A couple years ago, we got a prototype of a board game that used lasers and mirrors to create a form of optical-bench chess, where you rotate and move the mirrors to bounce the laser across the board to strike your opponent’s pieces. Although the kids were a bit too young for it at the time, they got the idea of angles of incidence very quickly and when it eventually became a commercial product called Khet: The Laser Game (right), it had a regular place in our games rotation.
Last week my kids were given new $25 game that takes the same idea and adds a whole new dimension to it. It’s called Laser Battle (left), and it adds three interesting elements to the already interesting optics-bench concept of the original. The first is that instead of 4 possible positions, each mirror can rotate to 16 positions, which adds a huge number of possible angles and surprise attacks to the mix. The second improvement is that the target is now a "tower" that flashes and makes cool exploding sounds when the laser strikes it. And the third is that the lasers themselves are now pieces, not just embedded in the game board. So they can be rotated, too.
The result is a really fun excercise in geometry and strategy, with all the mental angle-calculating of pool without the uncertainty of the cue strike. Plus you can pick up the laser and tower pieces and run around the house playing laser tag!