You get a wooden tray with 16 identical wooden cubes. One face of the cube is light, the opposite, dark. Another face shows a light circle on a dark background, the opposite, the opposite (a dark circle on a light background). The other two faces are half-and-half, diagonally divided. And with 16 of them, you can make at least 120 different, and often beautiful patterns. You can tell that, because there are 120 pattern cards, each different, each composed out of the simple shapes on the cubes.

Mindware’s Q-bitz is a game of visual perception for 2-4 players. A pattern card is revealed, and players race to be the first to echo the pattern on their own board. That’s one way to play. The designers suggest that you play in three rounds (or not), each round a variation. The second round, you have to roll the dice, use what you can, then roll the remainder, then use what you can, then continue rolling, using what you can, until you’ve made the pattern, and, hopefully, are the first to have done so, correctly. Finally, the third round: After the pattern card is revealed, and everyone has an agreed-on time to look at it, it’s turned over. Face-down. And then everyone tries to replicate the pattern, from memory!

Q-Bitz turns out to be a remarkably challenging game, no matter how you play it. I, in the fullness of my 68-year-old maturity was able to win the first card. We tried the second with the rolling variation, but quickly decided to continue the way we played the first round. It was difficult enough. I won the second card. Then we played the third round – the one where you were supposed to be able to remember the pattern. Looked easy until we tried it. So we tried it again. And then continued the way we started. And I los the next four. It was suggested we stop after that. I think out of compassion.

We loved how challenging the game turned out to be – how simple it was, and yet how deeply it engaged our perceptual skills. It was as fun losing as it was winning. We didn’t play long. Maybe 20 minutes. But that was about all we could ask from our perceptual skills. At least for this time.

Easy to learn, well-made, cleverly designed, for 2-4 players, 8 and up. Major FUN.

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