Otrio Review


Otrio may look like a simple game, a game so simple that you may even think yourself capable of guessing the rules and if that is the case, you’d be bang on.  Does its simplicity make it devoid of comment?  Does it mean that it isn’t just bloody good fun to play?  No, not one bit.

Ingredients:
The noughts from 4 sets of noughts-and-crosses, sliced
¾ of the goal of Connect 4 
1 noughts and crosses board
Food dye, Red, Blue, Green, Purple

Method:
Mix together thoroughly and serve on the board.

Otrio Review

In Otrio there are 3 ways to win; place in a row or column 3 of your coloured rings of the same size, place in a row or column your coloured rings in size order, or place in one space all three rings of your colour. The game ends when one player accomplishes this.  In your, turn you can place any one of your rings on any empty space on the board and it can never be moved.  That’s how to play.  Literally, that’s all the rules – which I don’t normally do in a review, but that is how simple this game is.

It’s a game that can be taught in less than a minute and takes only a couple more to play. It evokes a nostalgia even though the game is only 5 years old, probably because it’s just so accessible and pulls on two very strong and familiar game-threads, in many ways it feels a lot like Ominoes, the type of game that could have, or should have been around 30 years ago but simply wasn’t.

Otrio Review

It’s a game that is very easily taken for granted and to be overlooked, as I did, to my chagrin for months as it sat lonely on my game shelf, waiting to be played.  Once it came down though on one of those rare nights where both kids went to sleep at a reasonable hour, I played half a dozen games back-to-back (losing all but one of them).  Playing it (and yes, losing) was an itch that once I scratched it, it needed scratching again.  It holds a wonderfully simple frustration, tempting you with the lure that next time you can do better, or that you’ll start there, or try to play it that way.  And since it is so quick to clear-down and play, you do just that.

Otrio Review


I took it to a game night, intending to use it as a filler, or to play while we were waiting for the One-Who-Is-Always-Late to turn up, but even when he eventually did, Otrio stayed on the table.  We continued to play game after game and enjoyed each one.  The game presents a very tactile and almost immediate sense of gratification to play.  Trying to arrange your brightly colour plastic rings to optimise your chances whilst at the same time blocking your opponents.  

One of the game’s most charming features is how innocuous the victory is (if you have a gracious winner that is), a player can win, or be in a winner position almost without realising it.  There were instances where even after the game had been won and ended the “next” player was considering their turn not noticing the game was over and even when they were told that Pete had won, they couldn’t immediately see the winning streak.

Otrio Review

You have 9 pieces, 9 plastic rings and there are 27 possible locations, each decision is important, each one could be the difference between winning the game and handing it to your opponent.  It’s great at 2 player - where each player takes charge of 2 opposing colours, in 3 you just don’t use one colour and in 4 the tapestry of coloured circles is chaotic from the outside but each player and colour has an agenda.

The game is light and simple enough that young children could play, it would fill the same gap in a child’s game education as draughts/checkers, but just like draughts, it can very easily be enjoyed by adults.

The deluxe version (shown in the pictures) with the bamboo board is rather pricey.  Okay’s it's very expensive, for what you get, but it looks great and in a house with young kids who enjoyed it, Otrio is the type of game that could be a display game almost – always out and ready to be played especially in a summertime garden.

This review is based on a full retail copy of the game provided by the publisher. 
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