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Ploy - Dastardly Review #072

Updated: Jul 2, 2018

Ploy is a very cool space chess game. My brother and I played it hundreds of times.

Ploy is one of the great bookcase games that 3M brought out in the early 1970s. It was designed by Frank Thibault and released in 1970.

The board is a 9x9 grid. Inlaid in the board are little circles to hold your pieces (saucers) and straight line move paths horizontally, vertically and diagonally. A unique aspect of the game are the pieces. They come in four colors so you can play with 2-4 players. Only the pink (really orangish put it annoyed my little brother to play pink!) and green colors have the full set of pieces to play 1v1. Blue and yellow only have enough pieces to play with 3 or 4 players. If playing with more than 2 players you only play with part of the pink and green pieces.

If playing 1v1 each player starts with their pieces in a chess like formation and face off across the board. For 3 or 4 players the lower number of pieces start in a corner. You can also play 2v2.

No matter the number of players you win by capturing the opponent’s commander (king) or all of their other pieces.

The playing pieces (even the pink ones!) are flying saucer shaped and have raised lines (fins) that show which direction the piece can move. This is very important because turning your saucer to be able to move a different direction counts as a move (except for the Shield).

You capture opponent pieces by landing on them similar to chess.

The Good: Really, really enjoyed playing this game. Lots of strategy. Great design and playability. Nice that the valid moves are indicated on top of the pieces.

The Bad: The only bad thing was getting stuck playing pink.

The Dastardly: We always called the dude on the box cover Spock.


Jun 21, 2018

Yep the Shield is move one then optional turn. Others moved the number of spaces equal to number of fins. Commander (king) was only one space.


Bill Kerrey
Bill Kerrey
Jun 20, 2018

Loved that game! Space-age chess. The Shield (pieces with one fin) can rotate their direction and move in the same turn, but couldn't they only move one space? The other pieces can all move the full length of the board, can't they? Losing my memory....

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