We thank Gigamic for their donation to EVELINA children’s hospital!

What a weird and wild world we are living in today. It could surprise people what brings enjoyment to the masses. This is often forgotten in the world of so many big brands and so very few new emerges. You cant often guess what will be popular. For instance it is obvious now why the story of a boy Wizard taking on an evil nose less man in Harry Potter, would be popular. However, who the heck in their right mind would have read, watched, listened etc? The money people would be worried. Then say people running round a board, pinching money from each other, with the end goal being avarice over co operation ala Monopoly. Who would expect to play that or sit with their family and challenge? Well now we have 12 Coloured blocks. A wooden board. A series of tasks and a number of spaces to contend with. A solo game and a 2 player game also to mix things up. Sounds a bizarre set up indeed but it could actually be the definitive game for the year. Maybe.


Inside the heavy box is an instruction booklet, a wooden board that has a wooden space splitter or as we will call it from now, a wooden barrier. This slots into top and bottom of the board into  numbers from 3 to 12. So its 5 block by X rectangle. (Where X = the number of wood blocks in your set.) Then you get the TETRIS coloured blocks. 12 in all. That is it. Cant extend this too much more…


This is spectacularly easy indeed. Take the manual from the box (which you will use readily, so keep it close). Remove the board out of the box with the blocks sitting on it and then you are off. When you open the manual, it outlines that you should start games by removing all of the coloured blocks from its surface. Start with the first Challenge. This is set up with a list of blocks that you will require. Now you have the PENTA set (these are different but stay the same for that challenge). Listed along from this are other blocks to be removed and that number relates to the block numbers where to put the wooden barrier. You now have to try and insert the blocks into the space left from the left hand side to the wooden barrier. Once you complete this, work your way through the sets. In a two player version (which actually is not a part of this set) This barrier splits the game in two and players compete to connect the blocks on either side first.


Well I liked the contents. All are very high quality and the textures suit both children, adults, gamers and grand parents. I really liked the challenge presented to the player. The 500 or so challenges, should I say that is. They are scaled and so the player is taxed in different ways. You feel the complexity rise but not in an uneven way. Finally I liked the simplicity of the manual. Produced with a lovely laminated finish, it is straight to the point.


This takes a bit of chewing over. KATAMINO delights in making you work for its completion but it will labour sometimes. Those smaller members of families might become frustrated (especially since no solutions are forth coming in the manual). I was rather annoyed by the frankly silly option of not giving the player a way to find out if they are right or not (sometimes, yes, two solutions are available).


Invariably you will find games in your life that are more than just a game. More than just a challenge. More than just a set of tasks to be completed and to be resolved. This is not KATAMINO. What you have here is a dedicated set of challenges that will give you sleepless nights but will be obtainable and actionable. You might not be thrilled by it at the start but it will get under the skin and make for a mentally varied game for you but not for many (you could invite a second to help).


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