What games can be played on a 4 x 4 grid? Turns out there are plenty. So when this interesting, maybe-Bakelite, found object with 16 top holes appeared, the challenge was to create fun-to-hold playing pieces. They needed to be roundish, but not perfectly so, with an element of surprise and tactility. The result was outsized glassy smooth pink salt crystals and crinkled dry black peppercorns to play at least two games, one old, one new. Both are easily learned, quick and challenging.
Four Field Kono
In this ancient Korean game the goal is to capture the other player’s pieces, one at a time, until they are gone or immobilized. Play starts with 8 pieces in place in two rows on opposing sides, filling the board. It is a jump-capturing game with pieces only moving orthogonally (not diagonally) one space or jumping over one of their own pieces to land on and capture an opponent’s piece, removing it from the board.
In this newer 2001 Mensa Select Game, the goal is to arrange your pieces in one of three ways: in a straight line (not diagonally), or in each of the four corners, or forming a 2×2 square anywhere on the board.
Play starts with four pieces per player arranged diagonally across the board forming a big X. Pieces may move in a straight or diagonal line as far as desired over open spaces, with no jumping. It is an easy game to learn, short to play and deceptively fun.