Twixt is a three dimensional version of a classic pen and paper game. The game is played by two players on a board full of tiny holes, in which pegs fit. Twixt was designed by Alex Randolph and first published in 1962.

The object of the game is to build an uninterrupted bridge from one edge of the board to the other. Using a familiar directional naming convention, one player is attempting to build a bridge between the north and south edges of the board, while the other player is attempting to build a bridge between the east and west edges of the board.

The players build the bridges by alternately placing pegs on the board. If a player has placed a peg in such a position that it can be connected to another peg that that player has already placed, they can place a link connecting the pegs. The restriction is that links cannot cross each other, so a player can place pegs and links in such a manner that they block their opponents links; therein lies the deep strategy of the game. The first player to create an uninterrupted path from one side of the board to the other is the winner.

One tricky aspect to placing pegs and links is that to support a link, the pegs must be a certain distance apart. The only distance at which this works is a 1 x 2 diagonal; think of the way a knight moves in chess. This significantly alters the logic and strategy for placing pegs.

Twixt best fits the category of abstract strategy game and is favorably comparable to go, chess, or shogi. Twixt requires thinking several turns ahead in order to succeed. If you narrow your focus too much you will almost certainly find yourself outflanked by your opponent. This game would provide a fantastic problem for artificial intelligence research, I believe, given the wide-open strategic possibilities on the board.

This game was released by 3M in 1962 as part of their Bookshelf Games collection, in which every game was packaged in a box to be stored vertically on a bookshelf, even going so far as to have an edge that looked like a binding of a book. Other members of the 3M Bookshelf Games collection include Acquire (a strategic tile-laying finance game), backgammon, Bazaar (a trading game), Breakthru (a piece capturing game), Challenge Bridge (an odd version of the classic duplicate bridge), Challenge Football, Challenge Golf at Pebble Beach, chess, Contigo, Events (a historical trivia game), Executive Decision (a business management game), Facts in Five (a trivia game), Feudal, Foil, go, High Bid, Image (a very odd personality profile game), Jati, Jumpin', Mr. President (a political campaign game), Oh-Wah-Ree, Phlounder, Ploy, Point of Law, Quinto, and Stacks and Bounds. There may have been others, but these are the ones I've come across (the ones with notes are the ones that I have owned and played). This version has been out of print for many years; if you want to pick up a copy, though, one can usually be found on ebay.

The game was re-released in the same bookshelf-style box by Avalon Hill in 1976. Like the 3M version, this one is long out of print.

Today, it is still in print in Germany by the board game makers Kosmos. A version by Schmidt-Sphele is sometimes in print in Germany as well. Both versions can be imported quite easily and inexpensively if you are an American interested in the game.

Twixt is a classic strategy game that more people should be exposed to. The game is amazingly simple to pick up but is layered in strategy on many levels.

Twixt is also a English word meaning between. It is actually a contraction of betwixt (or sometimes atwixt, if you're feeling particularly archaic). It has existed in this contracted form for over 500 years, although it was oft written oddly, e.g., tuyx and tuix (English was very flexible in the 1500s).

Being a contraction, it is often written as 'twixt (Shakespeare may have been the first to use the modern apostrophized 'twixt). Modern dictionaries are split on the apostrophe issue, but the unadorned twixt seems to be slightly in the lead.

'Tis not a common word, but 'tis a good one.

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