Multiplayer Pentago Review
So, as those of you who have followed my site for a while know, I really enjoyed playing Pentago (see my review here). Because of this, I was quite intrigued about Multiplayer Pentago.
Multiplayer Pentago is the same as Pentago - play one, spin one, try to get five in a row. However, instead of only being two player, it can be played with up to four players (or on two teams of two). In addition, instead of only having a 2x2 grid, now the gameboard is a 3x3 grid - adding 5 new sections that can spin.
Now that you know the game, I'm not going to really re-iterate the pros and cons, because they're really the same as in the original. Instead, I'll discuss the differences with the basic game of Pentago to give you a better feel of which one you might prefer.
First, Multiplayer Pentago gives you more ways to win. In the original game, you could be sneaky. So sneaky, in fact, that your five in a row could be spread out across three different tiles. However, if you're that sneaky player in Multiplayer Pentago, you can spread it across four tiles! Plus, the simple middle lines can now spread across three different tiles, making a three in a row on any given tile much more dangerous - it can now be expanded in either direction.
Next, you have the simple fact that you can play the game with more people. I like this feature, and I've enjoyed playing with both three and four players. Three players has an interesting dynamic in which, if one player is leading, the other players can both stop him. Instead of being only one "spin" away, two players can easily join forces to spin the other player's pieces in the wrong direction. However, you can also get caught in a situation where one player keeps blocking the player in front of him - just to let the third player's strategy go undefended (this is the player that gets to win). Four player's dynamics feel more like the basic game, but you have to watch out for so many more connections! When defending, though, you have help - if you don't see a five in a row coming, some of the other players might (or they might all be fooled! This happens too).
I also really enjoy the team aspect of Multiplayer Pentago. At first I didn't think that I would ever bother playing it. However, I think that it really is a fun way of playing the game - it can also be helpful if you play with a couple of people that don't have as much Pentago experience. For example, I have forced (ahem, "sweetly convinced") my wife to play Pentago quite a bit - so she's good at the game. We invited another couple over to our house and pulled out Multiplayer Pentago. It worked quite nicely for me and my wife to each pair up with a member of the other couple to form balanced teams. (And our house rule is that you can't talk to your partner; they just have to see the strategy. This prevents the player with more experience from basically just playing both turns, thus keeping the game more fun for all involved.)
The main place where I feel like the original Pentago may be better is in it's design - the original game was a great combination of sleek look with built in portability. Whereas I think that both games have a nice looking design, I think that the original Pentago just has a classic simple beauty to it. Plus, with the snap on lid (at least in the copy that I have) it is much easier to carry around - and with a much smaller footprint in my car (or bag). (Though, to be fair to the Multiplayer Pentago when talking about design, the double-sided pieces have grown on me. Instead of having four different kinds of pieces, there are still two - green/yellow pieces and blue/red pieces, and each player plays with his color up. It's a nice little touch.)
Overall, I give Multiplayer Pentago an 8.5/10. It's Pentago - with more options. I still don't think that people will get together just to play it (hence the 8.5 instead of 9.0), but I think that when people get together and start playing Multiplayer Pentago, they will enjoy it. And now, they'll feel less exclusive while doing so!
I would like to thank Mindtwister USA for providing me with a review copy of Multiplayer Pentago