Calvin’s Commentaries: Pantarei

When it comes to quick. But enjoyable abstract strategy games Cosmoludo has the concept down to a science.

The game company has several titles that fit the genre including Pantarei.

The quality is obvious throughout this one’s production.

The box looks great, closes neatly with a hidden magnet, and stores on a shelf looking like it’s a hardcover book. When the complete set of six games is stored – and you are going to want them all – it looks sharp on the shelf – being reminiscent of the 3M Bookshelf Games, a series of games published by 3M Games from 1962 to 1974, the name for the series was about the slipcase boxes the games came in, which were designed to look like leather-bound books when close.

Inside the Pantarei box is a nice, succinct realest in several languages.

The game has wooden pieces – always a win for us – and that’s it. Like other board-less games – Hive and Sixes come to mind – pieces are simply played to the table.

Each player has nine pieces, either black or white, with three pieces each of one, two, or three markings.

The game includes one neutral piece – although repeated plays made us question the need for it, although it also isn’t a hindrance. It is indeed a neutral piece.

The pieces are mixed with the markings hidden, then placed in what is a snakelike row.

Flip the numbers face up. One player chooses the color they want, then the other player takes the first turn.

A piece can move left or right the number of spaces on the piece, stacking on whatever piece it lands on.

Players can move a single piece, or up to two from a stack with their piece on top.

Achieve a snake of seven with yours on top and you win.

The rules are about as simple as they can be, and that is expected for a game that plays about 10 minutes – maybe quicker.

Given the short gameplay, Pantarei is not going to tax the brain too greatly, so there is not a great deal of depth here.

That limits the game in terms of the many excellent abstract strategy games out there, but taken as a quick play-over coffee filler game, it suddenly garners greater interest.

As a quicker, fun, and nice-looking filler abstract Pantarei suddenly rises to near ‘must-have’ status.

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