Disclaimer: We received this game for free from Learning Resources so we could try it out. The thoughts and opinions below are my own.
Meet Mental Blox, the new 3-D puzzle game from Learning Resources. It’s another STEM toy full of lessons in math, construction, and engineering, and we have joyfully been playing it completely wrong and learning a ton as we go.
Two things, first. One: my kids love this game and have killed a few hours playing with the pieces. Two: we have not successfully played this game according to the game instructions and I don’t see us successfully playing the game that way any time soon. So if you’re looking for the post that tells you how exactly to play this game…nope. Not here.
The basic idea is that there are geometrical solids in different colors and patterns and you build structures with them based on pictures that come on little cards. If you’d like to see all the game pieces, Eva did an unboxing where she checked it out. She also confidently tells you exactly how to play, which is not correct but you can see her having fun nonetheless:
The game is technically played with variations of teams trying to outbuild each other while people describe the structure or try to remember what the cards looked like, but that would mean that we would have to play competitively and that’s generally not a great idea in our house. Our kids are just at that age where the idea that someone is winning and someone is losing means someone is crying before long so we do a lot of cooperative play, as in us vs. the game instead of us vs. us.
Our way of playing has been really fun, though. Fun enough that I kind of think you should just play our way, but maybe that’s just me. The kids started by making all of the structures on the cards, moved on to reading the prompts on the cards (things like “add another shape in a different color”) and then turned it into a role playing game where they hide the shapes and one person “excavates” them and takes them to the builder who follows the blueprint to create the structure. The structures have also turned into buildings for driving cars around and roads/mountains for the cars to drive over and finally they just started making their own structures and using paper/crayons to draw their own cards.
Like I said, all of that is not how you officially play the game but the pieces are fun and open-ended enough that the imagination play seems to be unlimited. Extra perk: because the game is team-based there are two of each geometrical solid so when they do build with them I can quickly solve any give-me-that arguments by dividing the set neatly in half and forcing them to trade peaceably if they need the others’ pieces. It also means I have two separate sets for any homeschool lessons we can incorporate these into.