TIPOVER is only the second puzzle/game to receive a Major FUN Award. The first was also an ingenious, 3-D puzzle/game called “River Crossing.” Oddly enough, both games involve 3-D pieces, which are set up in various positions, and in both games, the goal is to figure out how to reposition the pieces so that a cute little plastic man can travel across them from start to finish. It strains the credulity to think this is mere coincidence, but both games come with a set of 40 different “challenge cards,” which give the puzzled one a range of challenges, from beginner, through intermediate, to downright genius. And, if you can accept the possibility that such serendipity could actually exist, you can even play TIPOVER online, in much the same manner that you can play River Crossing onlinearly. Much the same, but not quite as satisfactorily, alas, because, you see (well, actually, you can’t quite see), the TIPOVER pieces are far more 3-D, ranging in height from 2-4, shall we say, “crates.” Well, there is a one-crate-high piece, but that is the final destination in each challenge. The rest are positioned at their challenge-card-assigned places on the plastic grid, and don’t get moved, but are actually and eponymously, “tipped over” to a vertically or horizontally adjacent position. And therein lies the difference, the uniqueness, the intrigue of this fascinating puzzle/game, challenging the visual imagination as much as it challenges reason.

The similarities in package, design and basic concept can be more or less sufficiently explained by the observation that both puzzle/games are produced by ThinkFun. However, the ingenuity, uniqueness and sheer Major FUN Award-worthiness of both of these puzzle/games goes far beyond similarities in packaging and presentation. Each is an invitation to hours of left-brain fascination, interspersed with moments of sheer right-brained glee. Each invites solitairy contemplation and collaborative kibbitzing. Each a welcome addition to the Major FUN Hall of Fame.

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