For age 8+ – 2 players – Game time 10-15 mins
The game from Maureen Hiron where colour takes shape! In Mix Up one player tries to win using the shapes, while the other player uses the colours. The first player to get a row of four tiles horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or into a two-by-two square, wins. But take a good look, what appears like a winning strategy could actually be helping your opponent! This inclusive game takes only seconds to learn and minutes to play.
Review by Ben Rainbird, actor and games enthusiast:
You’ve got to hand it to Maureen Hiron. She certainly has a knack for creating competitive games which, despite extremely simple rules, afford players plenty of room for strategy and manoeuvre. Continuo exemplified this, and her two-player game Mixup continues in the same vein, sitting comfortably beside its predecessors.
Mixup’s rules are, indeed, very simple. The aim of the game is to be the first to create a row or square of four tiles. One player is trying to do this with tiles of the same shape, and the other is trying to do it with the same colour. The game contains 54 game tiles, with three different shapes and three different colours, a game board, colour and shape markers, and rules in English.
To set up, the tiles, which are handily stored in a compartment on the back of the game board, are removed and placed face up on the table, and the game board is propped up with the lid. The players then choose whether they will be playing ‘shape’ or ‘colour’, and the ‘shape’ player takes the marker showing three shapes, while the ‘colour’ player takes the marker showing the three colours.
The game board has 7 tracks running vertically down its surface, and the players take it in turns to slide their tiles into these. The person playing colour goes first, then the shape player, and so on, both aiming to get a row or square of four. It’s important to remember that if you’re playing colour, then the shapes on the tiles you place don’t matter, as long as you get the same colour, and it’s vice-versa for the shape player. Rows can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal.
Naturally, while you’re striving to get your four-in-a-row, you must keep a careful eye out for what the other player’s up to, as you may need to block them, noughts-and-crosses style, from getting their own. This is where the real strategy comes into play, and where a seemingly simple game suddenly takes on unexpected nuance. As you play more, you’ll discover that you can perform feints, play your opponent into your hands, be gulled yourself, and variously plot and scheme, which is quite impressive for a little game about shapes and colours. When the board gets really crowded with tiles, you must watch your step, as a lapse in attention might mean that you accidentally give the game away to your opponent.
Mixup is a fun, well designed and pleasingly tactile game. The tiles themselves are robustly-made little pieces, quite satisfying to handle and play with, and the game board storage is a good idea. An elegantly simple game with hidden depths.
Distributed exclusively in the British Isles by David Westnedge Ltd.