Quarto is a beautiful abstract strategy game along the lines of tic-tac-toe. In Quarto, you are trying to get 4 in a row of any of the characteristics of the pieces, which are either short or tall, light or dark, round or square, solid or hollow.
The first player picks a piece and hands it to their opponent who places it on the 4×4 board, then picks out another piece and hands it back for the first player to place. This adds a layer to the strategy as you have to not only concentrate on where to place your piece, but to also be careful about which pieces you are handing to your opponent.
Quarto comes in several different variations including a full size game, a mini game (about 4″ wide) as well as travel and magnetic versions. Quarto Mini is the newest iteration, from Gigamic games. It has elegant packaging, beautiful real wood pieces and is handy to throw in a suitcase or bag to have as a filler for when you have a few minutes to kill. It plays quickly and is accessible to many ages.
I was taught this game many years ago, and liked it quite a bit, but never seemed to get around to picking up the full size game. When I saw the mini version come out, I was quite excited by the smaller size, which will be much easier to carry around with me. This game would make an awesome gift for a gift exchange or would make a good stocking stuffer (if you have a slightly larger stocking). A nice addition to any collection. Versions with plastic pieces can be found for around $15. I would recommend spending the couple extra dollars and picking up the Mini version with the real wood pieces for $25 (Note that the board is made of composite wood) for a better tactile experience. Especially if you intend to give it as a gift.
Recommended in any version.