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Review: Nannon

by Lori Ann Curley

When I was a child and on an extended family campout, my Uncle Joe tried vainly to teach me Backgammon. I vaguely remember how to play, and I never fully grasped or appreciated this ancient game.

Flash forward to Gen Con Indy 2006, just after I finished running a Blink tournament. A gentleman approached me because he was interested in the quick-play style of Blink, so I taught him how to play what I consider to be my absolute favorite game. After we were done, he pulled out a copy of Nannon - a game he invented. He took an Altoids tin, stuffed it with three dice, three red chips, three white chips, a small game board, and directions. Most of the labels and the board were made with Avery products and an online board game creation program. I thought the guy was a genius, and I greatly admired his entrepreneurial spirit. He taught me how to play Nannon, so named because it is a nano version of backgammon, in just a few minutes.

The setup is simple: The board is a little larger than three business cards lined up together. Each player has three chips and a matching six-sider die. The goal of the game is to move your three chips to your opponent's goal before your opponent does. To save time and complication, you only move one chip at a time, and no stacking is allowed. The bar in the middle of the board also is gone, which is good because I honestly cannot remember what its use was in the original game. A doubling cube is included, but is not necessary for game play, and again, I cannot recall the doubling cube's use in the original game.

You still can hit an opponent's chip, sending it back to its starting space; and you can protect your chips by moving them next to each other on the board, thus blocking your opponent from hitting your chips. Game play is as fast and fun as any Cheapass game or Out of the Box Fastplay game.

The creator has applied for a patent and is seeking someone to help him mass-produce and sell the game. For now, you can order a copy from the Nannon website, where you also can find an excellent computer demo of the game (PC only). Cost is only $9.99, but I cannot determine if that includes shipping. Mass quantities are available for a discount.

I highly recommend this game because it is fast and easy to learn. I think I'll go buy a copy for my Uncle Joe for the upcoming holidays or the next family campout.

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