Spoiler alert! OLO is a cross between checkers and air hockey, which could lead to hours of fun or a game you put away after a couple of games. The game is simple, elegant and well designed—although you can’t play solo without internet. Four Stars.
It’s not often you see a truly innovative spin on an old favorite, but Sennep has done it with Bolo. Even if you ultimately escape the game’s charm, I suspect you will admire it nonetheless.
OLO may take a few turns to get used to, but the basic premise is simple. As with air hockey, you have offensive, defensive and goal zones. The difference is that you don’t want your token to go into the goal zone (white). As with checkers, you have a set number of tokens but can only move one each turn. The goal is to get more of your tokens into their defensive zone than they get into yours.
If you do wander into the opponents goal zone, the token is captured (think crowned in checkers). It is converted to the opponent’s color and added to his total available tokens to be reused for his game play. The more tokens you surrender the more opportunities he has to outscore you.
The object of OLO is to get more tokens into the opponent’s zone than she gets into yours. Players start with the same number of tokens, but if you overshoot your target, she could end up with more (and more points as well). `
You move tokens by flicking them with your finger. The token slides like an air hockey puck either into your zone, the opponent’s zone or the opponent’s goal zone. Once a token enters the two colored zones it can’t be moved by touch. It can, however, be moved by another token.
You can use a token to flick a player’s token out of your zone or your token back into his. A token can be captured and reused by opponents twice. The game ends when all the tokens have been played.
You can also play with four players to get the family involved. Two players share a zone which means they compete against each other as well.
You can play one on one, against three other players, or online. What you can’t do, and this is the one limitation than keeps the game from the highest rating, is play against an AI opponent when you can’t get a wireless signal.
Will you enjoy it? That I can’t say. I field tested the game with Carol and we played exactly two games before she said, “This is dumb,” and we quit. I could have played more, but I think it’s the kind of game that needs opponents that thrive on competition, like my cutthroat sister Aimee and her two focused nephews. But for $2, it’s certainly worth trying.
Jenny Manytoes rates OLO
Jenny Manytoes would purr next to OLO. It would be better if the game used mice instead of tokens, but it’s close enough.
The Jenny Manytoes Rating System