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Exacto

Can you find which two circles match perfectly on one board with the holes on the other? Take a second look, because it might not be as obvious as you first expect.

Published by NSV, Exacto is a fast, light little puzzle game that’s sturdy, portable, and family-friendly.

Gameplay

The game consists of fifteen boards. On the front of each, there are eight colored circles at different distances from each other. On the back you only see two holes in the board, various distances apart. Each round, you set two boards in the center of the table, one face-up and one face-down.

Without picking up the boards, the start player tries to guess which two colored circles on the face-up board are the exact distance from each other as the two holes on the face-down board. There will always be only one correct answer. Once this player has guessed, he places the holes across the two chosen circles to check. If the holes exactly reveal the two circles, he was right and takes the face-down board and puts it in his score pile, while the face-up board is placed at the bottom of the board stack. If he is incorrect, the next player gets to try. This continues until someone has guessed correctly.

Once it has been correctly guessed, a new round starts, with two new boards being drawn. The player to the left of the person who guessed correctly gets to be the start player. You continue playing until only one board is left in the draw pile. The player with the most boards in their score pile wins.

Exacto Components

Review

Exacto is a deceptively clever little puzzle. You can explain the rules in thirty seconds or less, and then you can start playing. In truth, all you really need in order to teach the game is to show one turn, and then you’re good to go. But, while the first time you’re introduced to the concept you’ll likely think it sounds easy enough, as soon as you start checking your choice of colored circles you soon realize it’s a lot more tricky to find the right ones than you might assume.

The boards are nice and thick, and the game comes in a small box, making it quite portable. Game time is swift, and the nice bite-sized nature of the puzzle makes this a good game to play on the go or if you only want a brief challenge.

While turns are fast, waiting for it to reach you isn’t going to be particularly exciting for five or six players since you might never get your chance at a particular board. The back-and-forth nature of a two-to-three-player game is more engaging.

If you enjoy quick puzzles and a simple premise, Exacto is a nicely produced one that you can easily keep playing. There are many combinations for the boards, ensuring plenty of replayability.

Pros: Plenty of board combinations, nicely produced, very potable

Cons: Not tons of gameplay, probably shouldn’t be played at higher player counts

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.