Long before computer games, people entertained and challenged themselves
with a variety of other games. This included physical competitions as
well as mental competitions. Some of these games are hundreds or even
thousands of years old, like GO and Chess.
As you may have discerned from some of my Gamers Zone Picks of the Day, I
not only enjoy computer based games, but I also love playing board games.
Not long ago, while surfing for a Site of the Day, I discovered a small
gaming company that produces a very unique board game called Squares.
I chose the Deer Valley Gaming Companies site as a Site of the Day and
received a copy of the game for review. The game comes in a very plain box
with a board, and pieces/units that must be assembled. However, assembly
is straight forward, requiring super glue (the instructions mention that
white glue can be used) and a sharp knife or scissors. Preparing the
pieces took under an hour and after a short drying time I was ready to
The instructions are quite simple (about 4 pages long) and very easy to
learn. There are 3 unit types: calvary, infantry and artillery. Each unit
has a specific set of actions it can perform and there are absolutely no
random elements involved. That's right, there are no dice or other random
components in the game making the game purely a game of skill.
The board has a reserve area where all units start and a playing field
consisting of woods and open areas. Both sides begin with the same number
and types of units in their respective reserve areas. Next, the players
proceed to maneuver their units across the board until they encounter
enemy units and proceed to engage each other in combat. Game play
continues until one player eliminates 10 of the other players units.
Combat is straight forward and consistent with the general strategies
used in Civil War battles. Each unit has it's strengths and weaknesses
and a lot of emphasis is placed on supported and flanking attacks.
This sounds very simple and in execution it is. However, don't let the
simplicity fool you. Just like GO, Squares is easy to play, but
underneath, has the depth and complexity to keep you coming back for
more. Playing Squares has really given me an appreciation of the type of
decisions that Civil War generals had to make.
The game is also unique in that the author has chosen to publish the
rules and instructions on making the board on the Internet. You may visit
http://gn2.getnet.com/~dvgc/index.html to grab a copy of the information
needed to set up your own game, or better yet, why not contribute to a
web version of the game at http://gn2.getnet.com/~dvgc/pod.html. Here
your vote can help determine the next move in an on-going campaign.
To sum it up, this is a great game that requires a lot of thought, and
although the rules are quite simple, it will take quite a while to master
the the game. The price of $24.95 is quite reasonable and if you enjoy
games of skill like Chess and GO, you will certainly enjoy playing
squares. Make sure you drop by the Deer Valley home page and check our
Squares. You won't be sorry.
Trey Murff World Village
the game review on this page is copyright 1996, Trey Murff