I’ve recently been playing Boxes with our seven-year-old on the Nintendo Switch via Clubhouse Games. That has to be a particularly ridiculous use of technology since Boxes is a game whose fame comes in great part from the fact that you just need a paper and pencil to play it.
You know it. Draw a grid of dots and take turns drawing lines in between the dots. Complete a box and you initial it to claim it as your own and get another turn. Most points wins.
Seriously, playing it on a video game console beyond overkill. Not quite as extreme as using a car as a way of honking a horn as opposed to transportation but it is silly. In fact, since you can’t change the size of the grid, it’s actually inferior to pencil and paper. Still, it’s a way to get a seven-year-old to actually play.
And, while I have played the odd game of Boxes over the years, I don’t know what I really think of it. It’s cute and very convenient to play but strategy really seems to come down to trying to not let your opponent finish a box and setting up a cascade of moves for when your opponent makes a mistake. The game feels like waiting for someone to make a mistake. And with decent play, one mistake will decide the game.
Yes, Boxes is heaps better than Tic Tac Toe, which I have also spent time playing with our son. And if they lead to playing better abstracts, so much the better. But both games feel more like fidgeting than strategy games for me.
And perhaps Boxes is a step to playing the better games on Clubhouse Games.
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