Creating not so Straight Paths to Victory in CrossWays

Recommended Age:8+
Play Time:15-25 Minutes
Players:2-8 players or teams
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CrossWays by USAopoly is a fun game where you have to create a path across the board anyway you can while other players are trying to do the same and stop you. Play cards, add your markers or remove another player’s markers to create your path across the board. This game is simple enough to learn for my 5 year old but challenging enough for adults and fun for everyone!

CrossWays is a lot of fun and like I said my 5 year old son learned how to play. We used the standard rules and added the Jokers but didn’t do any of the other challenging optional rules yet. I am sure we will playing using those rules in no time. My Diva even learned the basic version!

2014-09-13 16.45.19 copyThe box is sturdy which is my favorite word when it comes to boxes and my other favorite word for boxes is organized! A special place for everything just makes me happy and this box has a nice insert with a spot for cards and a spot for the Markers. The board and instructions fit neatly on top of it all.

The game board is very good quality. Nice and sturdy and not easily breakable. The Markers are made of plastic and are kind of small so watch any kids that are younger or if they still put things in their mouths. You might find a few Markers have a little plastic edge to them from the molds. This doesn’t affect the game play or stacking at ALL and isn’t sharp but you could take sand paper to it if you want.

I was a little disappointed in the cards as they are the papery thin kind but as long as your child doesn’t angrily tear cards you should be fine. Again this doesn’t impact the game at all and in fact you don’t notice it while you’re playing. Aside from that the game is made very well and is a lot of fun. Let me explain just how fun!


Be the first player to make a path from one side of the board to the other. ONLY Horizontal or Vertical connecting squares count, no Diagonal unless you are using special rules. Your path does NOT have to be a straight line and often is a zig zag across the board.


First start by setting the game board up in the middle so everyone can reach the sides. Then decide if you are playing on teams or not and choose your color of Markers. Now shuffle the cards! Then deal 5 out to each Player or 4 out to each Team. Put the rest where everyone can reach face down. This is the draw pile.

2014-09-12 20.12.52 copyPlay:

You can choose randomly who is the dealer and the person to the left of the dealer goes first. The game suggests cutting the deck and high card is the dealer but we tend to roll dice. Each player will play a card or two by discarding them and either putting Markers on the board or removing them. Then draw back up to the 5 cards (4 if playing teams). If the draw deck runs out just shuffle the discard deck.

Now to play a Marker you discard/play one card, for example a 4 of Diamonds then place one Marker on ANY Red 4 square on the board. Only one Marker and only on a Red 4. If you play a Jack of Spades you would place one Marker on a Black J on the board, etc.

Playing any two of one card, or a Pair, allows you to place TWO Markers on the board ANYWHERE. You can place these two Markers either together on one square which will also block anyone else from putting a Marker on that square OR you can place each one on two different squares on the board. This is the ONLY way you can play on a White Square. You have to place both Markers on the White Square and placing two of one color Markers on a Square locks it from anyone else.2014-09-15 19.05.10 copy

All players can have one Marker on a Square and in standard rules it counts for all but if one player has two then no one else can play on that square. If you play a Run or two cards of the same suit in sequential order, for example 5 and 6 of Clubs, you can remove TWO Markers from ANYWHERE on the board. These can be on the same square or two different squares. Very handy if you are trying to prevent someone else from winning…just ask my Gentleman who caught on to that one quickly.

You CAN place a Marker on top of another player’s Marker unless of course there are two of one color on that spot already. This makes it harder to remember who is winning so watch those stacks closely. My son snuck up on me pretty quickly this way! There are a handful of optional rules you can add in to make the game more challenging which is fun for my husband and I. My son of course will be learning these and winning soon enough.

2014-09-15 19.27.43 copyDouble Down: If someone Locks a square by placing two of their Markers on it then all other players Markers do not count for them. Oh I love this one…except when it works against me.

King of the Mountain: Only the player with their Marker on the TOP of the pile can count that square for their path. Two Markers of one color still closes the square though. This makes the game more challenging but a bit longer and there is a chance you could run out of Markers so keep track.

Diagonals: If you place 4 Markers on a White square you can count all diagonal squares surrounding that White square to complete your path.

Pairs and Runs: If you have a Run and a Pair you can discard both for one play. This allows you to either remove two Markers and place one OR place two Markers and remove one. For example, you have a 6 & 7 of Hearts and a 7 of Spades. This is a Run AND a Pair but only 3 cards. That is a neat trick.

Jokers: You might not want to start with these but we accidentally did and my son did just fine with a reminder or two. Jokers are wild but with a twist. If you discard/play a Joker as a single card it will allow you to remove any one Marker but if you discard one Joker with any other card you can place two Markers on the square that matches the card you played WITH the Joker. So…kind of like playing a single card but that bonus Marker.

The game even gives you different Objectives to win which is awesome. I love games that show you how to adjust itself. Now I will show you how the Diva plays…which is the basic version really.

2014-09-15 19.15.20 copyObjective – Diva:

First to have a path of 3, 4, or 5. Not a row! Make sure they connect either Horizontal or Vertical and not Diagonal. This depends on your child’s attention span. A shorter game but still playing by the basic rules of the game so they can learn.


Remove Jokers. Shuffle cards.


You have two options depending on your child’s attention span and comprehension of how to place the Markers.

Option 1 is to take turns flipping the top card and placing a Marker on a square that matches the color. This is the best way to start younger kids off or to play with 2-4 year olds. It teaches them how to play the Markers using the cards and they get to play a big kid game.

Option 2 is to deal 3-5 cards to you and your child and play the most basic game but do so cards face up. Have your child show you where a Marker could be placed on the board based on the cards. If they have a 4 of Clubs have them show you where a Black 4 is located on the board, or both of them.

Now chances are your very young child, who doesn’t eat pieces that are small, doesn’t understand strategy yet. This is ok as they can learn. This way will help them identify their cards and plan moves as they get better at the game. You won’t want to use any other rules except the stacking is ok and add the two color lock out if you want.


Playing Option 1 doesn’t really have a Winner but you could get 3 in a row or just the most after 10 cards or so.

Playing Option 2 has a winner if you have a path of 3-5 depending on how long you set it for. You can adjust this and even go across the board like normal if you want. I set our goal lower simply because it can take awhile to have her explain where each card is and she likes to place them just all over on whatever card she wants at that moment.

CrossWays is truly great for any age and a great Family Game Night game. Easy enough for little kids, challenging enough for adults and fun enough even for teens! The ONLY problem is it is only a 4 player game! I think an expansion is in order but in the mean time we will continue to enjoy this one on our Family Game Nights.


“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.”
~ Fred Rogers

Author: sandyz