I mentioned the ThinkFun game Solitaire Chess in my 2010 Picks article and said I needed to play it some more. Well I got to play it some more during the holidays and I really enjoy it….to the point I leave it on my desk in case I have some down time. (which I don’t ever, but it motivates me to try to make some!) Before I tell you about Solitaire Chess, we’re going to do a little flashback to the late 1980s…
When I was in grammar school I was lucky enough to be pulled out of class a couple times a week and put into what my school called “challenge.” We played board games, did logic puzzles, played with tangrams, learned advanced problem solving techniques. At the time I truly had no idea why I was being pulled out of class and to this day I’m convinced it was just so I didn’t end up totally disenchanted with school because I was unhappy or bored when I wasn’t in “challenge.” Maybe this is why I invent games, regardless I think that veering away from the traditional math/English/social studies/science made my school experience far more enjoyable and I wish every kid got a “brain recess” a couple times a week!
Sadly, most schools out there that don’t have anything similar to a “challenge” program but I think every kid — and adult — should get a “Brain Recess.” I guess I should specify that “Brain Recess” is not when students’ brains take a time out – we have TV for that – instead it’s when students get a break from the math equations and science terms that they are bombarded with all day and have the opportunity to let their brains play! Luckliy, there are plenty of products out on the market today that can be fun, challenging and can be enjoyed solo. Personally, I’m a fan of tangrams, pentominoes, logic grid puzzles, edge-matching puzzles and of course products that come from ThinkFun (which was called “Binary Arts” back when I was a kid!). They have the fantastic Rush Hour puzzle series which has been out since 1996 (read my review of that HERE) and now I’m totally geeked about their newest puzzle product, Solitaire Chess!
I’ll admit I’m not a huge chess player, mostly because I don’t have the time to play and study it enough to be a decent player, but I love the idea that different pieces can move in different ways and this is what Solitaire Chess capitolizes on. It’s a logic puzzle with 60 challenge cards that dictate which of the pieces you’ll be using and where they go on the 4×4 grid. Then it’s up to you to find out how to knock off all of the pieces so only one piece remains on the board (you must knock a piece off every move you make). If you get stuck there’s a booklet that will give you hints like which piece should remain on the board and which is the first piece you should move, so it’s not horrible to people who give up easily when they’re stuck. I’ve really enjoyed playing with my copy of Solitaire Chess and I think it would have been something we would have had in our “challenge” room if it existed in the mid-80s.
And a funny video about Solitaire Chess…(not by me.)
Solitaire Chess Stats: