Single player logic games are great for all ages. The latest one we’ve added to our collection is ChromaCube, “a logic puzzle game that employs attractive wooden cubes and a variety of deductive skills to solve.”
Timberdoodle sent me ChromaCube in exchange for my review. I love these kinds of games so I couldn’t wait to take it out of the box and give it a try.
ChromaCube consists of 12 wooden blocks painted different colors, a wooden frame that holds the blocks, and a set of puzzle challenge cards that fit into a slot on the frame under the blocks.
I didn’t love the packaging. It is molded plastic that fits over the blocks and slides into a cardboard box with half of it cut out. However, everything does all fit back in it for storage, so it’s not “throw-away” packaging like some I’ve seen.
The colors of the blocks have specific names that are important to know in order to solve the puzzles. Some are pretty obvious, such as orange, black, and brown. Others are more obscure. I mean, who calls blue “cobalt”? And then there are 3 shades of green: mint, emerald, and teal.
I appreciated that a “cheat sheet” was included for reference until I could remember what all the colors were called.
The object is to arrange the blocks on the frame according to the rules of each challenge. It is similar to Sudoku in some ways, but not as rigid.
There can be more than one correct solution to a particular challenge. That frustrated me. If my solution didn’t match their solution I felt like it was “wrong” even though it wasn’t.
The color names definitely come into play more than just remembering what each one is called. Sometimes a challenge will refer to colors that start with a certain letter, or have a certain number of letters in the name, or are in alphabetical order.
The hardest part for me was figuring out what it meant when the challenge said one color had “heard of” another color, or could “see” another color, or maybe “hated” or “loved” another color. I admit to studying the solution card to figure out the language and then coming back to solve the challenge another time.
ChromaCube is recommended for ages 13 and up, and is included in Timberdoodle’s 11th grade curriculum kit. But does that mean younger children can’t play with it? Not at all!
Adapting for Preschool
I took it (along with Turing Tumble) on a camping trip with friends this summer. Our 4-year-old friend Ella was very interested in giving it a try.
Since she can’t read yet she couldn’t even attempt playing by the rules, but you know what? It was easy-peasy to make up preschool-appropriate rules that kept her occupied and challenged for quite awhile.
First, we talked about the colors.
“What color is this?” I asked her, holding up the coral block.
“Light orange!” she said. Light orange it is!
Cobalt was, of course, blue. Magenta is pink. And the 3 shades of green? Light green, medium green, and dark green!
After that I would hand her a challenge card, flip it to the solution side which showed all 12 blocks in place, and ask her to arrange the blocks on the frame to match the picture.
For her, that was a perfect activity. It was great for helping develop critical thinking skills and hand-eye coordination by needing to turn the blocks onto their corners to fit on the frame.
Great Gift Idea!
ChromaCube is an attractive game, being made of wood, and is self-contained enough to leave sitting on a coffee table or desk in invitation for friends of all ages to pick up and try. It would make a lovely gift for just about anybody.
There are 25 levels and I enjoy it so much that I’ve worked my way through most of them. I think I still have 4 challenges left to complete, but I’ll definitely go back and re-do them all sometime. It’s that kind of game!