I think people assume when you’re in the toy/game business that you’re just a big kid. And although that’s not the truth (at least not in my case – I’m kind of serious about my work), there are definitely toys and games that awaken my inner. I was a creative child that loved logic puzzles, LEGOs, brainteasers, and creative challenges. I wasn’t so keen on school work (although I did my homework) but I’d much rather learn through a game or puzzle and Block Builders, from Fat Brain Toys, would have been right up my alley.
Block Builders is essentially building blocks meets tangram-like puzzles. It has six hinged blocks that a player uses to recreate drawings on challenge cards. When I first saw this item I was like “okay cool, you’ve taken 6 cubes and given them an open position and a closed position, so essentially you have 6 cubes AND 6 shapes to use.” Then I tried some of the puzzles. To my amazement, the blocks do not need to be in their full open or closed position to be a part of the answer! Tricky!
There are 50 puzzles divided amongst three levels and each card tells you how many blocks you should be using, but not which blocks to use. If you want a real challenge, cover up the number of pieces required and try to tackle them without that hint. As an adult the beginner challenges were a piece of cake but beyond that I did have to fire up the brain and put some thought into the puzzles.
For any aspiring architects who are playing with Block Builders, Fat Brain Toys has included an architecture quote, term, style definition, place or fact on the back of each card. My favorite quote is on card 15, “Art is never finished, only abandoned” said by artist, engineer, inventor and architect, Leonardo da Vinci and I find that is just as true now as I did when I was an architecture major in college (before I jumped over to the industrial design program). I could polish my games forever but just have to let them go.
The only thing I didn’t like about Block Builders is the color of the blocks. I get that the blue is supposed to be that blue you get when you duplicate building plans but I wanted something more colorful and exciting. Personally, I always grabbed the cherry red tangrams because I liked the color but even a brighter, happier blue would have jazzed this up a bit. Still, I would not let the monochromatic look of this item deter you from it. The cleverness of the cubes really elevates the classic tangram-style play to something impressive.
Block Builders Stats:
$32.95 at Amazon and Fat Brain Toys
How long do you want to play?
Ages 5 and up