Double Shutter Review
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Players: 1-6 (ages 6+)
Playing Time: You decide

Whether you’re playing by yourself or challenging an opponent, you’ll find that it’s easy to get hooked on this modernized remake of a 17th-century French game.

The rules of Double Shutter are simple enough for young players, but they still offer challenges for players of all ages. You begin the game with two rows of tiles (numbered one through nine) facing you. You then roll the two dice. With each roll, you add up the total number of dots showing, and you flip down tiles whose numbers add up to the same total. For instance, if you roll a 4 and a 5 (for a total of 9), you can choose to flip down (or “shut”) a 9…or an 8 and a 1…or a 6, a 2, and a 1…and so forth. You then continue rolling the dice and shutting the tiles for as long as you can.

When you can no longer shut any tiles (for example, if you roll a 9 and you only have a 3 and a 4 left—or if you roll a 3 and you only have a 6 and a 7 left), your turn ends. You then add up the numbers on the tiles that are still facing up.

If you’re playing solo, that’s it. You keep track of your lowest score, challenging yourself to beat your best score.

If you’re playing an opponent (or opponents), you take turns trying to get the lowest score for the round. The player with the lowest score gets one point, and play continues for a predetermined number of rounds. The player with the most points wins.

Though it is possible to play with several players, Double Shutter makes the most sense as a solitaire game. You can sit down and play a round in just a minute or two, and you can play for as much time (or as little) as you want.

When you play against opponents, however, the game loses some of its addictive, fast-paced fun. Since each player takes a full turn before passing the game on to the next player, there’s a lot of waiting involved—and there’s also very little interaction between players.

If you’re playing with two or more players, then, I recommend reworking the rules a bit. For instance, if you prefer a little more player interaction (as well as a little more strategy), try taking turns rolling the dice and shutting tiles—and when a player can’t shut any more tiles, he or she takes the points. Then, after a predetermined number of rounds, the player with the fewest points wins.

Still, Double Shutter is an addictive game—especially if you’re playing on your own. It requires a good mix of strategy and luck—and, for younger players, it’s also a fun way to practice basic math. Pick up a copy of Double Shutter and leave it out in your living room, and I guarantee that every member of your family will end up playing a round or two whenever they’ve got a few minutes to spare.

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