- Designers: David Yakos, Wei-Hwa Huang, Tyler Somer
- Ages: 8 and Up
- Times Played: > 5
- Review By Eric Edens (Nerd E)
Circuit Maze from ThinkFun is a puzzle game using real electrical currents and circuit logic. In a time when science careers are on the rise, the need for skilled engineers, and the desire for more science knowledge in the new generation is high, ThinkFun is on a mission to be a source for that knowledge growth. The gamification of learning in apps and in classrooms leads to a new crop of board games as well. Circuit Maze is one of these games but is it fun and can it teach?
How does it play?
Circuit Maze is a purely single player game in which you will place pieces in a grid board. The crux of the game is that these pieces include a circuit battery pack and close circuit piece. By adding pieces in the grid in areas between these two points you can crest various circuits. The goal is to match the requirements of the puzzle card using the same pieces and locations as specified on the card. In other words, the puzzle may be to use a specific 6 pieces and the end completion must have a green light lit up and the red light not lit up. All pieces must be integrated and touching so you can’t just toss the red piece off in the corner. There isn’t a time limit or limit to the amount of attempts but these of course can be house ruled to create a leaderboard style element for multiple players. The challenge cards range from beginner to expert in many different levels of difficulty in between and total 60 cards. Of course the solution is always on the back of the card should you get stuck but once you see it you really have spoiled that puzzle for the time being. With that being the case there isn’t a hint system or anything which in the harder puzzles may lead to frustration and quitting the puzzle altogether. The instruction book delves into the science of electrical currents and really helps to lead you along in the logic of what may work in each puzzle but can at times read like a school textbook rather than a game.
I have to say I actually did learn a little bit while playing. There were circuit logic puzzles in which I got stuck, had to read the rule book to see how that might work, and even feel smart when I solved them. For a child interested in science this is a great game. Learning and fun combine for a great way to understand electrical currents but remember the puzzles aren’t unlimited. There are some component issues when you try to place or remove pieces they might pop out too easily or otherwise be nearly impossible to pry out. A small child might need an adult to help as well as an adult to supervise the first few plays in order to prevent any potential mildly dangerous issues like a short circuit. It also requires 3 AAA batteries which are not included and a small screwdriver for their installation which isn’t referred to on the box. But otherwise I like the component quality. I also had fun. And really for an educational game, if I can have even the slightest fun I see it as a success and it was fun. If you want to see more on this game, find my on YouTube on my channel NerdEVideos.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
- I love it!
- I like it. Eric Edens
- Not for me…