So you think you are a clever clogs do you? Well perhaps you should face The Genius Square. Fail, and you will stand in the corner with a cone shaped hat on your dunderhead. Succeed and you get to don your best certificate smile instead! You know, that smile you get when you were awarded a certificate at school and were really pleased but also wanted to look cool and not beam from ear to ear in front of your classmates!
This puzzle game pits two players against each other in a frantic race to complete The Genius Square first. A solo variant mode is also an option whereby you race against the clock and your previous times, rather than a human combatant.
Firstly, you will roll the seven dice which gives you grid references where you have to place a wooden cylindrical blocker marker. Once these are placed in the correct locations on each player’s board, the game begins. Players then race to fit their polyomino pieces into the grid the quickest. Fastest player wins. It really is as simple as that!
What it’s like
The Genius Square is super-fast to set up and play. Games take between 20 and 40 seconds, so you will generally be battling it out on more than one occasion.
The box suggests 6+ but my 5 year old is competitive enough against his brothers, but is more likely to win if they stumble. The same applies when the so-called grown-ups in our house take on the kids, they are more likely to win if you misjudge a placement rather than being on an equal footing. However, pitch two contenders of a similar age together, and you can really sit back and enjoy the mêlée that ensues.
The race is fast and frenzied. You know if your brain freezes or you slip up and have to rearrange more shapes than it will probably cost you the win. This adds to the pressure of the short, sharp burst of arranging the components. Some people may be left wanting more.
The plastic grids in The Genius Square are good quality with little grooves to stop the circles and wooden playing pieces slipping around. The custom dice are perfectly okay.
The star of the show in terms of components are the coloured wooden polyomino shapes. These are chunky and nice to play with. Having nice, robust components like these in a children’s game means you know they will stand the test of time!
What the kids thought
Harrison (12): It is clever that there is always a way to complete it. You do get to know the pieces and the patterns that work well together. Games are always really close. It’s good and I like playing it with my brothers.
George (9): I might not win all the time but I do like The Genius Square. It looks a bit like Tetris and I like how it changes each time with the dice rolls. I do like puzzle games and this is one of my favourites.
Max (5): It’s really good, and I like that you race against each other. I like how the cubes fit between the circle bits.
Final thoughts on The Genius Square
As you can see from the comments above, my boys have genuine fun with The Genius Square. They are often battling it out between themselves, giving Mum and Dad a break as they amuse themselves away from the lure of electronics.
This puzzle game encourages sequencing, spatial awareness, speed of thought, strategic planning and visual perception. In that regard it contributes toward STEM learning without the player’s really knowing it. That’s always a bonus!
I don’t regularly pull it from the shelf to play with my wife, we’ve got better two player games. It is fun however, when the kids set it down in front of me, and I like the challenge of it.
Games are over in a flash and while this opens the options up for ‘best of five’ or similar, it can get a bit repetitive if played too much in succession.
Number of players: 1 to 2
Board Game Review Recommended Age: 5+
Publisher’s Recommended Age: 6
Playing Time: under 1 minute per game
Setting Up and Take Down Time: 1 minute
Designers: Salim Berghiche
Publisher: The Happy Puzzle Company
The real genius is The Genius Square itself. It boasts 62,208 possible different puzzles with at least one guaranteed solution to each and every one. That is some clever computer that worked out all the possible combinations and solutions. The Genius Square is a really good puzzle game for kids. It is fast to play and well worth owning for those with younger players in the house.
Artwork and Components
Value for Money
- Good puzzle game for kids
- Some educational benefits
- Easy to learn
- Sturdy and colourful wooden components
- Games are over in a flash
- Can get repetitive
- No interaction between players
- Primarily suitable for children
Buy The Genius Square
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