Wednesday, April 16, 2008
On the Dot
You get 4 transparent squares, each of which shows a different pattern of colored dots. You also get 64, square puzzle cards, each of which also shows a different pattern of colored dots. The challenge: arrange all 4 transparent squares to match the pattern on the puzzle card.
The thing is, each transparent square has 8 possible positions. If they weren't transparent, there'd only be 4. But, see, you can not only turn them clockwise, or counterclockwise, or upside-down or downside-up, you can also turn them over.
And then, since you always have to use all 4 transparent squares, there's learning how to hide the wrong-colored dots underneath the right-colored dots. This works, because though the game cards are transparent, the dots aren't.
And when you play it competitively (there are 4 sets of transparent squares, so up to 4 people can play), you're all turning and flipping those colored squares and sometimes surprising the heck out of each other and yourselves when the solution actually appears.
This is a grown-up kind of puzzle/game, perceptually challenging, logically subtle. You probably need to be at least a fifth-grader before the fun really kicks in.
And it's just about the perfect "filler" game for a games party - since people can pick it up and understand what the puzzle is about almost immediately, amaze onlookers with their brilliance, play with it for 5 minutes or an hour, and, when the time is right, invite others into a game of significant tension and even more significant fun.