I just succumbed to a Kickstarter for simple little abstract strategy game called Tak, meant to be the incarnation of a game referenced in a set of fantasy novels. Its minimalism is charming, making Tak a good (belated) entrant for Daniel Solis' Thousand Year Game Challenge. It's playable on a square grid of spaces: 3x3, 4x4, 5x5, 6x6, or 8x8. (Because the game has an imaginary history and cultural context, there is lore that the 7x7 variant is “rarely played”, while the 8x8 variant is sometimes known as the “Master's Game”.)
The folks behind the game have a nifty idea for a “hybrid” gameboard that makes it easy to play (almost) any of the variants. It looks like this:
For the odd-numbered variants players place their pieces in the truncated-square spaces, while in the even-numbered variants pieces go on the diamonds. Nifty.
But this made me itch that the 8x8 variant is not accommodated. Surely a Tak enthusiast who plays the Master's Game would need to be able to also play the smaller-scale versions. So it occurred to me that the absence of the 7x7 variant creates a little design opportunity: