New From ThinkFun: Chess, Knots, and Patterns

I’ve been getting so many new games over the past couple of weeks that my crack play-testing team can’t keep up with them all. I’ll start with quick impressions today and then write  longer reviews as I put in some real play time.

First up are three fine products from my friends at ThinkFun, the people who made Rush Hour and all its multiple sequels and variations.

Solitaire Chess
This is a great little combination teaching tool and puzzler. It comes with 2 pawns, 2 bishops, 2 rooks, 2 knights, 1 king, and 1 queen, all in blue plastic. There are 60 puzzles on double-sided cards, each depicting a 4×4 chess board and the starting positions of certain pieces. The goal is to capture all the pieces so that only only 1 remains. I’ve already spent a bit of time with this, and I’m loving it. The early puzzles are pretty easy, but there are some real challenges here.

I haven’t had a chance to test this one yet, but it looks promising. It’s a game for 2-4 players in which you place tiles to complete shapes for points. Using four different Trango tiles, each player attempts to create a particular shape, while other either work on their own shapes or try to block.

Knot So Fast
This one is going to be a big hit at our Scout meetings. Seriously, if ThinkFun isn’t heavily marketing this to the Boy Scouts of America, then they’re missing a golden opportunity. The game comes with ropes, a scoring device, a timer, and 40 different knot-tying challenging. The game is a race to see who’s the fastest at tying the knot shown on the card.