The revenge of the amazing, reversible pawn
I’d spotted Tic Tac Chec a while ago and it seemed intriguing: a cross between chess and noughts-and-crosses, which looked like it could be a fun little diversion. Now with Miss B starting to learn to play chess it came back to mind and when the opportunity for a bargain purchase came up, I added it to the collection. Actually this could easily be played with regular chess men on a corner of a full board, but this is quite a nice little set to have.
We’re still very much in the early stages of chess playing, so Miss B knows the moves for the various pieces (though sometimes gets confused by pawns) but needs a lot of encouragement in move selection. The way we usually do this is getting her to identify immediate threats, then a few possible moves, decide which of these possible moves are “a bad idea”, then select one of the remaining ones. It mostly works. In Tic Tac Chec the moves are familiar (though the pawns turn around when they reach the end) but in most situations it seems inadvisable to make captures as the captured piece can then be returned to play in any free square on the board. This all makes for an interesting twist.
So we talked about all this and started playing. I was trying to not advise unless Miss B requested help — which turned out to be almost every turn. While I was busy getting to grips with the game I also noticed that I had got into a position where Miss B could force a win, so I pointed this out and was rewarded with a lot of jumping about in a classic Miss B happy dance.
After that we had another go, which got quite bogged down until Miss B was clearly starting to get tired, so we called the game a draw and gave up for the time being.
This is going to take some time to get used to for both of us, but I think we may keep playing from time to time. It has a similar feel to playing a “first capture” game of Go, in that the mechanics are (almost) the same as the real game, but it misses a lot of “big picture” features. I don’t think this is a bad thing at all, as it allows you to concentrate on some smaller parts of the game which can still be fascinating.
The verdict from Miss B (aged 6): “Tricky.”
The game: Tic Tac Chec (Green Board Games), 2 players aged 6+.