It Takes Two: A Double Spot Review
2 Players, 45 Minutes, Low Complexity, Medium Strategy, Ages 8+
Two-player board games are somewhat unique in that there are a few things a two-player game needs to be in order to be successful. It needs to have interaction and competition. It needs to have clever mechanics and a tight ruleset. It needs to be simple to learn and difficult to master, and most importantly, it needs to be fun! Many board games share these traits, but they’re especially critical in two-player games- otherwise, why not just play a larger game with only two players? MindWare’s delightful Double Spot was designed to exemplify all these traits, and what results is a fast (and fun) battle of wits- and a perfect game for two players!
Everything you need for a 2p Brain Battle (much preferable to a heart attack)
Having the game be “first to five points” helps a lot with the games pacing. It makes the game longer, absolutely, but there’s also the possibility of early leads, shutouts, come backs, and “Hail Mary” plays that can turn a game around in the fourth quarter. It makes scouring the board for patterns a big part of the game as well, since new goal cards are introduced after scoring one of the two that start on the table. The card can be scored immediately if the pattern exists in the play area already- but only by the first player to see it. This creates a sense of hyper-tension as both players race to find potentially non-existent patterns, and this edge never really goes away. No matter how thoroughly you scour the board for patterns, you’re never fully convinced they’re not there. The goal cards can ask for patterns in lines and L’s, making the search even more difficult. I try not to pick up the goal cards (so as not to announce my plans to my opponent) but I spent a lot of my game time mentally spinning the pattern in my head, desperately seeking a place where it would fit.
Can you find the patterns hidden in the main board? It might be trickier than you suspect...
Perhaps the most notable thing about Double Spot is how it creates mirror images for the players. Every coloured disc you drop is double-sided, so when you use a pink disc on your side, it actually appears yellow for your opponent. This would be problematic if the Goal cards were not also reversed- one side will ask for a string of Yellow, Pink, Blue, but the other side (which is generally only visible to your opponent) will ask for Pink, Yellow, Green. This means that every time you help yourself, you’re also helping your opponent get closer to the same goal, so much like the original Connect4, you have to set up plans carefully and discreetly if you want them to go off without a hitch!
For a game called Double Spot, I was surprised by the quantity of spots included. Far more than two.
Overall, Double Spot is a fantastic successor to Connect 4, taking what works from the classic game and reimplementing it with new rules, more finesse, beautiful pieces and intriguing gameplay. It’s a fantastic way to spend an afternoon with someone special in your life, and if you have a board game rival, it’s a wonderful competition to butt heads over. It helps develop skills like planning and pattern recognition, and it makes for a fantastic way to introduce someone to hobby board games.
*Distributed by Outset for MindWare in Canada only