HEX ($17.99) is a classic connection game for two players. Easy to learn though very challenging to master, its gameplay is "pure" strategy with no element of chance and no possibility of a draw.
Hex was invented by Danish mathematician Piet Hein in 1942 and independently by Princeton mathematician and game theorist John Nash in 1947. This is what very smart guys do for fun!
Note: John Nash was the subject of Ron Howard's Academy Award winning film, A Beautiful Mind.
SPACE LUDO ($16.99) is, well, Ludo, a traditional race and capture game enjoyed around the world. Ludo is related to Parcheesi and Sorry. All of them are simplified descendants of the ancient Indian cross and circle game, Pachisi.
Space Ludo offers an addicting blend of luck and strategy. Dice are involved yet crucial choices occur frequently. The rules are simple yet the game is always interesting and pleasant to replay. Such are hallmarks of a classic and Ludo has stood the test of time.
Space Ludo is based on standard, widely known Ludo rules. These comprise the foundation of play and will be familiar to long time players. New players are encouraged to play the standard game first.
Space Ludo adds the deathmatch element, wormholes and other optional rules to expand and enhance the game.
SURAKARTA ($10.99) was named after the temple-strewn Javanese city, and its origins can be found there. An age-old abstract strategy game, it is considered a classic along with checkers, Go, backgammon and Mancala.
Surakarta is effortless to learn, with only two rules! The object of of the game is a familiar one: capture all of the opponent's pieces. The first player to do so wins the game.
Sounds easy and it is --until pieces start doing loop attacks. Aha! That's what Surakarta is all about! It's the game that sneaks up and clobbers you from behind. Ow!
KNIGHTS & CHAMPIONS ($9.99) is a redux of the popular medieval jumping and capturing game Fox and Geese (alternately Fox and Sheep). Many versions exist but they all derive from the Scandinavian strategy game Tafl and its ancient ancestor, the Viking game Halatafl.
Knights & Champions includes two classic Fox and Geese variants.
The Black Knight game pits one Knight against up to seventeen opponent Champions. The Red Knight game pits two Red Knights against twenty Champions attempting to occupy the Castle. Both are challenging examples of strategy and conflict with asymmetric forces --unequal sides!
In 1882 sixteen year old George Parker began to create a new board game called Chivalry with the intention that it should be easier to play than chess but more interesting than checkers. This idea proved to be a challenging one. Parker continued to develop the game for the next five years.
Chivalry was published by Parker Brothers proper in 1888. It won rave reviews from top chess and checkers players but "the best game in 2,000 years" (as Parker Brothers claimed it to be) didn't catch on with the public as expected.
Nevertheless George Parker believed in the game and continued to refine it eventually reducing its size. This proved to be a key innovation. In 1930 a streamlined version of Chivalry was reissued. Newly christened Camelot, it was endorsed by the likes of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy and became one of Parker Brothers most popular games.
At least fifty versions of Camelot have been released down through the years including the most recent one in 1985 called Inside Moves. Many variations of the game have been produced as well, including tournament editions and larger three and four player versions. The most popular variant was the further slimmed and trimmed CAM ($8.99) released in 1949.
THREE MUSKETEERS ($11.99) is an "abstrategy" game notable for being included in Sid Sackson's classic book, Gamut of Games, as well as being an excellent example of that rare breed of strategy game (we have two here so far, however) that offers conflict between unequal forces!
Three Musketeers is played on board with twenty five squares and twenty five game pieces. Twenty two pieces represent Cardinal Richelieu's guardsmen. The three remaining pieces represent the famous Three Musketeers.
CAMELOT ($13.99), mentioned above, needed to be included because Cam without Camelot is an incomplete story and a short-changed gaming experience. It was interesting to make the boards for this one though I'd originally meant to come up with something more colorful (thanks to some public domain N. C. Wyeth art). In the end I went with a subtle (if also striking) scheme more complimentary to white and black game pieces.
New! TRIPLE THREAT ($9.99) is traditionally known around the world as Mühle, Mill, Mills, Merels, Merelles, Merrills, Morels, Nine Men's Morris and Morabaraba. All of these names likely derive from the Latin word merellus which means a gaming counter or piece. Triple Threat is one of the oldest board games known (dating back to ancient Rome at least) and is said to be the best of the so called "row-of-three" games.
The children's pencil and paper game Tic-Tac-Toe is the simplest example of this type.
New! HALMA ($20.99) was invented by Dr. George Howard Monks, a Harvard Medical School surgeon, during 1883 and 1884. Interestingly, Robert Monks, George's brother, had visited England during this period and had written to George describing a British game called Hoppity. Although almost nothing is known about it now, Hoppity may have influenced or even inspired G. H. Monks's game.
Teacher, mathematician and preacher Dr. Thomas Hill (also president of Harvard College between 1862 and 1868, and Robert Monks' father in law) helped to perfect the game and named it Halma which means "jump" in Greek.
Halma was first published in America in 1885 by E.I. Horsman Company ("The Halma Company").
Note that Halma was the inspiration for a variant that has become every bit as popular, the marble game all 50's and 60's kids grew up with: Chinese Checkers (which, of course, is neither Chinese or checkers –it's Halma!).