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Players: 1 or more
Ages: 12 and up
Weight: 700 grams (estimated)
Average Rating: 1 in 1 review
People play games for many reasons, chief among them (I hope) to have fun. But we also play games against each other to prove that we are better than our opponents. When playing Trivial Pursuit, its whos better at knowing obscure trivia. When playing Chess, its whos better at logical tactics. When playing Poker, its whos better at bluffing. So into what category does Mindtrap II (Pressman Toy Corp., 1997 no designer credited) fall? Does it really prove which side is smarter?
Actually, its all about logic (mostly). The person who is better at logical problems and deductive reasoning will do much better at this game. Fortunately, the game divides players into two teams, so the game could be played as a grudge match between couples (or men and women). I enjoy the game, but I seriously think its because I like the type of puzzles included. Those who do not like logic puzzles would probably be very turned off by the game. Lets explain how the game works
A game board is placed in the middle of the table, with funky three-dimensional graphics. Essentially, all it is are two paths, for the two different teams (both paths are the same so Im not sure why they had two different paths) to follow. Each path is made up of fourteen spaces, each marked either purple, blue, pink, or W (wild). Players are divided up into teams, a pawn is placed on the start space of each track, and each team receives a set of items. The set includes eighteen plastic sticks, about the size of a toothpick, and a plastic Tangram set. A die, with sides 0,1,1,1,2,3 is placed within reach, as well as box with three stacks of cards in it.
One team goes first, and will be challenged by a card that matches the color on their square. (A wild allows a player to pick any of the three sets of cards.)
- On a Purple space, a 4 by 6 card is drawn from a stack of 168, and the one player on the opposing team reads a paragraph mystery question to them. There is also a picture which might provide clues to the players. Using the pictoral clues and deductive reasoning, players must answer the question, also providing a reason. If the card has a small diamond on it, they may also ask one yes-or-no question before giving their final answer. The questions are fairly difficult, and geared to those who excel at deductive reasoning. If the team guesses incorrectly, the opposing team has a chance to guess (except the reader, of course.)
- On a Blue Space, the opposite team reads them either a Brain Cramp or miscellaneous question. Brain Cramp are short questions that have either a trick answer or are a short version of the Purple cards. Miscellaneous questions involve a lot of geometry puzzles (line up coins, divide objects, etc.) or other strange tasks.
- Pink Space cards are divided into two categories. If the card is a Picture It card, it shows an small part of an object, greatly magnified, along with a clue as to what it is. The team must guess correctly, or the opposing team gets a chance to guess. On a Shape It card, a completed Tangram picture is shown, and BOTH teams must race to complete the picture first. A Stick It card is played very similar, and players must set up a picture using the sticks they have, and then change the picture in a way specified by the cards.
If a team gets their question correctly, they may either move their piece one space forward, and attempt the next question, or they may roll the die moving their piece that many spaces forward, but then ending their turn. Play then goes to the other team. The first team to reach the Finish space is the winner!
Some comments on the game:
1). Components: For a small box, this game has a lot of cards, a total of 321 cards. The cards are of good quality, and slide in and out of the box easily, making the box a good place to keep the cards. The plastic pieces used for the puzzles are nice, and being a fan of Tangrams, I found that having two plastic sets of them is rather nice. The board is okay, but as I said previously, its more than it needs to be, even though I do like the artwork on it, with its stormy scientific theme. The box holds everything, but not very well, in my opinion. The box looks good, and is sturdy, but when opened, its rather easy for everything to fall out.
2). Rules: The rules are in a small leaflet, and are rather poorly written. One major gap in the rules was left out, the fact that players can use the pictures on the cards to help them out. The rules dont even mention this, and we only found out because the solutions to some questions referred to the picture. The rules were also unclear on how to move off the start space. It would have been nicer to have clearer rules. Its easy to teach the game, and learn how to play, but woe betide him who first reads the rules.
3). Logic: People who are more logically minded will mop the floor with this game. Tangrams and deductive reasoning puzzles are something I enjoy quite a bit, so I did fairly well at the game. But others, who arent a big fan of these kinds of questions would probably be put off. Some of the questions are downright hard, and occasionally the answers kind of cheat with how they are worded, not counting downright trick questions. The game was very grueling.
4). Fun Factor: This grueling factor highly outweighed the fun factor. Its hard to enjoy a game that causes you to think so hard. It was so serious when playing, and there wasnt a lot of laughter. I enjoy puzzles such as these, but it didnt seem to fit well in the framework of the game.
5). Picture This: This is an exception to the rule. I really enjoy these puzzles, as well as most people I know. Its one of my favorite sections in Games Magazine, so I was very pleased to see these kinds of puzzles in the game.
6). Replayability: There are a lot of cards, but unlike other games like this, a card can never really be reused (unless you have a horrible memory). So the game is only likely to see about 5-6 plays. You would have to determine whether that is worth the money to you.
I like the game, because I like the puzzles included with it. But I cant recommend it much at all. For one thing, very few people would actually enjoy it, and for another, it didnt make for a very fun game. I find it best to pull out occasionally and try to do the puzzles on my own, and for that I really could just buy a puzzle book, right? But if you and your friends are looking for a puzzle book that you all can do at the same time, and are very logical minded, this might be the game for you. For you folk looking to have a good time seek elsewhere.