ToysBulletin.com reviews a most unique game experience from BRIGHT of Sweden.
When a game is approved to enter the Mensa Mind Games competition, it is time to stand up and take notice. “Geometry Strategy” did just that, and it is well worth taking a look at. The game will actually make players do a double take when they first see the playing pieces spread around the board. This is because the playing pieces are made up of three dimensional geometric shapes.
The game contents include 4 sets of playing pieces (10 in each of 4 different colors), 15 Red Zone cards, 4 Challenge Ranking lists and 1 game board measuring approximately 19″ x 19″. The playing pieces include a sphere, helix, hexahedron, cylinder, pyramid, rectangular prism, prism, dodecahedron, cone and tetrahedron. After reading that list, players may fear that everything they learned back in high school geometry has come back to haunt them. But that is not the case, and there is no need to worry, as no knowledge of geometry is necessary to play the game.
The game can be played by 2-4 players, ages 12 years old and up, and each is given 1 set of 10 playing pieces and 1 Challenge Ranking list. The game board is divided into a 14 x 14 grid which totals 196 squares. There are 4 starting zones marked on the board, one for each player, each covering ¼ of the game board. If only 2 players are playing the game, only 2 of the starting zones are used, but the entire board is fair game once play begins. Players take their playing pieces and position them on individual squares wherever they want within their starting zone, making sure that the sphere and helix are positioned somewhere along the base line of squares in their starting zone. In the very middle of the game board there is a 4 square Red Zone, with a black bulls-eye in the center. The object of the game is to be the first player to move their sphere from the baseline square to the bulls-eye. However, players are immediately eliminated from the game if their sphere is challenged (defeated) along the way.
Each of the playing pieces, with the exception of the sphere and helix, can move 1 or 2 spaces on a turn, either diagonally or orthogonally. The sphere and helix can only move 1 space per turn. The Red Zone cards are shuffled before the start of the game and the top card is turned over revealing a condition for the start of the game. The conditions can be either “Largest Area,” “Most Volume,” “Most Flat Surfaces,” “Upside Down” or “Your Choice.” The first three conditions refer to the size and shape of the geometric playing pieces. Players refer to their Challenge Ranking list and eight of the playing pieces are ranked from 1 to 8 (high to low) based on the Red Zone card. The sphere and helix are never ranked. For example, if the Red Zone card was “Most Volume,” the Hexahedron (basically a cube), is ranked 1, the cone is ranked 4 and the cylinder is ranked 8. But if the Red Zone card was “Largest Area,” the cone moves up to 1, the hexahedron drops to 3 and the cylinder goes up to 2. The “Upside Down” condition reverses the order shown on the Challenge Ranking list, while the “Your Choice” condition allows the player to change the condition to any one he chooses.
To begin play, players alternate turns moving one of their pieces in any direction across the game board. Whenever a playing piece gets within reach of another player’s piece (1 or 2 squares away in any direction) a challenge can be issued. The opposing player (on his next turn) can either move his piece out of range, maybe have the Red Zone conditions changed or possibly be challenged by another player. If the challenge remains, the player with highest ranking on the Challenge Ranking list (using the current Red Zone conditions) wins, the losing piece is removed from the game. To change the Red Zone conditions, a player must move a piece into the Red Zone, which triggers a new Red Zone card, and a new condition, which will change the rankings all across the board. The helix is an important and powerful playing piece, and it can never lose a challenge no matter what the conditions shown on the Red Zone card. But, remember it is slow, limited to only 1 movement space per turn. The sphere, which must be protected so it can get to the bulls-eye and win the game, can never win a challenge, and it also moves slowly, at only 1 space per turn. If the sphere is successfully challenged, he automatically loses, and as mentioned earlier, both the sphere and the player are eliminated from the game. The game continues until only 1 player remains or a player’s sphere reaches the bulls-eye.
That provides the basic rules to the game, and a good overview of the game play. We have to tell you that this was a fun strategic game, forcing players to think ahead several moves or suddenly find themselves trapped and in trouble. Players must protect their sphere, plus keep a few other playing pieces near the Red Zone, allowing them to quickly change Red Zone conditions, which will hopefully favor the locations of their remaining playing pieces. “Geometry Challenge” proved to be quite a challenge indeed, but we did generally complete a game in around 30 minutes. The game retails for $29.99 and will be available in US retail outlets very soon. Be sure to check the Geometry Challenge website for the latest information.