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Author: Michael A. Leach



It seems so simple: line up five colored stones anywhere on a 17×17 grid. Just like Tic-Tac-Toe, right? Think again—Pente shatters the perpetual stalemate of the old schoolyard game with a clever twist: it is now possible to remove blocks by capturing a pair of your opponent’s playing pieces. With this one rule change, Pente throws open the strategic possibilities by giving you two ways to win: line up five stones in a row or capture five pairs. The result is a unique board game experience that has more in common with Othello than Tic-Tac-Toe.

Pente is a two-player game, but if you’re up to the challenge, you can try your hand against the computer opponent. But don’t let your guard down, the game sports surprisingly strong AI that is as irreverent as it is intelligent. Not only will this game beat you every time, but it will gleefully remind you that “Computers are superior” while doing it. And as for what it says if you do ever manage to win one? I’m not telling—that is for every human to discover for themselves.