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Game review: Braintopia is an exciting, fast-paced competition of the mind
No Caption - photo by Ryan Morgenegg
When it comes to party games, there are so many with similar play mechanisms, it's hard to know which games are worth the time. Braintopia by Asmodee Games is something different, refreshing and fun. Sharpen the brain cells and read on.

Up to six players compete in eight different challenges where speed is of the essence. Being quick to comprehend what is taking place on the table is what Braintopia is all about. Those who don't think quickly on their feet might want to play Go Fish! with grandma.

A deck of cards featuring a random assortment of the eight challenges is placed face down on the table. The game begins and the first card is flipped up on the table. The first to complete the challenge wins and he or she collects the card. Cards can be converted into brain pieces and the first to collect four brain pieces wins. If the player fails a challenge, he or she must sit out the next round. Here's a brief description of the eight challenges:

The memory challenge features five random objects featured on the card. The first player to cover the card with his or her hand gets to attempt to complete it. It's simple, the player must name the five objects from memory that are on the card.

The coordination challenge involves using hands to touch the face. The card depicts a person with a red or blue number from one to five on different parts of the face. The first player to use the proper digits of his or her fingers by touching the right places of the face wins. For example, the card is flipped and indicates a red five (right hand pinkie finger) on the nose and a blue one (left hand thumb) on the left ear. The first person to accomplish this gets the card.

Every game needs a maze challenge and this card shows a maze with four starting points that are each assigned a letter. Only one point leads correctly out of the maze so players frantically trace a path in their minds. When a player thinks he or she has it, he or she covers the card and indicates the letter. The card is checked and if the player was correct, he or she gets the challenge card.

The duplicates challenge is the most difficult to master. The card is flipped over and several different colored shapes of animals are depicted. However one of the shapes has a match but not in the same color. The mind plays tricks because it is looking for an exact match in both shape and color. Sometimes players may be convinced that there is not a match but there always is.

For the reasoning challenges, players will see a card on the table depicting a puzzle with a missing piece. Three options showing a missing piece to complete the puzzle are shown but only one is correct. The first player to cover the card with his or her hand and call out the correct letter of the missing piece collects the card.

The duplicate challenge deals with frequency. Several shapes are depicted on the card and most of them have several duplicates. The key is to identify which shape has the most duplicates. The player to cover the card with his or hand and call out the correct shape, gets the card and wins the challenge.

For the color challenge, players will need to trick their own brains to think clearly. A card with several words written on it in several different colors is played on the table. The written words are all colors but only one color word is actually the color it says it is. For example, the card shows the word white but it is pink in color and the word orange is written out but it is green in color. However, the word blue is actually the color blue and the first to cover the card and call out this correct word wins the challenge.

By far the most different and interesting challenge is the tactile challenge. When this card comes up, the player who most recently completed a challenge gets to attempt this challenge alone. On the bottom side of the card is a specially printed image that a player must blindly feel and then guess what it is. At the beginning of the game, players get to look at and feel the tactile cards to become familiar with them. There is a basketball, a strawberry, a piece of wood, a mossy stone, a rope and many more. The crazy thing is, the cards truly feel like the real object. If the current player can guess the object correctly, he or she collects the card.

Braintopia is different from the hundreds of Apples to Apples clones on the party game market. It moves fast and those who don't think quickly might feel at a disadvantage. The tactile challenges are a blast and the 3D printing is amazing. For $15 this game is a slam dunk. Grab a copy and find out more at the Asmodee Games website.
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