The CONTINUO CHALLENGE held on 3rd December 2011 at Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly, London was won by the 2004 World Continuo Champion Victoria Westnedge. However, she had some tough contenders.
Created by the bridge player Maureen Hiron, Continuo is a game with a perfect blend of skill and luck. A five-year-old can play on equal terms with all other ages, providing equal enjoyment to all. Up to five can play together, yet the game can prove equally pleasing as a solo patience puzzle. It can be understood in seconds even by the very young and transcends all language barriers. No two games play the same, giving it everlasting life.
That’s a lot of claims for one small game, yet it has all proved to be true. After six weeks of being on sale, Continuo became Britain’s top-selling game. It has gone on to sell in over 40 countries and to date has sold over 6 million sets.
Omar Sharif “Simply brilliant – brilliantly simple”.
1-5 Players, Age 5 to 105, Game Time 25-30 Minutes. Rules in English, French and Spanish.
A GAMES 100 SELECTION & DR. TOY AWARD WINNER
Review by Ben Rainbird, actor and games enthusiast:
“Simply brilliant, brilliantly simple”. Thus reads a quote on the box cover for Maureen Hiron’s Continuo, and the first thing you’ll notice when reading this is that it’s from the actor Omar Sharif. This might at first seem an odd source for a box quote on a colourful little card game, but it makes more sense when you consider that besides his numerous film roles, Omar made a name for himself as one of the best contract bridge players in the world as well as a prodigious player of various different card and board games. So this praise is coming from quite an informed source, and it seems he’s not the only one who likes it – the game has sold over six million copies since 1982, during which time it’s never been out of print.
Continuo comprises 42 small, thick card playing tiles, each of which are divided into a 4×4 grid of differently coloured squares. It’s a testament to the game’s vaunted simplicity that the entire set of rules is printed on a card of the same size. The aim of the game is to win points by creating chains from the coloured squares, with one point for each square in any chain of the same colour that runs from the card you just placed to at least one other card already on the table.
To begin, the cards are shuffled and placed face down, then the top two are placed face up in the middle of the playing area, matching as many colours as possible. Then players simply take it in turns to take one card at a time from the deck, and place it with as many chains of matching colours as possible. A running total is kept for everyone’s score, so a pen and paper may come in handy, although it’s easier to simply remember your total and add each turn’s score onto it. Once all 42 cards have been used, the highest scorer wins.
As you can see, Continuo really is simplicity itself, and all that’s required to play is some basic addition skills and a good eye for matching colours. Perhaps it’s this universality that has seen it perform so well over its 26 years in print – virtually anyone can pick it up with only the most basic explanation of the rules, which are presented in English, French and Spanish. For a more challenging game, there’s an optional rule whereby the players agree on a border line over which the cards cannot cross, making space a premium resource and encouraging more careful placement of your tiles.
Compact, easy to learn and play wherever you can find a table, Continuo is really a classic game. Although it isn’t as much of a household name as the titles it rubs shoulders with, it richly deserves to be up there with the big boys. And it has plenty of time to claim its place in the hall of fame, as its continued success means it’ll likely be around for a long time yet.
Distributed exclusively in the UK and Ireland by David Westnedge Limited.