Swish

Swish visual puzzle There’s “swish,” the sound a basketball purportedly makes when it goes through the hoop without touching the net. And there’s Swish, the puzzle, made out 60 transparent cards, that you can play by yourself, or with a friend, or with a party-full of friends. The reason why Swish, the game, is called “swish,” the basketball sound, is that to succeed you have to line up little printed balls (of one of four colors) so that they appear to go through little printed hoops (of the identical color). Each card has exactly one ball and one hoop, each ball and hoop can appear in one of twelve different positions.

So you lay out 16 of your well-made, easy-to-shuffle, transparent Swish cards. And you look for potential swishes. And you can’t touch. You have to imagine what would happen if you turned a card clockwise and then put it over another, or counter-clockwise, or if you flipped it over, or if you flipped and turned. Or if you added yet another card, having flipped and turned and stacked. Or perhaps yet another, or, should you dast, maybe four, five, six, maybe even twelve other cards – each ball of fitting precisely into a hoop of the same color. All without your actually having touched anything, and, if you’re playing with other people, all before anyone else preempts your potentially amazing, muti-point-winning swish.

Major Fun Award

And the whole deck fits in a lovely draw-string bag for convenient carrying around everywhere you happen to find a clean, preferably white surface on which to play – restaurants, kitchens, dining rooms – the world is your Swish-field.

It almost hurts the head. In a good way. Playing with others adds tension, but also in a good way. With 16 cards on the table, there usually is a multi-card Swish lurking in your Swish-field. The designers suggest that you decide ahead of time the minimum number of cards required to make a Swish. This gives even greater play to the game, allowing you to adjust the challenge to the level of expertise (or hubris) of the players, or allowing each player to determine her own Swish-count should you be playing with people of different Swish-abilities. Hence the major-ness of the fun.

Swish is recommended for players who are 8 or older. It can be played as a solitaire, or with two or more. It was designed by Zvi Shalem and Gali Shimoni and is available from ThinkFun

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