Are you fan of puzzles and brain teasers? Marbles: The Brain Store has a great collection of toys and games to test your noggin, and they sent me a few of them to try out. First up is Cobra Cubes—this set of four colored cubes looks pretty simple (my kids thought it was a toy for them) but the puzzles get quite challenging.
The included booklet has 40 puzzles in four difficulty levels. Each puzzle shows you which of the cubes you’ll use and the configuration of the cubes. Level A (shown to the right) is about matching the snake shown in the picture—not much of a puzzle, but suitable for younger kids. Level B gives you the cubes and the colors but doesn’t picture the snake itself—also, there is one face which isn’t included, but all the other visible faces must form part of the snake. Level C uses ALL of the faces visible (from one point of view), and throws in an extra twist by not showing you the exact order of the cubes. That is, there’s a diagram of the configuration and a list of the colors, but you don’t know which cube goes where—only a few of them are shown. Level D is extremely challenging: the snake has to cover all of the visible faces all the way around the configuration—the only faces that aren’t included are the ones face down on the table or touching another cube face. And in this one, they don’t give you any hints as to which color cube goes where.
Since the cubes have different configurations of heads, tails and body segments, it really gets you thinking about making all the connections, and it requires a combination of 3D and 2D thinking. After you’re done with the 40 puzzles, you can also try the bonus super-puzzle: put all four cubes together in a square, and make a snake that goes over all the visible faces if the square were floating in mid-air.
The Cobra Cubes are $15.99 and would make a fun gift for a puzzle lover. It’s recommended for ages six and up, though to be sure a six-year-old would need a bit of help on the harder puzzles.
Wired: Chunky, sturdy plastic cubes are fun to handle; 40 puzzles to challenge your brain; a fun way to play with 3D logic.
Tired: It would have been nice to have actual puzzle cards instead of the listing in the booklet; Level A shouldn’t really count toward the 40 puzzles.
My review sample of Cobra Cubes was provided by Marbles: The Brain Store, which has toys, puzzles and more, organized by the type of thinking and logic they require.