Yes, another ThinkFun game. You all know that I am a fan.
This one the first single-player ThinkFun game that I’d bought. I thought Josh might be ready for some “solitaire” type game.
Clever Castle is essentially a pattern matching game. It comes with --
- 1 playing board
- 9 tiles (3 of each: Knight, Princess, Dragon in red, yellow, and blue)
- 40 Mind Challenge cards in a spiral notebook format, organized into sections according to difficulty (10 each of Easy, Medium, Hard, and Super Hard)
- 1 Welcome Mat to help with organizing the tiles
- 1 Parent’s Guide
- 1 Storage Bag
How to play --
It’s fairly simple. The whole objective is to follow the “clues” on the Mind Challenge cards and correctly arrange the tiles in the nine windows on the castle (the game board).
First, you select a Challenge Card and then based on the “clues” there, start filling in the windows of the castle with the correct tiles. Once the windows are all filled up, flip the card over to check if the pattern on your board matches the one on the “answer” card.
The Easy cards are, well, easy. Zoë –who isn’t quite 3 yet, –is able to work her way up to #8 with minimal supervision. Josh quickly whizzed through the cards up to #24 before he decided to stop.
I was expecting that he would probably do maybe 10-15 games, but he was really enjoying himself. I asked him if he likes it. He said, “I don’t like it. I love it! Mommy, it’s even better than playing on the computer or watching TV.” Now that’s saying a LOT.
The clues get trickier and more challenging as one progresses along. Some clues show all the windows and some show only a partial view of the windows, so you’ll have to visualize the other windows on the board to ascertain the right place to put your tiles. Clever Castle helps children learn to problem-solve. Kinda reminds me of the abstract reasoning part of IQ tests.
It says on the box that it’s for ages 5-7, but I daresay you can start at 3. Try to see if your child can follow the clues. When it gets a bit too challenging, you can always get him to simply try copying the pattern seen on the Answer cards.
I love that Clever Castle is simple enough a concept for a child to follow without much supervision from adults. I got at least half and hour of quiet time, allowing me to read my book while Josh worked through the challenge cards. He was so excited each time he completed a pattern and learned that he got it correctly when he checked the Answer page. One other thing I love is that it has a bag for easy storage of the game. No need to keep the box!
Clever Castle is available in Hong Kong in Sogo for HK$159.90. Elsewhere, you can order it from Amazon.com for about US$14.