Stoplights is a game for two to three players. There is also a solitaire variant in which you maximize points.
Although the game is very light, it requires a degree of thought. When played as a light, fast game, it is provides a laughter filled, fun time. It is easily as challenging as For Sale or Ka-Ching!, but I find it more fun than either.
In the regular game, each player starts with four cards in the same configurations, but in their own color. The colors are red, yellow, or green, in keeping with the stop light theme. The maximum hand size is 7.
On your turn you have three choices:
1. Play a card in an empty slot and draw a card.
2. Play a card on top of another card already in play.
3. Draw two cards.
When I first read the rules and realized that the game was a variant of tic-tac-toe I was not hopeful. Who really wants to play Tic-Tac-Toe!? Wow, was I wrong.
Each card has three positions: top, middle, and bottom (like a stop light, aka traffic signal). Each position can be one of five colors: green, yellow, red, white, or black. The first three colors belong to one of the players. White is wild; therefore it is your color on your turn, and your opponents color on his turn. Black is no color and therefore blocks. When playing with two players, the third color blocks like black. Also, each card can be played in two positions, with the top and bottom light colors reversed.
According to the rules, the goal is to make five in a row, either horizontally or diagonally. When we play, we can determine no reason not to also allow a win by getting five in a row vertically. It is possible that the game designer meant orthogonally instead of horizontally. Five in a row does not just require the color to appear on the card, but the color to appear in the same position on the card (top, middle, or bottom).
Once the first card is played, subsequent cards must be played orthogonally or vertically adjacent to a card already in play. The maximum grid in which cards can be played is 6 vertically by 7 horizontally.
While blocking is easy in tic-tac-toe, it is not so easy in Stoplights. Three players is far superior to two players in this game, since there is the urge to play for your own benefit, in hopes that the other two players will block each other. Not many games have their sweet spot at three players.
Played as a quick game, it is surprisingly difficult to keep the other players fully blocked. In a 6 by 7 grid there are 42 possible card slots in which to play, but we have not yet filled more than half of the available slots before someone wins. The wins usually come as a surprise, making them sweeter for the victor and provoking a laugh from the other players.
- Last edited Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:56 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:55 am
When we play, we can determine no reason not to also allow a win by getting five in a row vertically. That would require a single card to have a top-to-bottom match of a single color (or with wilds). There are no such cards.
Thanks for the great review. I am glad you are enjoying the game, and thanks for choosing Mr. B. Games!
The concept of 5 in a row vertical was playtested a few ways.
Feedback was that it might be too confusing to see. I will post a picture with an optional rule for vertical 5 in a row.
Thanks so much for the post, and the plays!
aka Mr. B
Five in a row does not just require the color to appear on the card, but the color to appear in the same position on the card (top, middle, or bottom).
played this with my daughter yesterday, but this rule wasn't clear
in the rule sheet, so we played it wrong (she won )
we played the color could be anywhere on the card, so the games were really fast, unstoppable first player....
I hope to play it again, correct this time