Review: Quoridor

Quoridor is an elegant puzzle of a game for two or four players where each move can have proliferous and unexpected consequences. In short, each player must attempt to build obstacles in the path of the other player’s pawn without hindering their own advancement across the board.

The objective is simple: get your pawn to the other side of the board. The play is nearly as simple. You may either move your pawn one square in any direction or place a wall  – not both. Walls must be placed so they line up with two intersections on the board, and also so they will not completely block all paths of your opponent to your own side of the board. Those are the full rules of the game, and you now know how to play Quoridor! The game’s depth, however, comes not from the complexity of its rules, but instead from the multitude of options a player has on their turn.

On any given turn there will be a number of different intersections in which you can place a wall and squares on which you can move your pawn. Each placement will have a vastly different impact on the game, and each move has also has great effect. One must carefully plan ahead and attempt to lay traps for their opponent, but be careful as you could easily be unintentionally building your own prison! Timing your moves is important as well; if you spend all your time building walls you will have advanced little with your pawn and have fewer walls left to place mid-game compared to your opponent. Quoridor is therefore all about balance.

One solid strategy is to get your opponent committed to a path and to then block it off, forcing their pawn to go the long way around. The longer you can wait before blocking off a path the better, but the more likely they are to catch on to your scheme. A good counter to this is to block off all paths but the one your pawn is moving along so the other player cannot use their walls as effectively. The rule that a pawn cannot be boxed in is crucial to almost every strategic decision that’s made in this game.

The strategy of Quoridor game is fantastic and stimulating, and it really rewards players who can come up with creative solutions to the logic puzzle presented as the board develops. A single move has the power to bring a player back from the brink of defeat, or to foil their best laid plans. I found that when I played this game, my opponent and I would each come up with very different methods of achieving our respective goals, each making moves the other might have never even thought of – the mark of a well-made strategy game.

Because of its simple rules, Quoridor can be easily learned by people of any age. It’s the sort of game that a child and parent can both enjoy playing together, but could just as easily be played at a more competitive level between two advanced strategists. Lasting around fifteen minutes, it isn’t hard to get in numerous full games in a single sitting. And unlike many similar abstract strategy games, Quoridor can actually be played with either two or four players, which gives it considerable versatility.

Produced in stained wood, the physical pieces of the game are pretty and give an overall very classy look. The light walls contrast nicely with the dark wooden board and all of the pieces are pleasing to handle. The board for the mini version is small enough to be compact and portable, but not so small that it’s hard to tell what is going on. The board for the full-sized version is stylish enough to leave out on a coffee table as a conversation piece and an excellent opportunity to segue right into playing!

– Connor

If you like: Brix, Abalone, Go
You’d definitely enjoy: Quoridor
MRP: $34.99 (Standard), $24.99 (Mini)
Designer: Mirko Marchesi
Produced by: Gigamic