Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Back 2 Back from SmartGames

Back 2 Back

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Back 2 Back, a new(ish) puzzle game from SmartGames.

This game comes with a a storage box which doubles as the playing board, 11 colorful game pieces, and an instructions/challenge booklet.

Everything fits in the storage box quite nicely, so you never have to worry about losing pieces or instructions!

Rules for play are quite simple:
1)  Set the white playing board vertically into the clear bottom.  (This looks kind of like Connect Four!)
2)  Pick a challenge and place the pieces as shown.
3)  Find pieces to fill the empty spaces on the board.  You can place them from the front or the back of the board.  You must use all the pieces and all holes must be filled in...from both sides!

Here you can see the game board in place.  You can use the clear plastic bottom to store pieces while you work.

Challenge #2 is almost ready to start.  I just need to finish placing the purple and blue pieces.

Let's take a closer look at the back side of this game board.  You can see that the pieces have some sections that protrude through the game board, and other sections that don't.  You need to cover the half sections with half sections from other playing pieces.

The medium blue "L" shape has two half sections that can fit around this orange piece.

Turn the game board back around, and you can see the protruding sections of the medium blue piece!

Continue placing pieces, both from the front and the back, until the entire grid is filled!  You can check your solutions in the back of the challenge booklet.

There are 60 challenges to play, from starter to wizard.  The game pieces are sturdy and the game board is slightly flexible, which makes popping the pieces in and out a little easier.  My thumbs did get a bit sore after a while!

I have really enjoyed this grid-filling game.  I love that we must attack this from both the back and the front!  This adds a unique twist to this style of puzzle. 

This puzzle is recommended for ages 7 and up.  I'd think that most younger kids could complete the starter and junior levels without too much difficulty.  And, as always, this would be a great game for parents to work on with their kids.

My only complaint:  The name of the game doesn't appear on any of its components!  It isn't even on the cover of the instruction book, so once you throw away the box, you just have to remember "Back 2 Back" is the name.  And I can't imagine anyone keeping the box when this has such a lovely way to store itself.  Anyway, if you search the game book, you can find the name in the copyright information.  Not a problem for game play, just irksome when you're trying to remember the name!

Overall, I give this game 5 out of 5 stars!

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Perplexing Puzzles - 10/15/14

Spider Maze

Halloween is right around the corner!  Enjoy this little maze with your young ones!

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Some on Saturday

1)  Last weekend my folks came for a visit.  My mom's birthday is in 2 days, so we did some celebrating.  We took her to the Augusta Aquarium to see the whale sharks, which was totally spectacular!  We also hit the movies, ate at the Genghis Grill, and played a bunch of games.  I just found a copy of Dutch Blitz at B&N.  We used to play this when I was in high school, so it brought back fond memories.  Jack and Ginny really got into it too, especially Ginny who loves to slap cards around faster than anyone else!

2)  We watched an amazing video of a lady twisting bread into all kinds of shapes, so we gave that a try with Gram's homemade bread dough.  Gram even made some sweet rolls for us!

3)  Our PlanetBox lunchboxes came this week!  This was our first lunch in them.  You really can't eat on the couch without a cat coming to sit on your lap!  Luckily, the PlanetBox was easy for Ginny to hold while balancing a cat on her lap!

4)  Yesterday we played some family games together.  Ginny absolutely crushed us at can see her mega pile of sets in the tops picture.  We also played some Kill Doctor Lucky with Skylanders characters.  Kill Doctor Lucky is from Cheapass Games.  They come without dice or markers figuring you can dig those up around your house, and so the games are cheaper.  And they're pretty fun too!  You can actually download a free printable version of Kill Doctor Lucky here.  Looks like they have a second game board that we have never used before...printing now...  ;-)  We also played some Settlers and Carcassonne.

5)  Today we made our second attempt at Geocaching.  We brought JP and his GPS watch with us this time to see if that would improved our odds of making a find.  And it did!  We actually found 2 caches!

These are the caches we found.  Ginny really enjoyed this adventure, but Jack wasn't interested at all.  He's really becoming more and more of a home-body.  Ah well.  JP's watch turned out not to be any better than my phone, but his brave hands were a big help!  None of the rest of us were interested in sticking our hands into dark, creepy holes and cracks, but he was!  And that's how we found the first cache!  The second one was camouflaged but lying on the ground, so I was able to find that one.  Ginny and I are ready for another adventure!

We also found some really pretty flowers, turtles, and berries during our hunt!

Hope you all are having a fun week!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Perplexing Puzzles 10/8/14

Grasshopper Life Cycle

Today's free puzzle is all about the grasshopper life cycle!  Just click on the picture above to download the puzzle from Google Drive. 

If you like these kind of puzzles you can find more in my TpT store!

Label It! Life Cycles

This pack has been newly updated with versions of each puzzle that include addition and subtraction practice!

Label It! Parts of Things

And to go along with the Life Cycles, I also have Parts of Things puzzles.  These puzzles help students identify parts of the animals and plants they learned about in the Life Cycles pack. 


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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ozuzo from Baffledazzle

A package of happiness arrived in the mail last contained 2 puzzles from Baffledazzle!


We opened Ozuzo and got started solving!  (I also got Cirkusu, but that's for later!)

My mom and dad were visiting this past week, so I had three helpers...Jack, Ginny and Grandma!  And I needed everyone!  Do you see those teeny-tiny pieces?  There are 15 animal puzzles to solve in this set and ALL the pieces come in one big baggy!  (We got the extra piggy puzzle because we were Kickstarter backers!)

We dumped everything out on a soft blanket so that the tiny pieces wouldn't roll of the counter.  This was somewhat helpful.

Jack kept accidentally lifting the cheetah out of place and loosing all the pieces he had already placed inside!  After the 3rd or 4th time, he gave up and went for a shower.  Ginny managed to get the cheetah finished after that.  But can you see all the tiny pieces inside the cheetah!??  I'd get annoyed having to do it again too!  So we decided that the puzzle pieces should be on a non-skid surface, but the animals should rest on a nice flat surface.

Baffledazzle puzzles are not just jigsaw puzzles.  After you get all the pieces put together, then you have to figure out what they are!  Not all the animals were obvious.  We really thought the one tiny guy was a mask, but he's not!  I'll leave that a mystery, since this is part of the fun of solving these puzzles!  We did manage to figure most of them out, but 2 of them were a real challenge.

Baffledazzle puzzles are on the pricey side, but they are worth every penny!  These are such lovely, well-made puzzles.  They would make a really unique gift for the puzzler on your Christmas shopping list!

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