TOS Crew: Tri-Cross, from Games for Competitors

One of the fun things about being on the Crew is getting new games to play. We’ve had a lot of fun over the last four years, having been acquainted with a number of family-friendly, innovative, imaginative games.

Tri-Cross, from Games for Competitors, is our latest and most challenging. At first glance, this award-winning strategy game looks a little like a variation of Chinese checkers crossed with a war strategy game I grew up playing with my brothers. (Our girls have carried on the tradition with friends, since they have no brothers to play war strategy games with them.) It incorporates aspects of chess and checkers into a game that encourages logical, abstract thinking and planning ahead.

The game is made of sturdy materials, built to last. There aren’t very many of the heavy-duty, scratch proof plastic pieces to keep track of, and the game board is also made to stand up to wear and tear. We received both the boxed version (Standard Edition) and the travel version of the game, which was specifically made to be eco-friendly, with the board and container (a drawstring bag) made of organic cotton. It certainly is travel-friendly, easy to pack in a purse or backpack.

The first time we played, trying the easiest version, the game was over in very few moves. Youngest looked puzzled, as if to say, Is that all there is to this? I, on the other hand, had been a little slow to digest the instructions, but had an inkling that there was definitely more to this game, and so we set up the board and started again, this time thinking seriously about our moves.

Youngest won the second game, and she had to do some thinking in the process. (And so did I!) We set up the board again, tried some different strategies, and I managed to win by the skin of my teeth. Our blood was up!

…in other words, the game is addictive…

We kept playing until we’d each won several games. Every game was different. Each time we played, the game was more drawn out, lasted longer. We were learning.

This was all the open-face version of the game, where all the pieces are laid out face-up, their values are known from the start, and you can plan ahead, based on where your pieces are, and where you see your opponent’s pieces. (Or opponents’ pieces, as the game can be played by two, three, or four people, or even teams of people.)

For more challenge, there are other versions of the game where you lay out the pieces face-down, move your pieces into position, and challenge your opponent. Based on the variation, you might know where each of your pieces are at the start of the game, or you might know where each of your opponent’s pieces are, or you may not know where any pieces are until they’re revealed upon challenge.

A challenge happens when two pieces come abreast, and then the higher piece is able to jump the lower piece. (Or maybe I should say it has to jump the lower piece, because sometimes jumping can put you further from your objective. Huh. What a concept.)

You win either by removing all your opponent’s pieces from the board, or by occupying the center square for four consecutive turns.

Sounds simple, but we’re finding it more challenging by the day.

Tri-Cross is intended for ages 10 and up, though players as young as 8 can learn to play the game. This game is available at the Games for Competitors website or at local game stores (a list of stores is available at the website listed above). Pricing info:

$24.95 – Standard Edition
$35.95 – Wood Edition
$19.95 – Eco-Edition

To read more TOS Crew reviews of Tri-Cross, please click here. (This review is published belatedly because of our computer crash. Sorry about that!)

Disclaimer: Our family was provided free copies of the Standard Edition and Eco-Edition of Tri-Cross for review purposes. No additional compensation was involved.

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