2 - 4 Players
In Ctrl, players try to dominate a cube by crawling over it with their colored bricks, preferably covering other players’ bricks along the way.
In more detail, you start with a 3×3×3 cube that has one block of each player color stuck into one of the cube’s holes. (In a two-player game, each player controls two colors, but at the start of play they secretly choose one of those colors to be their scoring color, with the other color serving only as a blocking mechanism.) Each player has a matching colored flag that sticks out of their block.
On a turn, a player removes their flag from its current location, adds one cube of their color to the side of any of their blocks (where such a move can be made), then they "grow" their color by adding two blocks in a straight line from the block they just added, crawling around corners and covering other players’ blocks if needed. To end your turn, plant your flag in one of your final blocks, ideally blocking where someone else might like to play while also preserving future ground in which you can play.
Once all the blocks have been placed, you calculate your score by looking at the structure from all four surrounding sides, as well as from the top, and counting each unblocked square of your color that is visible. Thus, if you plant a block high up on the cube, you can possibly score 5 points for it since it would be seen from all sides and the top. Climb high, and block others from blocking you!
2 Players, 3 Players, 4 Players
Julio E. Nazario
Ctrl is mesmerizing in appearance, especially as it grows organically from those first few cubes. Sadly, the game has a few significant problems, such as the chintzy plastic pieces and the innate advantage handed to the final player. The two-player game is best, with its focus on bluffing and secrecy, but doesn't entirely address its problems. Read my review here: https://spacebiff.com/2020/08/18/ctrl/
Picked this up this week as a game for me to play with my kids. The box says 8+ but my 6 year old son grasped the concept immediately and actually beat me in a head to head match up. My 4 year old daughter did not seem to grasp it, or maybe she just did not care and preferred to use the blocks as Lego Bricks and build shapes. Anyway, if you are concerned about the 8+ rating, don't be, you can play with younger kids for sure.
Overall, a disappointing game. I love the concept (a not as cutthroat version of PUEBLO), but the execution is mediocre. The pieces have a hard time staying together (when putting a piece into a tight spot, a huge chunk fell off the brick, and it took forever to get them back in). Keeping the block on the table helps, but it makes for a lot of leaning and hunching. Using flags as blockers is interesting, but they are a pain to get in/out and if you are too rough, the blocks will pop off. The game play is fine, as I mentioned earlier, it is very similar to Pueblo, but this game drags. My wife and I were ready for it to be over about half way through. Maybe the length is a two player issue, but it definitely is not a 20 minute game unless you are speed running it or just not looking at what your opponents are doing. There is no insert, so the blocks are essentially just thrown into a box which is bigger than it needs to be. Not worth the shelf space it takes up, so it will be making a swift exit from the collection.