Some games take no brainpower, providing an easy escape from reality, while others test your cognitive capabilities to the fullest extent. And with Quoridor by Simiula, users best be in it to win it, for this game is certainly not for the lazy minded.
When playing Quoridor, the objective seems rather simple: move your pawn to other side of the board before the opponent reaches your starting side. However, one needs to be able to think ahead and predict what moves your opponent might make in order to preempt their ploy to ruin your success.
Once you first enter Quoridor, you will be taken to a screen that allows you to either begin a game versus the computer or explore a tutorial on how to play the game. On your first time out, the tutorial is a much-needed pit stop on the way to winning because it will give you a play-by-play of exactly what you must do during game play. The first couple of pages of the 10-page tutorial are introductory information, including a list of awards the game has won in the past, such as Worldwide Board Game of the Year 1997-1998.
Then, as you proceed, you begin to learn the basics. The Quoridor board consists of 81 squares, with each player getting 10 fences and two pawns apiece. You will start with your fences lined up in their storage area and one pawn on the starting line. Once you actually begin the game, you will need to choose your level of difficulty, ranging from one (easiest) to three (hardest). There will also be a draw to see who goes first, you or the computer, and in my experience, the draw seemed to favor the exceptionally intelligent computer, giving it a bit of an upper hand.
During every one of their turns, players choose to either move his or her pawn in any available direction or put up one fence. However, once the player has run out of fences, they must then, of course, move their pawn. Pawns may only be moved one square and must navigate around the pre-existing fences, though users may jump over any pawn they come across, ultimately moving two spots that turn. If you wish to immediately undo your move, simply shake your device. The first to reach the opponent’s base line shall be named the winner.
When playing Quoridor, users will find many icons lining the left corner and bottom of the screen, each with a specific function to help with game play. ‘Auto’ helps you control your view of the board. While you are automatically set to view the board from one perspective, tapping ‘Auto’ allows you to access three different perspectives so you can better judge your placement. The speaker icon turns the volume on or off. In fact, users can listen to their iPod music as they play if they so desire.
The pawn icon lets you choose to move your pawn to any of the available nearby space. If for some reason you cannot decide which move would be best, the ‘?’ will show you exactly where you can move and the quickest, most direct path to the other side of the board.
To place fences, use the icon marked by a wooden plank. Once you choose to place a fence, you may alter its alignment by tapping the icon featuring a board with an arrow. However, fences may only be placed between two sets of two squares and cannot be moved once they are placed. To place one, simply use the hammer icon once you have the plank situated properly. While you must obviously leave access to the end point, fences are made to both aid the player and impede the opponent’s progress. If you have any further questions about how to play, the Quoridor website offers full access to the rulebook in 33 languages.
And, coming soon are updates that will allow: multiplayer usage on one device with swapping between two players; multiplayer iPad capabilities that appear similar to the real wood board game; improved fence placing; and the ability to pinch and zoom the screen to adjust your view on the iPhone or iPod Touch.
Luckily, Quoridor is optimized so as to not drain your battery, because each game takes an average of 10-20 minutes for completion. And, once you begin a game, you must be prepared to continue until its end, for there is no pause button and, if you quit the application, your place will not be saved. Quitting will simply negate all your progress, taking you right back to the beginning the next time you start up. And, with such close concentration and thought required, the idea of losing one’s progress in the game becomes Quoridor’s most notable flaw, because even the playing of a physical board game can be paused if desired.
Quoridor requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.