I asked Beth, our resident puzzle-person, to take a first look at River Crossing. She spent two weeks with it, and came back with the following report:
1) It’s fun to set up. For kids, that might be half the fun – it kinda reminded me of legos. 🙂
2) The upper levels challenged me enough to keep me going for quite a while – and I’m definitely quicker than most with these things, so I think it will keep most folks happily occupied for hours.
3) For each level, there’s usually only one brain-bending move you have to twist your mind around to get the pieces to fall into place, so it’s not *frustratingly* difficult.
4) It also passed the lounge test – easily playable while almost completely supine.
Upon personal inspection, I find myself seconding, and maybe even thirding her endorsement. The puzzle itself reminds me of one of those survival exercises such as those developed by Project Adventure. And the fantasy adds greatly to its appeal.
River Crossing is as well-packaged as it is conceived. The puzzle cards are packaged in their own storage box. The puzzle base and pieces fit snugly into the package. A carrying bag (waterproof, of course) helps make the whole thing satisfyingly portable. The game is built on a plastic pegboard grid. Puzzle cards (40 of them) fit on top of the grid. Plastic pegs are placed in the corresponding holes and 5 magnetic planks placed between the pegs according to the directions on the puzzle card. Put the magnetic man on the middle of the starting plank, and then lift and move the planks, one at a time, to adjacent pegs, to help him cross the river.
All of which should make it obvious why River Crossing is the first puzzle to receive the Major FUN Award.