When Cryptozoic Entertainment asked if I’d like to review another product of theirs, I leaped at the chance and asked to see Mod X, one of their abstract strategy games. Obviously there are many choices, but I like to find games that appeal not only to myself, but to my little gamer children and possibly something the entire family will enjoy.
I’m very happy that I chose Mod X.
Mod X can be thought of as the game you choose once you’ve gotten past Tic-Tac-Toe. Everyone knows the game (well, at least almost everyone does) and I would be that 75% of your games end up with no winner. But the game is so quick and easy that it’s a great way to pass the time. So what do you do when you’re ready to move beyond the simple Tic-Tac-Toe? You turn to the hobby industry to see what’s out there. Mod X fills that gap between moving from simple games to games that require some tactical and strategic thinking in order to win. And the best part? The games never ended up in a tie!
So how does Mod X play? Well, all you need to do is get 5 of your “X” pieces either in a row or in a “+” or “x” pattern, and you score some points. The first person to reach the predetermined amount of points wins. The kicker comes when your opponent can steal your points by using those squares when they score or by playing defensively to block your movements. It’s the next level of Tic-Tac-Toe where you’re still trying to get your pieces in a row (or in a specific shape), but it’s a lot more fun doing so!
I’m a firm believer that most publishing companies undersell the age level of their games. They like to play it safe and I’m sure there are numerous standards to follow. Mod X is marked as 15 and up. When it comes to reading and understanding the rules, which really isn’t that difficult at all, I can understand why you’d want to be old enough to understand the terminology. But if you are a parent, guardian, or older sibling, teaching this to the next generation is quite simple. So simple, in fact, that my 3-year old understands the game and my 6-year old loves playing it! As long as you can demonstrate how the game works without getting into too many words (which is surprisingly easy to do once you just sit down and play it), I would significantly lower that age range.
Does that make Mod X a family game? Not really. It’s a great pick-up game for quick play; not only because it can be resolved quickly, but because game turns are quick and there’s very little sitting around. Even for young players! It fills a nice little niche for when time is limited, but you don’t want to play a game with a lengthy set-up that requires you to regularly refer to the rulebook.