Super Circles

Super Circles is another easy-to-learn, quick (and I mean quick) card game from Out of the Box (in this instance, a lovely metal box) that will challenge the speed, spatial and color perception skills of 2 to 4 players, pretty much extremely.

Each of the 73 cards shows 4 concentric rings, each of a different color. The rings are numbered (to guide the mind as well as the eye), but the game has nothing to do with numbers and everything to do with your ability to perceive which of the 4 rings on any given card matches the same ring on another.

The game begins with the distribution of the cards. The first card is turned over and placed in the center of the table, face-up, starting the target pile (the cards looking everso graphically target-like). The rest of the cards are distributed evenly, face down, between the players, forming their play pile. At a signal from the dealer, players begin to draw cards from their deck, competing to be the first to find a card whose ring matches the corresponding ring on the card on the top of the target pile. At each turn, players must match a ring that is different than the last ring matched. If the first player matches, for example, the second ring of the current target card, players then compete to match the first, third or fourth ring of the new card.

The first player to run out of all but one cards wins the game.

The visual challenge, combined with the need for speed, can easily become so intense that, from time to time, your mind just refuses to keep up. This feels better than it sounds – like a shiatsu massage for your perceptual skills.

Super Circles is an elegant, challenging little card game, demanding brief spurts of very intense focus. Designed by Maureen Hiron and Ron and Caron Bodkin, with art by John Kovalic and Cathleen Quinn-Kinney, it turns out to provide a unique challenge, one that will prove as engaging to a seven-year-old (no arithmetic, no spelling, no knowledge required other than color and the numbers 1-4) as to a parent or grandparent of renown visual acuity and acknowledged color-discrimination skills.

It is difficult to avoid comparing Super Circles to 7 ate 9 – another Major Fun Award-winning card game, also from Out of the Box, also designed by Maureen Hiron. The only significant difference between the two games is the part of the brain they tease into action. 7 ate 9 plays with numbers, so it leans left on the brainscape. Super Circles plays with colors, so it feels more rightwards leaning. For this reason, Super Circles can be played successfully by slightly younger children. But by no measure can we say that one game is better or more fun than the other. Though we might not play both of them in the same game session, our family games collection would certainly be richer for having both of these games.

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