Alex Yarde & Son bring you a first look at the new Kosmos spherical, stackable, puzzle game DIMENSION.
Board games are beneficial in many ways. They build social skills, stimulate logical and strategic thinking, promote visual-spatial and math skills, cultivate physical coordination and encourage family time most importantly. Kosmos has a curated line of high quality board games that I will review and share as they are released. If DIMENSION is any indication of what’s to come, I’m in Geek heaven!
DIMENSION is a fast-paced, innovative puzzle game that takes place in three dimensions with 60 colorful spheres. All of the players play at the same time. Everybody tries to position the spheres on their trays to earn as many points as possible. The task cards indicate how the spheres must be placed to earn points: for example, exactly two orange spheres must be on the tray, black and blue must touch each other, and blue must not touch white. Complete these tasks while racing the timer. You get a point for each sphere you use and a bonus token for using all five colors, but you lose two points for each task card you don’t follow correctly.
Opening the box and reading the directions made Dimensions a little daunting at first. But cleverly, each base comes with an attached “cheat sheet” card so at a glance you can interpret the pictographs on the deck of task cards. It immediately reminded me of the Three Dimensional Chess familiar to fans of Star Trek: The Original Series. The games designer Lauge Lachau is an architect and it shows. It’s an elegantly designed board and set up was a breeze; once you punch out your tokens and assemble your building base you are ready to rock and roll. My son and I played each other but one to four players can play DIMENSIONS. For a single player you can play against your personal best score & time (which after my shellacking I realized I needed the practice), the rounds are fast paced and six rounds (a complete game) should take no more than 30 minutes. Once my son and I got the hang of the mechanics the rounds were brisk and cutthroat. It’s helpful to assign a “banker” to exchange tokens when you run out (the ones churned frequently) and take care of the bases playing on an even surface is best.
DIMENSIONS is listed for eight and up but my precocious seven year old is a fan of board games and puzzles so he took to it like a duck to water. It’s worth taking your time and going through dry runs along with the instructions as this game is best learned hands-on. Certain strategies will become apparent for big scores. My son ALWAYS went for the bonus for using all five colors which was wise, because in a numerical tie he or she with the most bonus tiles wins! 11 spheres can be stacked at one time and being mindful of the limits set by your task cards should determine placement.
After my son (our nickname for him is “Bugs”, as in the Bunny) and I played DIMENSION for the first time (he wiped the floor with me) I interviewed him afterward:
Me: “Thanks for doing this Bugs.”
Bugs: “You’re welcome Daddy. Are you going to write an article about this game?”
Me: “Yes, but your interview is the most important part of the review. Ready?”
Me: “What was your first impression of Dimensions?”
Bugs: “I think it’s [Dimensions] is a really cool and different game, you get to build with colorful balls. Usually you just go around the board with pieces in other games but this is more exciting because you build different levels!”
Me: “The game is for kids 8 & up. Was it hard to learn the rules?”
Bugs: “It was hard at first but once you practice and you follow what the [task] cards say it gets easier. I had so much fun playing it! It’s almost like a video game but in real life! I beat you the first time we played Daddy! Are you going to tell everybody I beat you?”
Me: [laughing] “Yes Bugs.. I’m very proud of you. You really got the hang of it..What’s the most important thing you had to remember while playing Dimension?”
Bugs: “You have to be calm and use your brain because the [task] cards might say two opposite things like two green balls have to touch and the next card may say two green balls can’t touch so you have strategy and think to get the most points before the time runs out. If you just rush you won’t get so many points and you don’t get bonus if you don’t use all the colors.”
Me: “What kinds of skills do you think kids develop playing Dimensions?”
Bugs: “Math! Lots of math! You keep track of your points with the number tokens. Pokemon uses tokens for damage so I’m used to it. I like to make change like trading ten one point tokens for a ten point token. There’s a lot of math but fun math like counting money and making change we are doing that in my class. There’s reading too because you have to read and follow the directions and use your memory to remember how to play!”
Me: “That’s a very thoughtful answer Bugs! Any other skills you can think of?”
Bugs: “OOOh! How to make decisions because you have lots of different ways to stack the balls. Sometimes they [different colors] can’t touch and you only have like a minute on the timer.”
Me: “Who do you think would like this game?”
Bugs: “EVERYBODY! Kids, grownups everyone! My sister is littler then me but we could be a team and I can teach her so she can play by herself. I think this is a good game for families to play together. It’s fun and it makes you smarter I think!”
Me: “Thanks Bugs! This was great.”
Bugs: [beaming smile] “You’re welcome Daddy!”
DIMENSION is the first KOSMOS game I’ve reviewed and the bottom line is it’s a keeper at our house on family game nights and I think quality board game fans will find it addicting, challenging and loads of fun!
DIMENSION is available now in the US through THAMES & KOSMOS and retails for $49.95