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


plastic basic edition

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
8+ 10-20 minutes 2

Designer(s): Blaise Muller

Manufacturer(s): Family Games, Gigamic

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Product Awards

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

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Blaise Muller

  • Manufacturer(s): Family Games, Gigamic

  • Players: 2

  • Time: 10 - 20 minutes

  • Ages: 8 and up

  • Weight: 450 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in multiple languages (including English).

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.2 in 12 reviews

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by JanG
Great game!
August 10, 2003

I started playing this one recently and really love it. Haven't started adding the advanced rules yet, where a square will win. Still, we don't draw that often. I could see if both players were conservative and mostly concerned with the other person NOT winning, then you'd get a lot of draws. Much more fun to live on the edge! Set up some interesting 2 piece line ups early in the game. Deliberately set up multiple 3's and then give your opponent the ONE piece that won't win. This game is addictive!

by Tom
Beautiful and Deep!
January 02, 2002

This is the perfect coffee table game. Just put this game on your coffee table and nobody will walk by it without asking you what it is. In less than a minute you can explain the rules to them and then enjoy beating them in it (he he). Actually, the first several games I played I really didnt think much of it. We would hand each other pieces to place, neither of us having a clue what we were doing, and the only victories came from one of us not seeing a valid set of four and inadvertently handing our opponent a winning piece. The game was not stimulating; it just seemed kind of boring and tedious so it was shelved for many months.

Then one night I was watching my nephew for the evening and came to my game closet to see what he might enjoy playing and decided to give this game another chance. We tried the advanced rules (where squares also make valid sets) and I saw the light for the first time as to why this game has been so celebrated. Playing this game with the advanced rules really makes it a much better game with many more options. We even made it more abstract by saying that any four points that make a square (not just 2x2 squares) are valid winning sets. This took the game to a whole new level! With these rules we never even came close to a draw. I have since played many times and have become much better at the game. I can now, without fail, beat anyone who has never played.

Beginners will play this game as I did when I was a beginner, thinking of only the current move until victory conditions become obvious. But as your understanding of the game increases you begin to know what pieces remain without even looking at them and can see victory far ahead of your opponent. Please dont underestimate this game as I made the mistake of doing. It has the makings of a classic.

For what it is, one of the best games going
November 01, 2001

I'm a school librarian, and I've been stocking up the library with fast board games that my students can play during lunch.

I can understand the three star review. This isn't a tremendously deep game, and each game is over in about five minutes. Man, oh man, though... this is an addictive game.

This is a great 'just one more game' game. You learn the rules in a matter of seconds, you play a game, and before you know it, you've played, like, five games.

Something I've learned as I've stocked the game cabinet in the library is that there are many levels of gamers, and many levels of games. At one end of the bell curve are the kids who are into [page scan/se=0599/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Go (one or two); at the other end are the kids who don't want to go any further than a game like this. And, hey, more power to all these kids, I say.

I really don't know if you can call this one a staggeringly deep and involving game, but I sure as anything can call it fast, fun, and addictive.

Five stars.

An addictive combination of SET and CONNECT FOUR
October 09, 2000

I purchased this game recently, and I remain totally amazed. Quarto elevates the strategy game genre to a new complexity. The simplicity of Connect Four multiplied by the multiple choices of Set makes for an incredible game experience. We played it several times over the weekend, and found it fun each time. My oldest daughter was able to plan several moves ahead, which can prove to be a fatal mistake--or a winning strategy. The most fun part comes in choosing your opponent's piece. It adds a wonderful sense of surprise to the outome. My younger daughter did not play on such an advanced level, but we still found it challenging and entertaining. This is the first strategy game that I feel is worthy of a 5 star rating. The components are attractive, the rules are simple and straightforward, the challenge varies depending on your opponent, and when you lose, there is a sense of urgency to play again. There are also provisions made for a more complicated game--I can't wait to try it. This game has universal appeal--all ages can enjoy it.

by Paul
As deep as you want
May 31, 2000

The game is deceptively simple enough to appeal to any age and deep enough to appeal to any gamer. The fact that I choose what piece you play is mind boggling and exciting.

The expanded rules are needed to avoid draws once both players understand the mechanics of the situation.

One of the best abstract strategy games I've ever seen!
May 31, 2000

I wandered into my local game shop to see what they had around. Quarto was on display, and the salesman gave us the quick overview of the game rules. This is truly one of the best abstract strategy games I've ever encountered, and with expandable winning conditions to accomodate all levels of play.

by Adam K
The perfect game to be played over a conversation
March 28, 1999

It's simple enough. There are sixteen wooden pieces. Each piece has is unique in its attributes -- light or dark, tall or short, round or square, and with or without a hole in the top. It's just a simple alignment game (get four pieces in a row that all have something in common), but with a diabolical twist -- you choose the piece your opponent must play! This is the perfect game to be playing while you're doing something else, because then you're probably not thinking quite as deeply as you probably could. Lots of fun, and the deluxe edition comes with absolutely beautiful wooden components.

Beg to differ
December 17, 2002

The review written below has an inherent flaw. It is impossible.

Use the advanced rules only. It is mathematically impossible to end in a draw. Perhaps you arent using the square rule, or perhaps you are missing some other factor.

This game is beautiful, subtle and deep. And strategically impossible to draw.

by Bart
Avoiding the draw problem...
December 15, 2002

In response to the reviewer with the draw dilemma: have you tried the option where a square (2x2) of pieces with the same attribute, anywhere on the board, can also constitute a win? I found that with this added option, very few games play out to a draw. It's a great game and I hope this will renew your interest in it!

An interesting game that has little depth
September 12, 2003

I bought this game recently and have been playing with my kids as well as other adults. It is an OK game, but not as fantastic as I had anticipated.

I find that, in many games, who wins and who loses is determined as far as 5 pieces ahead. What happens is that one player is left with these pieces and slots on the board, but no matter where he puts it, he is bound to lose the game. Since there are only 16 pieces total, the game can be over about half way it is played. Very unsatisfying, in my opinion.

Also, the game rule dictates that one player picks up the game piece for his opponent. It seemed to be such a revolutionary idea at the beginning. But when you think of it, how much difference does this approach make than, say, a random draw of pieces like in Bingo or picking one's own playing piece? There are, after all, only 16 pieces to select from.

The wooden game pieces and the board (of the 'classic wooden edition' set) are aesthetically pleasing and feel good to the touch. We do play this game and I can see us play it again many times in the future. But the Quarto game does not have the depth that satisfies one seeking a challenging game. I can certainly understand why one of the reviewers compare this game to Tic-Tac-Toe.

For those that enjoy similar challenges, the Set game offers more depth. Set is a card game, though.

What's all the fuss about?
June 25, 2001

For some reason, I don't think of Quarto! as a board game. Maybe because it seems to break all the rules of what a board game should be. For one, the sixteen pieces are common to both players, and, two, you don't get to decide which piece to place each turn... your opponent chooses for you. Interesting!

Quarto! is played on a 4x4 board with sixteen pieces, each one slightly different. A piece is either tall or short, light or dark, round or square, solid or hollow. The object of the game is to place a piece on the gameboard that creates a line of four pieces, with all four pieces having at least one characteristic in common. However, as mentioned above, YOU don't get to decide which piece to place, it's your crafty opponent that gets to choose.

I've read that Quarto! is the most awarded game in history. If this is true, I'm quite surprised... and also very disappointed, since I don't feel it is worthy of such praise at all.

Quarto! doesn't really begin to get 'fun' until the final three, four, or possibly five moves. It's only at this stage of the game that a human can begin to work out the permutations of what may or not be a winning move. Let me explain. If you're handed the final piece, you have just one choice for it, since at this point there is only one empty square remaining. If you're handed the second-to-last piece, you have just two possible moves--you can play this piece on Square Choice #1 or Square Choice #2, and you hand your opponent the final piece. If you're handed the third-to-last piece, your move selection climbs up to six: Play the piece you've been given on Square Choice #1 and hand your opponent Piece #1 or Piece #2 (2 options), play the piece you've been given on Square Choice #2 and hand your opponent Piece #1 or Piece #2 (2 options), or play your piece on Square Choice #3 and again hand your opponent Piece #1 or Piece #2 (2 options). Being handed the sixth-to-last piece means figuring out the permutations of thirty possible moves, which includes knowing that your opponent will have twenty possible choices of how to play when you hand over his/her piece. As it is, even at this late stage of the game--to say nothing of the opening or middlegame--there are more permutations to analyze in one's mind than most people can handle.

Most of my games seem to bear this out. As long as each person is careful and doesn't hand the game over by walking into a simple 'mate-in-one', the winner invariably 'stumbles' upon the right move, very late in the game, without having planned it that way at any time previously. This is not my idea of fun.

I would not agree at all that Quarto! is a deep game. A game having 'depth' means it has lasting interest, because the player continues to learn how to improve his play for a long time. A game with depth can actually be measured by recording the results of games and determining the number of distinct 'levels' there are. If the players in Level 1 all lose regularly to the players in Level 2 who regularly lose to those in Level 3, etc., up to Level n, then the value of n measures the depth of the game. Quarto! almost certainly is only a few levels deep. Finally, a good sign that a game has depth is the amount of literature on the game. Look at the amount of literature on [page scan/se=0035/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Chess, [page scan/se=0440/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Checkers, [page scan/se=0017/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Backgammon, [page scan/se=0599/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Go, etc. I'm quite sure we will not be seeing volumes written on the proper way to play Quarto!. For the record, I believe that [page scan/se=0552/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Quoridor, also made by GATC/Gigamic, has much more depth than Quarto! does.

It took many years before Connect Four was solved and it will be interesting to see how long until Quarto! is resigned to that fate--assuming it hasn't been already--and what that result is. To me, all three possibilities (a forced win for the first player, a forced win for the second player, or a forced draw) are all equally likely. Of course, even after it's solved, it will be no less fun to play. Yes, Quarto! IS fun, but after my third or fourth game, I find myself looking for something more. 3 Stars.

Just like tic-tac-toe: Every game a draw
December 10, 2002

My wife and I bought this game with high hopes after having played a couple of rounds at the local game store. Unfortunately we discovered after about 10 plays that, barring major stupidity, every game ended in a draw.

My wife and I both believe this to be an inherent attribute of the game as it is fairly easy to avoid giving your opponent pieces which might allow them to even draw close to a potential win.

I'll give it two stars because the game compenents are well crafted. And because the game can be replayed after setting on the shelf for several months (until we remember how to force the draw again.)

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