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Store:  Ding & Dent, Family Games, 2-Player Games
Edition:  Quarto
Series:  Quarto!
Genre:  Abstract Strategy
Format:  Board Games


classic wooden edition

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
8+ 10-20 minutes 2

Designer(s): Blaise Muller

Publisher(s): Gigamic, Fundex

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Product Description

There are 16 different pieces with 4 different characteristics: tall or short, round or square, light or dark, and solid or hollow. Each player in turn selects one piece and gives it to his opponent who must place it on an empty square on the board. The winner is the player who, by positioning a piece, creates a line of 4 pieces having at least one characteristic in common.

Product Awards

Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 1993
Mensa Best Mind Game Award
Best Mind Game, 1993

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Blaise Muller

  • Publisher(s): Gigamic, Fundex

  • Year: 1991

  • Players: 2

  • Time: 10 - 20 minutes

  • Ages: 8 and up

  • Weight: 975 grams


  • 1 board
  • 16 wooden pieces
  • one set of rules
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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.3 in 15 reviews

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by Major Fun
Quarto will remind you of Tic Tac Toe, until you start playing it
June 30, 2009

Quarto will remind you of Tic Tac Toe, until you actually play it. Like Tic Tac Toe, you're trying to get all your pieces in a row. And that's about it, Tic Tac Toe-wise.

There are 16 pieces. Eight blond pieces and eight dark pieces. But if you look a little closer, you'll notice that each piece is different. Nobody's a "color." Each has an attribute (size, color, shape, hollowness) that it shares with three other pieces. So your tall square blond solid piece is like the tall round dark piece that has a hole in it, because they are tall.

Your object is to add the piece that completes a row, column or diagonal of 4 pieces, all of which have the same attribute. Not necessarily all blond pieces or all short pieces, and certainly not all "your" pieces. Maybe all round pieces or all solid pieces. Or all pieces with a hole.

So things are not, as they say, merely black or white. To win, you have to continually change what attribute your looking for. Much more like life, strategically-speaking.

And then there's one more intriguingly life-like rule you should know about: You decide what piece your opponent will play next. Really. That's what you do. When your turn is over, you hand the piece of your choice to your opponent. And now that we're speaking about strategy, suddenly everything becomes much more subtle, even more interesting. Because you're trying everso hard to give your opponent the very piece she really wouldn't want. A piece, in fact, that might very well be the one piece that will make you win.

It's a unique concept in the world of strategy games - and uniquely welcome. Because you have to think even more closely about what your opponent might be thinking.

The designer, Blaise Müller, suggests a variation for those who need yet more strategic depth. How about counting 4-in-a-square as well as 4-in-a-row? Ah, how subtle. How challenging. Which makes you wonder about 4-in-an-L, or 4-in-a-zig-zag, even.

In other words, Quarto, like the majority of games in the Gigamic line, has just about all the elements that make a game Major FUN. It takes maybe 5 minutes to learn and maybe 5 minutes to play, and yet it's deep enough to be worth playing over and over. It's as easy to learn as it is because it's based on something familiar. It's as intriguing as it is, because it offers something unique. It's elemental enough to be easily modified to increase or decrease the challenge. It's made of wood. It's durable. It even has a drawstring bag to house the pieces. And, for a modest mailing fee, Fundex will replace any lost piece.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Doc In
This could be your only board game!
September 02, 2004

No matter how many board games you have, if you own Quarto it will be played! It can be played between novice and expert, adult and child or two matched components. It's easy to learn but it's also easy to lose to your opponent! Also you can play it for a few minutes between dinner and dessert or on into the wee hours. 'I'll take the winner' is heard frequently from bystanders.

Highly recommended!

Has everything I like in an abstract game. Quick & fun.
May 07, 2004

Hmmm, this game has been out for over a decade and I haven't played it until recently? Maybe I should expand my gaming horizons. I guess that just goes to show how much I shy away from (read: hate) most abstract games.

I found Quarto! at a thrift store, and picked it up because it was so cheap. Normally, I despise abstract games, but collect them for the sake of collecting. I am glad I purchased Quarto!, and recommend buying it even at full price. This one may be the perfect abstract game for someone like me. It is quite quick (5-10 minutes, tops), it is fun, it is quick, it is a good game to introduce to children to encourage abstract thought and it is quick. Don't get me wrong; quickness in and of itself does not a good game make. I love the occasional 12 hour game of Civilization more than most people but quickness is a huge bonus for most abstract games. I have long thought that 3 pieces for each player on a 3x3 board would make the perfect chess set.

In Quarto! players hand their opponent a piece to play on the 4x4 board. Each piece has 4 characteristics; it is either tall or short, square or round, dark or light, hollow or solid. The goal is to place the fourth piece in a row of pieces with the same characteristic.

It is not a difficult game, but it is challenging. If you are playing someone who over-analyzes everything, hand him a piece to win with and it is over. This is one of the few games that you can save yourself the aggravation of an opponent's analysis paralysis and just get it over and done with.

To clarify earlier reviews; yes, it is possible to play to a draw. I have personally done it twice in the week since I bought the game. This does concern me. It may be a game like tic-tac-toe where experienced players always play to a draw. I don't know, and the jury still seems to be out. Until I figure out the secret of forcing a draw I will enjoy this one.

Bottom line: It is quick, it is not a brain burner although it is challenging, and it is fun. It will go on my geeklist of good thrift-store finds.

Show all 15 reviews >

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