When I was a kid, my cousins received the game Pente for Christmas. I was intrigued by the glass beads and intricate artwork on the board. Unfortunately, we played it very little and forgot it. But from time to time, I have thought of it over the years and wondered what it really was and if it would be fun now that I’m older. When I saw it at the second hand store, I knew that I had to have it.
The box states that Pente is an easy to learn but hard to master game. This claim is certainly true. Pente is a little similar to crackers. It is a two player game and you can capture the other player’s pieces. But that is where the similarities end.
How to Play
Each player get a colour of glass beads. The first player then places a bead on the centre of the grid game board. Beads are placed on the intersection of lines as opposed to the squares. Then, the second player chooses a spot to play and play continues in this fashion.
Now on to how to capture beads. To capture a pair of your opponent’s beads, two of their beads must be sitting beside each other. If you place one of your beads on either side of the pair, you have captured them. They are then removed and kept aside. Beads can be captured horizontally, vertically, and diagonally.
Once the a pair had been removed, those spots on the board are fee to be played in. If your opponent places two beads in between your beads, you do not capture them and the beads stay on the board.
It is possible to capture more than one pair at a time.
Now onto how to win the game. There are two ways to win a game of Pente. The first way is to get 5 (or more) beads in a consecutive line.
The second way to win, is to capture 5 pairs of your opponent’s beads.
Although it is not mandatory, it is polite to announce when you make an open ended three in a row. This gives your opponent a chance to block, increasing the difficulty and kill of the game.
Pente is a challenging game of strategy. Games can be fast–over in just a few moves, or they can take half an hour to play. At first, the less then strategic-minded members of our family didn’t care for this game. but after playing a little more, we all enjoy the challenge of this game. Pente will be staying on our Family Game Shelf.
Pros – easy to learn, quality (our copy is from 1982, ha been well played and is still in good shape)
Cons – players need t be at somewhat equal levels to play, the beads can be easily disturbed
Mom – critical thinking, math patterning
If Pente sounds like a game your family would enjoy, you can purchase a copy from Amazon.
If you are feeling crafty, you could make your own Pente game with items that are already in your house. Instructions can be found in the DIY section of Family Game Shelf.