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3 Stones

Almost any game that is based on Tic Tac Toe is easy to learn. That's one of the things that makes 3 Stones so appealing. On the other hand, this is the very reason so many games are based on Tic Tac Toe - from the Japanese game of Go-Moku to Connect Four and Toss Across. Which makes it truly noteworthy to find a genuinely original game that has anything to do with getting three or four or five of something in a row. Which makes me especially delighted to present the coveted Major FUN Award to 3 Stones.

3 Stones is played on a lovely wooden board. And yes, there are black stones and white stones, and you have to be one or the other, and you in fact get one point every time you get three in a row. Included is this lovely fabric, draw-string pouch. And you start the game by putting all the stones into this loveliness. And then, on your turn, you draw a stone, and play it. I did mention that you put all the stones, the black and the white, into the pouch, didn't I? Which makes you wonder, doesn't it, what you would do if you drew a stone that wasn't your color? Why, you'd play it, of course. What else could you do?

Interesting. You don't know what color you'll get. And you have to play it, even if it's not your own. Already beyond Tic Tac Toe. Very beyond. Did I mention that there are some clear stones as well? And that they count for either player? I don't think I did. Neither did I mention that you have to put your stone in the same row or column that was last played.

Marc and Bob started playing 3 Stones at our last Tasting. Violating the very premise and significance of the "Tasting" concept, they didn't stop playing until they had filled the entire board. "No, no," I vainly explained, "we're only trying to get a feel for the game. We don't need to play it to it's very end. There are so many more to taste before we go." The ears upon which my words fell were deaf. The game, unique and completely absorbing. The award-worthiness, undeniable.

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