Sunday, 17 September 2017


Plays: 2Px1.

The Game

Fold-It is certainly unique. Your main game component is a colourful piece of cloth. It consists of a 4x4 grid, and each space in the grid contains a dish, e.g. spaghetti, sushi, pizza, chicken chop, ramen, big breakfast. The cloth is double-sided. At each position on it, the dish is the same one on both front and back. The game is a real-time game. Everyone starts with 3 life points. At the beginning of each round, a card is revealed, and it depicts a number of dishes. You must then fold your own piece of cloth in such a way that those exact dishes are visible. Whoever is last to achieve this is penalised and loses one life point. Gradually the players are disqualified, and the last person standing wins the game.

When you fold your piece of cloth, you may only fold along the straight lines forming the grid. You can't fold diagonally and you can't fold along the middle of a square. You may use either or both sides of your cloth. This card shows three dishes, and the cloth has been folded to show these exact three, no more and no fewer.

Cards come in two categories - easy and hard. The active player of the round decides which type to draw. Of these four cards in this photo, certainly the leftmost one is from the easy category. It shows only one dish. It's a matter of folding your cloth quickly, and not a matter of working out how to do it.

Those round counters with stars are the life points. When you fold your cloth, the dishes being made visible need not be in the precise positions as depicted by the card.

It's OK to be a little messy, as long as it is clear you have done your folding right. This being a speed game means often you can't be bothered with form.

The Play

The folding mechanism is certainly fresh and novel. When I first played, there were some puzzles which I got stuck with for a long time. It took a while for me to get used to the very unique spatial element of this game. When Wai Yan taught Chen Rui (10) and I to play, we didn't play by the rules. We just revealed card after card and tried to solve the puzzles. We probably spent more time learning how to solve puzzles than actually playing a proper game. Eventually we only did one proper game.

Fold-It reminds me of Ubongo. When you get stuck with a puzzle, it really bugs you and you can't let it go until you manage to solve it. It doesn't matter if you are already the last player or if time has run out. You need to solve this puzzle! After you get a better grasp of the techniques, the game doesn't become pointless. It just changes in nature. Now it is not a matter of who can and who cannot solve the puzzle. It becomes a contest of who can solve it more quickly.

The Thoughts

Fold-It is a party game, a family game, a casual game, a filler. It is a light game. This is not the type I chase after, but it has its occasions and it serves a few purposes. I am happy to have satisfied my curiosity and to have experienced its unusual mechanism.

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