As Christmas draws nearer, my mailbox, like most everyone’s, is stuffed with catalogs. Most of them go straight to the trash but today’s pleasant surprise was MindWare. I haven’t ordered from them for several years but they still send me a catalog every year about this time.
I always enjoy browsing through their catalog because it’s so full of a variety of books, puzzles, games (yep, I used the “g” word), and toys that you won’t find anywhere else and they all challenge your mind in some way. I’d even say “educational” but that’s such a scary word!
My first surprise came when I opened the cover to find Qwirkle on page 3. What a wonderful choice! And for a limited time, it comes with an exclusive tote bag. 🙂 I smile, but I’m not kidding. If it gets people to give it a try this Christmas, it’s a good idea.
Moving on past the books of logic puzzles, trivia facts, number puzzles and Mastermind-type puzzles, I found wooden games: Quoridor, Gobblet, Batik, and a new one called Chaos. This may have been where I got my copy of Quarto years ago but it isn’t in this year’s line-up.
I passed on through the ant farm, the miniature car powered by hydrogen fuel, the Rubik’s set of brain-twisting puzzles including a 5 x 5 cube, a robotic hornet (“learn why engineers are copying how insects move, fly, grip and see in order to design better robots”), wooden remove-the-brass-ring puzzles (geez, I hate those things!) and finally find a second big surprise: Reiner Knizia’s Penguin from Fantasy Flight! Now I can’t say if this is a good choice or not since I haven’t played it but it was definitely a nice surprise.
So as not to bore you all too much, I’ll just list a few other games that may sound familiar. Tantrix, Apples to Apples, Spy Alley, Ringgz (from the creator of Gobblet), Blokus, and the new version of TaYu (big surprise number 3). There were also a couple that I haven’t heard of but looked interesting: Trapture, Exago and TetraTrax.
I highly recommend checking out their online store if you have children to buy for or you know anyone else who’s interested in brain teasing puzzle books like Soduko, or physical puzzles like Rush Hour or Subtrax; who would like to know more about the natural world around them or enjoy building a 3 foot tall Eiffel Tower out of interlocking basswood. There’s something there for just about any child (even you really big children), no matter what they’re interested in.