Way back in the late 1980s I picked up an interesting looking strategy game called Centrepoint. Although I played it a few times, it never really caught on with my gaming group at the time and the game ended up at the bottom of a box — dragged around with me but never actually played.
A few weeks ago, the boys found it and asked if they could try it out. Of course I said yes, and the game has proven to have a lot more traction than I remembered.
It’s a game for two to four players that, rather breathlessly, suggests that it’s the best game to come along since Chess. Which it isn’t. But it’s not bad either.
As with chess, each player controls an army the units of which all have different moves. The aim is to get your standard bearer into the middle of the board — the centre point — before anyone else. The moves are pretty straightforward, although the circular nature of the board makes for some quirks that are best ironed out before starting to play, and the game moves along at a fair old clip.
As a two player game, it’s okay, and I wouldn’t recommend the three player version as this is seriously unbalanced with one player always getting crushed between the other two.
It’s as a four player game that Centrepoint really comes into its own. This is clearly how the game was intended to be played and, it’s in this version, that the rules really do work. What’s more, with four players around the board, the opportunities for ad-hoc alliances and non-aggression pacts lift the game above it’s pure strategy origins.
As far as I can see, Centrepoint is no longer published. This is a shame because it is quite a good little game that requires very little explanation but offers plenty of scope for a negotiated victory.