Theme and What is it?
So, board games are by and large, flat.
Dave Schultze decided that should not be the case. Why be a flat earther when you can see the world in 3d? This was the question on Mr. Schutlze’s mind, and though I had not given much thought to it, was an adequate description of most of the board game market, Tridimensional Star Trek Chess aside.
Ultimately, the game plays like amped up checkers. You have pawn, and kings, and kings can do more than pawns. Movement is not limited to two dimensional space.
Saying what it plays like is a departure from the feel of playing it though. You are doing much of the same things, but you are not simply changing how you do them, but in what space you are doing the action. Lines take on new shape in Matrix.
I am a fan of abstract games generally. I like how they move and function, and that they do not require a theme to be fun. Many games that are highly themed are just a step up from what the board game hobby calls abstract.
Here, there is no theme whatsoever, and the idea is as simple as can be, what if you took and old idea, and made it 3d.
Game Build Quality
This game is “just” plastic. But, that being said, it is all very well done, and feels solid. I never got the feeling that when I was moving pieces around, that I would upset the board, or that it was made cheaply.
This in an industry of cardboard, is pretty smart. That being said, though I understand the idea of the game being modular, I would have appreciated three solid main boards. My presumption is that it was both not cost effective for the extra mold, and did not offer additional stability.
I know that games, like a lot of things, are the “baby” of the designer. Which is why, from a practical point of view, I have a strong distaste for bad moutjing anyone’s “art”.
Here, the reason for that preface, is that the game is functional, and has little art, besides perhaps the pawn/King. I love abstract, but so many of them do not focus on the art. From a practical point of view, I get it. From a I’m a geek point of view, I want every box to look great on the shelf. Gridopolis Matrix, also, does not rely much on the art side of the equation.
I think I am being very nit-picky, but it is a concern I have as a geek.
Do you have fond memories of playing checkers with your grandpa, but want something fresh? Gridopolis Matrix might fill that void for you.
Age Range & Weight
6+. I think the number is nearly spot on.
However, do not be surprised when the game’s 3D element stumps younger players. Spatial awareness develops differently in different kids. You know the person who is 40 and still a klutz. Sp atial Awareness.
I think Gridopolis Matrix could be a quite astute take at a mechanic that we all should be curious about, an awareness of 3D surroundings. Honestly, people that can remember the best combination of things in a game about terraforming, may not be able to see a place their pawn can jump, or think about the king that can move twice.
Mr. Schultze has created something special, in what appears to be the first game in a line of games. It begs the question, what is next, and can it produce a logical and interesting approach to other titles that are abstract and have become stale.