not sure but my 6 yr old struggled a bit to get it then after five or six games figured it out and had no problems. So it'll be tough for young kids but doable.

Serena said...

This sounds like so much fun! I'm going to make one just as soon as I can find a square dowel in the right size--I had no luck today in finding one.

Mirien said...

The timing of this post was uncanny for me. It's like we have parallel families. I finally ordered this game from Amazon (and I'm with Diane--it's sold as Quarto)after it sat in my shopping cart for a couple of years (it just went on sale). It arrived last week and we've been hooked on it ever since. However, our version billed it as a two-player game. I never thought of playing with more people but that's a great idea! Also, I am impressed beyond words that you made your own--another idea that never occurred to me. Maybe I can make some sets to give away for Christmas? Maybe.

Trivia Girl said...

i love homemade type gifts and I agree with Bee, this would make a great personalized gift for just about any occasion.

Prpldy said...

I've got to make one of these and since I will be going to the lumber store int he next few days.... I'm sure I can find a square dowel. I've already got round ones that I can use. Thanks so much, it looks like a blast and I love games like this.

How big is your board?

jubilee said...

This sounds like fun. My husband would wipe the floor with me though. Our son is just about to turn eight. I bet he'd love it.

Madeline said...

What a great game, and it's even pretty!

Janet said...

You WROTE that with a woodburning tool? I can't write that well on paper with lines. That's gorgeous.

edyzone said...

Woooww... I like this game...
Cool blogs... ;-D