The word, Dao, indicates a “way” in the sense of a road or a path.
I was introduced to Dao about 7 years ago. It has become, and remains, a ‘top 5’ two-player game. It is one of those games whose strategy deepens and becomes more complex as you play.
A board game for two players, Dao begins with the players 8 stones in an “X” (see fig. 1). The mechanic to move your stones around the board is to slide it, vertically, horizontally or diagonally to the furthest position it can slide. So, you cannot stop your stone until you reach either the edge of the board or another stone. There are four possible winning configurations. Your 4 stones in a row, horizontally (fig. 2), one in each corner (fig. 3) or forming a small square anywhere on the board (fig. 4).
My friend, Dave and I always said that this and games like Blu-Orange’s Gobblet! comes down to who blinks first; who misses seeing their opponent’s ‘check mate’, to borrow a chess reference. Because of this, a game can last 10 minutes or an hour.
It’s simple to explain and ramp up on. It travels well, and frankly, as much as we love selling games, some games are simple enough that we recommend turning it into a family DIY project, and Dao is one of them.
We’ll play with you. Come on in and try it.