3 Stones is a two-player abstract board game, meaning a game like Checkers or mancala where the objective is not obvious, unlike Monopoly or Candy Land. It is made by Enginuity Games and has won numerous awards.
The game is environmentally friendly, as the wooden board is made out of Rubberwood, a renewable wood resource. It is played with glass beads which come in three colors: black, white and clear.
The object of the game is to get three beads of your color (black or white) in a row on the game board, which is an octagonal, symmetrical series of pits.
What makes the game interesting is that before their turn, each player simply draws a stone out of the provided bag. Whether it's black, white or clear, they must play it. Naturally, if they draw their own color, they should do what they can to try to make one or more three-in-a-rows. If they draw a clear stone, they should try to place it to work to their best advantage while helping their opponent as little as possible.
If they draw their opponent's color, they are faced with a bit of a dilemma. Should White try to keep Black from making a three-in-a-row by placing a Black stone where it's surrounded by White stones and therefore forfeit the possibility of making a White three-in-a-row? Or should they maintain the integrity of one of their areas by placing the Black stone away from their White stones? It's a strategy question that each player must decide for themselves; the classic offense-versus-defense question.
This game is addictive, we found ourselves playing it multiple times in a row when we first tried it out, and frequently since then. The only real qualm I have is that the clear stones are consistently slightly smaller than the black or white stones; if one tries to "feel" for them in the bag, usually they'll be successful in picking one out. We solve this by shaking the stones gently out of the bag, one at a time, instead of reaching in and feeling for them.
3 STONES AT-A-GLANCE:
GAME BOX INCLUDES: Game Board, 80 Glass Stones in Black, White and Clear (some extras are provided, as well, in case of loss or breakage), Bag for Holding Stones, Metal Scoring Pegs, Placemarker Ring, Instructions
YOU'LL NEED: Nothing
SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $29.95
AWARDS WON: Games Magazine's "Games 100", Mensa Select Top 5 Mind Games, Parent's Choice Silver Honor, Dr. Toy's Best 10 Games, Chicago Tribune Top 10 Games
TRY IF YOU LIKE: Go, Checkers, Mancala, Tic-Tac-Toe, Othello or Reversi
PERFECT FOR: A one-on-one game for kids that are a bit too young for Go but old enough to grasp a relatively complex strategy game.
RATING: Five Stones out of Five