Published on March 8th, 2012 | by Greg0
Games and Puzzles: A New Game and Book
Whether you’re in the mood for reading about puzzles or playing a game, we’ve got you covered in today’s pair. Books and games go together like wine and cheese- well, maybe not quite as closely, since you can’t really have them at the same time. But we still think they are a natural fit, and even more so when the book is about games in a sense. And you’ve seen plenty of board games grace these pages, but not one quite like this.
Today’s read is The Puzzler’s Dilemma, by Derrick Niederman, now available in paperback from Penguin. We liked the exploration, even if it does get sometimes dry. Starting with ‘Early Puzzles’ and continuing on through sections like ‘Kangaroo Puzzles’ (a bit confusing, but defined as puzzles that contain the answers inside), ‘Lateral Thinking’, and ‘The Human Element’, the author wanders everywhere from crosswords to Jeopardy, the Monty Hall problem, riddles, and plenty of literary references (Poe to Stevenson). At 213 pages, it’s beach reading for puzzlers, and pretty great to pick up a few pages at a time to absorb the answers. Best of all, you’ll learn some new tricks and puzzles that should woo even the most hardcore fan of games. $11 or so.
If you’d rather leap into a board game this weekend, pick up Morphology. It’s received rave ratings from Time (#2 Toy of the Year) and the Chicago Tribune (top ten games to get a party started), and we can easily see where the positive reviews are coming from. Granted, at first, it can feel a bit random- kind of like someone threw a bunch of stuff together. But with a bit more time, the careful planning behind the materials becomes apparent. Much like other party games, you divide into teams of any number (four or more people are needed), and you’ll be working creatively. Each round, one player from a team has a minute to have his or her team guess a given word from a card. But unlike party favorites like Dixit or Apples to Apples or Taboo, you won’t use words. Instead, you’ll use the included balls, blocks, string, sticks, figurines, and circles. There are further restrictions or changes based on rolling the die- like being able to use only one hand or only some of the materials- but the rules are super-simple and thus easy to learn. It can take only a few minutes to play, as well, and does challenge your brain. The materials aren’t great, though, especially the string (which is key). Still, it’s fun for groups of any age or even mixed ages, and we had luck with adults and kids alike. A good pick for anyone looking for a new and different party game. Available now, $25.