Thrift Treasure: Tri-Spy Board Game

Thrift Treasure: Tri-Spy Board Game

So many of the 80’s/90’s abstract games look alike to us. This week we were at our local Goodwill when we spotted a copy of Fat Brain Toy Co‘s Tri-Spy. It looked so familiar to us, but the rules were unfamiliar. We were sure we had it in our collection already. A quick consult with our database (yes, we have a list of all the games we own) confirmed that we did not already own it. Into the basket…

Fat Brain Toy Co's Tri-Spy was a game we thought we already owned. Turned out to be a speed game with a hidden educational tool! - SahmReviews.com

It turns out that Tri-Spy is another one of those speed games that the kids excel at and rejoice in consistently beating the parents. Supporting up to six players and recommended for ages 8 and up, we believe the sweet spot will be kids aged 7 through 12. Along with being a quick and fun game, it does have the bonus of helping with spatial and pattern recognition.

Tri-Spy includes a small 4 x 4 board, eight colored pawns and sixty pattern cards. The board is set up with matching pawns on each side and twelve pattern cards randomly dealt around the perimeter. The pattern cards show the positioning of colored pawns and your job is to move the pawns so they match one of the cards.

Fat Brain Toy Co's Tri-Spy was a game we thought we already owned. Turned out to be a speed game with a hidden educational tool! - SahmReviews.com

Everyone is working at the same time, and when someone thinks they can spot a move that will match a card, they yell “Stop!”, grab the pattern card and move one pawn into the open spot they believe matches the pattern. A new card is drawn to replace the old card and play continues.

Fat Brain Toy Co's Tri-Spy was a game we thought we already owned. Turned out to be a speed game with a hidden educational tool! - SahmReviews.com

Movement is limited to moving one pawn into any open space. If the board gets to a point where a pattern cannot be matched in one move, the first player to call out “Dead End” gets to move two pawns (after the “Dead End” condition is verified).

Fat Brain Toy Co's Tri-Spy was a game we thought we already owned. Turned out to be a speed game with a hidden educational tool! - SahmReviews.com

The game ends when the draw pile is completed and the player with the most pattern cards collected wins Tri-Spy! Included are additional rules for other versions of the game. “Dashing” gives each player cards in front of them, which can be stolen. And there’s rules for solitaire play for when no one else is around!

Fat Brain Toy Co's Tri-Spy was a game we thought we already owned. Turned out to be a speed game with a hidden educational tool! - SahmReviews.com

Originally issued in 2008, Tri-Spy is still available brand new on Amazon for under $20. It’s an OK game, but because of the underlying pattern and spatial recognition trials, Tri-Spy is certainly one to consider if you think your child would benefit from that type of hidden lesson.

Do you think games should teach as well as entertain?

 

Scott

About Scott

A former manufacturing executive, Scott now balances his family life with ownership and backend administration of websites such as SahmReviews.com, GiftCardCollector.com and a number of other online properties. He also is an occasional writer and full-time board game fanatic.

7 comments on «Thrift Treasure: Tri-Spy Board Game»

  1. Yes, absolutely, a game can both teach and entertain. The best ones do the teaching in such a fun way, that the learning “slips under the radar” for those kids that may shy away from the more direct approach! But do all games need to teach? Nope! Fun is its own reward!

  2. Kristin says:

    This game looks so fun! We could definitely play this together as a family.

  3. Pam says:

    So many great games and so little time to partake, lol. My kids always loved games like this. I love games that are fun and have some hidden lessons also.

  4. Jasmine says:

    Looks like its fun for the whole family! I’m always looking for new games to add to our rotation and this one sounds perfect!

  5. Bree says:

    Oh how interesting! I’ve never heard of this before. Yes I definitely think games, especially for kids, should teach but still be fun. I think they learn the best when they are doing something interactive.

  6. Dawn Nieves says:

    I’ve never heard of this before but it looks like fun! Perfect for family game nights!

  7. We love board games at our house and have a pretty extensive collection of them. This is one I hadn’t heard of but sounds fun so I’ll be adding it to our wishlist. Perfect for family game night!

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