One of things you did as a kid when Christmas was just around the corner was to start making a list of things you wanted Father Christmas to bring you (I try to resist the urge to call him Santa Claus. Â It was always Father Christmas when I was little). Â Invariably of course you didn’t get everything on that list, but you might have got a few things that weren’t on your list.
Quite often though it was these unasked for presents that actually became your favourites. Â I’ve mentioned this before with the Don’t Upset Me game I received one year, and another good example was the rather excellent Stay Alive, which also appeared magically in my Christmas gifts one year.
Stay Alive is a really simple game to learn, and can have up to four players. Â Each player sits on one side of the game board, and places their coloured marbles on the grid in the middle of the board. Â The grid is made up of a number of sliders with holes in various places, one set running horizontally and another set running vertically. Â Once all the marbles are placed players take it in turns to move the sliders with the aim of causing their opponents marbles to fall through the holes, whilst also ensuring their own marbles are as safe as possible.
The two sets of sliders are layered, so when moving the top sliders you don’t necessarily know whether there is a hole in a certain grid position on the bottom layer, which makes for some very tense moments as your opponent slides a hole in the top layer under your marble. Â You never were sure whether you had lost a marble or not until the slider clicked into place.
I spent many happy hours playing Stay Alive, and one of the best things about it was that because each game was fairly quick to play you never got bored, so best of three (or even best of thirteen) matches were quite common.
It’s obviously a game that has stood the test of time, since it was around in at least the seventies (possibly earlier) and you can still buy it today. Well worth a look if you want something strategic but don’t want to learn a massive set of rules.