The kids and I have been playing Tapatan, a three in a row game from the Philippines. It's easy to learn how to play this strategic game for kids (and grown-ups!) and although it looks similar to tic-tac-toe, it is more fun. It is very similar to Nine Holes, but the board is slightly different.
You can even cobble together a DIY version when you are on the go and need a quick distraction. Play with coins and draw a quick board on a piece of paper! I would recommend this game for ages 5 and up, but if younger kids can understand the rules, there is no reason why they can't join in the fun!
Watch this video to see the instructions in action, or scroll down for the written instructions!
What you need:
- Game board. Draw 6 inch square with bisecting lines as shown in the photo above.
- 3 counters per player. You can use coins, beads or pieces from other games (we used backgammon tokens).
To be the first player to get 3 in a row (like in tic tac toe). A row can be made horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
There are two phases to game play. In the "drop phase" players place their pieces on the board. In the move phase, players move their pieces in an attempt to get 3 in a row.
The Drop Phase:
- Players take turns placing their counters on the board on a point until all counters have been placed. This is what you see in the 4 part photo, above.
The Move Phase:
- Once all counters are on the board, players take turns moving their counters from one point at a time in an attempt to get 3 in a row.
- No jumping is allowed.
- Counters can only move to adjacent, empty points.
- The first player to move his counters into a row of 3 is the winner.
TIP: If the same 3 moves are repeated at least twice, a stalemate has been achieved and there is no winner.
Alternative version: instead of moving only to adjacent points on the board, players may move tokens to any available empty spot.
Long-time readers of this blog (you're the best!) know that I rarely take the time to make my DIY crafts beautiful but our original Tapatan game made on a sheet of paper started to become riddled with greasy fingerprints. So I took 10 precious minutes to make a sturdy version. And being the crafty lady that I am (not), I used sophisticated art materials like a Sharpie, a glue stick and cardboard.
Hey, I'm just saying it like it is.
What do you think, will you try this? Or maybe Dara, which another three in a row game?
Other fun abstract strategy games:
- Len Choa: a leopard hunt game from Thailand
- Fox and Geese, a game from Northern Europe
- Pong Hau K'i, a battle game from China
- Five Field Kono, an abstract strategy game from Korea