Full disclosure: I have a soft spot for abstract games. And games with nice wooden components. Marry the two? There’s a fair chance I’m going to like it straight out of the gate.
And here we have Otrio, a game that was originally released in 2015 and won a few “family game of the year” awards the following year. I’m not going to lie and say that Otrio is an incredibly deep or complex game. It’s not. But it’s a fun little puzzler that gets the ol’ analytical brain engaged. And it’s great for kids.
If you’ve got a kid that likes Tic-Tac-Toe, you know that the thrill of that game wears thin after about 30 seconds. Enter Otrio, which is essentially the same game but with a couple added tweaks.
Inside the box, you’ll find:
- a wooden game board
- 36 plastic playing pieces in 4 colors
Game play isn’t much more complicated than standard Tic-Tac-Toe. Your winning condition is the same: get three in a row. However, the playing pieces are three different sizes – a large ring, a smaller ring, and a peg.
There are three ways to win:
- three of the same-sized pieces in a row
- three pieces of the same color in ascending or descending order
- three concentric pieces of the same color in the same space
In a 2-player game, each player controls two colors and alternates placing them onto the board. In a 3-player game, one color is left out. And in a 4-player game, everyone controls one color.
If you’ve ever played Quarto, you’ll find a lot of similarities here. Whereas Quarto involves shape, height, and color (to get 4 in a row), Otrio involves just size and color (to get 3 in a row).
Like I said, this is not a particularly deep game for adults, but for kids, it’s a great step up from simple roll-and-move games. It involves just enough strategy to keep them engaged and thinking one or two moves ahead. And it’s complicated enough to keep the young ones challenged but not overwhelmed.
Final verdict? Otrio is a solid choice for younger gamers and a good stepping stone to more strategic and complex abstract games. Games are also quick, so it’s easy to squeeze a couple in when you’ve got a few minutes. For us, I can see this becoming a go-to game when I hear the familiar “Can we play a game?” and there’s not enough time to set up a longer game.
The wooden game board (hilariously described in the instructions as a “gorgeous carbonized bamboo game board”) is really nice. No doubt. It would’ve been perfect if the pieces were also made of wood. As it is, the plastic pieces feel a bit cheap in the hand when you’re playing with such a nice board.
With that in mind, I also have to point out that the game retails for $39.99, which seems a tad steep, especially since the components aren’t all wood. But that’s really our biggest gripe.
For a glorified version of Tic-Tac-Toe (that doesn’t hide that fact), Otrio is a great little game.
(We received a complimentary copy of this game for review. All opinions remain my own.)