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Game Review


Ages 12 and up
Game © 2001
game start

2 Players10+ minutes


A chess-like game that requires your strategy to change almost every move.


The game is played on a 4 x 4 grid. To start, each player's pieces are set up on the opposing diagonals of the square (forming an X).

The rules for this game are very brief. I have intentionally omitted a rule or two so as to encourage people to buy the game.

Each turn a player must move one piece. The piece must move in a straight line (including diagonally) and must move until it is blocked by another piece or is at the end of the grid. No jumping is possible.

A player wins if they align all four of their pieces in a horizontal or vertical line.

A player loses if they block an opponent into a corner using three of their pieces, so that the opponent cannot move that piece.

Game in play


Winning Conditions:

A player wins if they align all four of their pieces in a horizontal or vertical line.

There are other ways to win... but you need to buy the game to find out how.


Our Opinion:

Thumbs Up!Simplicity in rules sometimes makes for excellent gameplay. Dao is a wonderful example of this. The game is frighteningly balanced -- so balanced that the players can feel stalemated for a long time while they wait for the opponent to commit a crucial error.

Dao can be played very quickly. There is very little to learn, except how not to lose. The Baroness and I were shown this game when we discussed The Triangle Game at our local game store. If you like games like Othello or Cathedral and The Triangle Game -- then you will enjoy Dao. It's strategy is derived from how your opponent places his/her pieces. When your opponent is skilled, the game is a great mental challenge.

Dao also comes in several formats (with varying prices, of course.) The basic set (pictured in this review) is essentially a mousepad and stones. Fancier sets include sculptures of Buddah or decorative iron balls as playing pieces. The presentation alone should tempt you into getting this game.

In short, we like it and heartily recommend you get a copy for yourself.

Where to buy:

Check your local game store or go to -- Our copy cost about $12.

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