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Quoridor Kid - as fun as it looks

Whatever you can say about Mirko Marchesi's Quoridor, you can also say about Mirko Marchesi's Quoridor Kid.

Except that Quoridor Kid is cuter. And takes less time to play. And the board is 7x7 instead of 9x9. And there are 16 instead of 20 fences.

They play the same. They offer the same exercise in strategic maze-making. One is cute and short. The other is larger, darker, more brooding, more adult. But no matter which you are playing, Quoridor or the Kid, as child or adult, it's the same fun and fascination.

Which is rather remarkable, come to think of it, that a kid's version of an adult game should prove as maturely playworthy as the adult version. Which makes this version a special gift to parents. Because here's a game in a version that will appeal to your child as it will to to you. Your child will be especially sensitive to the fun of it - to the fantasy, the remarkably skillful humor of the mouse-in-maze metaphor - and consequently, they might laugh more often than you will.

It is a challenging game. You begin on the edges of a 7x7 grid. You, as a mouse whose nose is the same color as a piece of wooden cheese placed on the opposite side of the board. You take turns moving your mouse, horizontally or vertically, one space at a time. Your goal and purpose, as in much of life, is to get to your cheese first. You do that by moving forward, or by placing fences between your opponent and her cheese. Moving and fencing, the board begins to look like a maze, and the strategic depth is equally amazing.

All that metaphorically-appropriate mouse-and-cheese cuteness aside, getting to your cheese first is something you can take seriously, beyond metaphor. And as a parent, it is a special thrill when, as you inevitably will, you lose a game to your own child - fair and square. You won't have to say things like "well, then, you're the second winner," or make just the mistake that will "accidentally" give your child the victory. Because playing Quoridor, Kid or not, can get as challenging to the grown-up as it can to the child - and still look fun!

Which is what makes the Fun of Quoridor Kid so Major. What else would you call kind of fun can you get from a game that requires deep, logical thinking, that looks and plays as inviting to adults as it is to kids, as it is to kids without adults?

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