This week’s Thrift Treasure feature proves once again that some games at thrift are there for a reason. We’ve been very fortunate to find hundreds of good board games for just a couple dollars each over the years, but every once in a while our selection criteria fails us and we pick up a dud. It’s disappointing, as we had high hopes that Triazzle by University Games would be a great addition to our collection since it was designed for three players – something most games don’t succeed at.
The Triazzle Game is a spinoff of a successful line of Triazzle puzzles for kids of all ages. In the puzzle version you are simply trying to arrange a set of triangles depicting insects, animals or planets (whatever the theme is) and arrange them so the two halves always line up correctly when touching another piece. Constructing a full pyramid is your ultimate goal and there can be more than one solution. They are actually quite satisfying to solve.
It appears to us that for the creation of the Triazzle Game there was the desire to keep the base mechanic from the puzzle intact. And it almost worked. In Triazzle you command an army of frogs (yes, a group of frogs are called an army) as they make their way to the other side of the board. This army always sticks together and they hop over one another, progressing across the board.
Each player begins the game with their army lined up in a row on one side of the board. Triazzle supports up to three players who are each trying to be the first to get all of their frogs into their triangular home base. On your turn you will simply choose one of your tiles and lay it next to any other of your tiles, making sure the frogs line up (a tile side contains either the frog’s front or back).
Your army of frogs must always remain in one continuous group and must line up with your tiles, opponent’s tiles or the nine frogs printed on the board. Whenever you successfully place a tile and it lines up with an opponent’s tile, you may elect to take another turn. Additionally, if you wish to cross another player’s army, you may do so by playing the exact same tile on top of theirs, temporarily denying them access to that tile. When this happens you also have the option of going again.
Players take turns moving tiles until they begin entering their home area. Now your movements must consider the arrangement of tiles in order to successfully get them all into the triangle-shaped area (just like the puzzles). If you don’t play correctly, it may take a few extra turns to rearrange your tiles and giving your opponents time to catch up or even pass you.
So up until now this sound pretty cool, right? The flaw is in the basic way the board works. You will cross other paths (or be crossed), and the person whose tile is on the bottom cannot move it until it is uncovered. Because you can never split your army, you must sit and wait for the other player to uncover your tile – this means they are ahead at that point! And possibly WAY ahead. You may find yourself passing your turn multiple times while the other players are able to efficiently rearrange their tiles knowing your hands (legs?) are tied.
I guess that’s why Triazzle was only issued one time in the U.S. in 2000. It wasn’t well-received by the game community and there was never any attempt at fixing the design flaws. It’s too bad someone hasn’t come up with a solution as we enjoy the puzzle aspect of the game. We just wish the game play was a lot fairer.
If you must have a copy of Triazzle in your collection and can’t find one at thrift, there are copies on eBay for around $10 plus shipping. Our honest suggestion is to save your money and invest in one of the other 3-player games on the market. And if it’s frogs that you’re after, we’ve got you covered there too!
Have you ever solved one of the Triazzle puzzles?