Review: Input
Publisher: Milton Bradley
Year: 1984
Tagline: Each Piece Is Preprogrammed, Yet You Control Every Play

Input cover

how we met

Well no surprises here. I found Input at a thrift shop somewhere near Milwaukee. I had never heard of the game before but was charmed by the throwback computer chip look. I also like to pick up the occasional 2 player game for impromptu game nights without our larger group.

how it plays

Input is a 2-player abstract game involving “preprogrammed” play pieces. Each piece indicates on its surface where it can move to on the board. Each player places their pieces on their side of the computer thing so that the empty circles, indicating the starting spaces, are at the bottom for them. This makes it so the players can easily read the pieces from both perspectives.

Each little play piece shows exactly the path it must follow on the game board from beginning to end. There is no turning back. Once the piece reaches its final space it may sit there a bit or move back to the staging or input areas to begin again.

Red pieces lined up ready for play

My view from the starting line


On their turns, players can make one move. They can:

  • Move a piece from the staging area to the input area
  • Move a piece from the input area to its starting space on the board
  • Move a piece already on the board to its next space
  • Move a piece in its final space back to the staging or input area
  • The input area can be stacked up to three pieces, but you can only place the top piece from it onto the board. So basically your opponent can see all of your moves right in front of them.

    Shot showing play from red perspective

    Our play


    The goal is to capture all of your opponents pieces, which you do one by one by landing on their pieces with your own. You may not land one of your pieces on top of your own, so no stacking on the game board itself – only in the input area. The first player to capture all of the opposite pieces is the winner!

    how it went

    My take on Input matches that of many of its BGG rating comments: it was much better than I expected. It’s kind of like a light chess.

    I think it’s possible to over-think during the game and slow it down considerably, when you really have to just play it out. You can see every possible immediate move of your opponent during your turn, and you can think a couple moves ahead pretty easily. Any more than that and too much changes and you will need to adjust anyway.

    Overhead shot showing pieces in play

    An overhead shot of play. The trays at the sides are for captured pieces


    For the most part it just takes one mistake or one Catch-22 to lose a single piece and then the game often goes pretty quickly. It is pretty easy for more pieces of one color to team up and trap fewer pieces of the opposite color.

    play or pass

    Play. If you like light strategy and/or abstract games then this might be right up your alley. The idea of the inanimate computer chip-looking pieces being “preprogrammed” was charming. I think this is well worth a couple of bucks at thrift.