Pentago Online


StaceyG"PentagoPentago is an award-winning board game, invented in Sweden a few years ago. Now, a Flash version, called Pentago Online is available to play against the computer or another player at the same computer.

It's a marble placement, turn-based strategy game. The goal is to be the first player to place five marbles in a row. The rows can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. The game is a bit like Connect Four, but with a twist.

The board is made up of four 3x3 sections. Each section twists in two directions, clockwise or counter-clockwise. After you place a marble in an empty slot, you must turn one of the sections a quarter turn. You can turn any section, regardless of marble placement. You keep filling the board until there is a winner or there's a draw.

If you click on the instruction tab, you will see an animation showing you how the game mechanics work. The instructions are also available 20 different languages.

Analysis: Pentago is simple to play, infuriatingly hard to play well. The movement of the sections is what makes the game so challenging. You have to anticipate where your pieces will be after a turn, and any planning ahead usually gets quickly scuttled by your opponent. Turning the board of course can help you or hurt your opponent. You could spend several moves fighting over which direction one section gets turned. Your line of five marbles will stretch onto two or three of the sections. The three section wins are quite mind boggling, and the computer certainly knows how to accomplish the advanced tactic.

The graphics are rudimentary, but the gameplay works smoothly. The design is clean and simple. You don't really have to know the rules to start to play online.

Unfortunately the two player mode is for taking turns on the same computer. You can't play against others over the net. There is a way to challenge your friends through email, so you could make the turn-based game somewhat interactive.

This brain twister strategy game takes concentration, and possible hair pulling. It's challenging and fun to play, even though I usually lose. You can track down a wooden board if you want to play the tactile version, and there is even a deluxe version with four colors and nine sections.

Play Pentago Online

For those of you who want to delve into the strategy and tactics further, there is comprehensive PDF strategy guide available.

21 Comments

Seems like it would be fun against a friend, but the AI is terrible. I've played a handful of times and won them all, a few of which have been gifts from the computer.

Oh my gosh, I love it! Very fun--a true logic challenge.

Although I do agree with Jaguar--the computer player is a bit of a twit! haha

BTW--I apparently type faster than the new submission filter allows! It wouldn't send the second message until I had waited a few minutes!

Yep, the AI is pretty bad - doesn't seem to respond to your moves at all, just goes for its own 5 in a row - but the game itself certainly has potential!

I wouldn't even call this an AI. I'm not even sure it plays its own marbles after any strategy. It certainly doesn't make any moves to prevent you from winning. I was able to get 5 in a row, after the computer put a marble and turned a section so I had 4 in a row and one space available in that row.

It looks more fun to play as a board game though. And hey, it's Swedish. ^_^

Had the AI complete its own five in a row (one I embarrassingly didn't see glaring at me) and then proceed to turn one of the pieces containing it. I won on the next move.

Still, it was probably an even match.

I've got this game at home and I love it! ... the online version crashes my browser, though :( (Ubuntu 8.04/Firefox 3.0)

Even with the bad AI who ever goes first has a huge advantage.

The AI i played against was pretty good blocked nearly every move i made, but was still too easy. even with two people it would probably be dead even. and the game was slow on my browser.

This is a really cool game and a fun way to pass the time.

Re: "Even with the bad AI who ever goes first has a huge advantage"

... having played this game quite a bit against human players, I'd say the advantage is very slight after you begin to learn some of the strategy. In a good game, each person will set up three or four possible ways to win at a time. Plus, the suggestion is to play best of 5 and alternate who goes first ;)

Interesting. I had never heard of the board game before.
Simple and clear presentation.
I like the idea but unfortunately it is not a lot of fun playing this version against the AI. It is like playing against a child with no incentive to keep it interesting for the opponent.

The computer is impossible to beat!
But I beat the odds every time :)

It keeps telling me that I need Flash Player 9. I have Flash player 9. ANyone else have this problem?

Well, to put it simply, I completely suck at this game.

Haven't won yet, although I think my mind may be scrambled from just waking up right now. I suppose it's like playing 5-in-a-row - you start out completely horrible and then WHAM you figure out your strategy, and then suddenly you're invincible. That's how it is for me with these board game type things. I suppose I'll catch on soon enough.

I've heard of this game. It was in this MindWare catalog (and I couldn't convince my dad to buy me anything). It looked kind of interesting, but I don't know about "fun,fast... and simple game that has taken the world by storm". I'll admit that it's a good game, but not quite as good as those classic board games like Chess and Checkers and whatnot.

The computer beats me every time. I think i'll go play some good old Zwok or xSketch now...

it seems a bit glitchy...both the computer player and i did more than once the right combo of marbles, but the game didn't recognize them at first, till some "useless" moves were done.

Anony, I think you need to enable JavaScript (go google it).

It'd be a bit better if I could go second for once, instead of first all the time.

I'm so glad that i got it on the second try! Just need to really remember every plot even if it's being twisted by your enemy.

Yeah, first it was a stalemate. I expected this. Next the computer beat me in a suprise move that I never saw coming. Then the thing that will forever turn me off this game happend. The computer turned the board just right so that it was literally handing the game to me on a silver platter. If the computer can be that dumb at ANY point in time I, don't, want to play anymore. I came for a challenge. I got a learning, well, curve wouldn't be appropriate, let's go with lighting bolt. Because that's the shape of the learning lighting bolt and that's how fast the computer goes from genuis to idiot.

I have the XL version at home and I constantily play with my family. The computer version is so much easier, i think it might be taking the piss. Pentago is still a great game though and its swedish, the home of Ikea :)

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