Outwit: A vintage board game review.

outwit

Outwit

Parker Brothers

1978

“It looks easy ’til you try it”

Object:
To be the first player to get all your chips inside your shaded corner of the board. Regular chips can move vertical and horizontal. They must move until they hit: another chip; a wall; or the boundary of the opponents shaded area. Power chips can can move diagonal as well. Power chips can move as many spaces as they want but still can’t enter an opponents area. All chips must remain in its own shaded area once it enters.

Playability:
In most cafes you’ll find a basket that has the unused chess set, the wobbly Connect Four, the Uno that’s missing cards(but still wont fit back in the pack), and the checker set that’s missing checkers because people needed them to play Connect Four. Outwit deserves to be in this basket. On the top. It’s definitely enjoyable for the level of thought needed to play. And that, of course, depends on who you’re playing. If you have non-game playing friends, you could probably rope them into playing. It’s as easy to learn the basics as Connect Four,  has more strategy than checkers, and doesn’t need the commitment that chess or Uno needs. Plus, after a game they’ll have the hang of it and will probably enjoy being a bastard to you next game. This just might be a gate-way game that gets ‘em more involved in your game nights. It’s a good short game(fifteen minutes, on average) for two people who are sitting out waiting for the other games to end.

They Didn’t See This?:
If you play enough, you’ll inevitably reach zugzwang. You and your opponent will be sliding the same chip back and forth till your lattes go cold. There’s no official rule avoiding this but I recommend a five repetitive move limit. The game will most likely end on the second move anyway.

Packaging:
Real wood chips! Real cardboard and plastic board! The nine by ten grid design means you won’t be able to adapt a checker set to play.
It’s not the 80s, so we’re spared the crappy airbrushed new-wavey box art with the horrible tubular lettering. It’s not the early 70s, so no groovy box art either. Instead, Parker Brothers opted for a photo shoot of what seems to be a family trapped in a cabin in the middle of the woods with nothing to do but play Outwit over and over and… Will only one person leave the cabin alive? Nowadays no teen would make the mistake of winding up with the folks in a secluded cabin without an iPhone or laptop.
There is one thing that irks me, though. I find it impossible to recreate the moves that lead to the position of the game on the box photo. It could be like on TV when the characters are supposed to be playing chess but obviously don’t have any idea how the pieces move.

Availability:
Easily found on on-line auction sites. Also made by other companies in other countries under different names. In France, it’s L’Africa with what seems to be racist artwork. In Germany, it’s called Voodoo with box art that could have been racist. Also called Caribbean Checkers.

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