Table for Two (Kids): Puzzle Battle

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Puzzle Battle box

Table for Two is a series focusing two-player games. Today’s topic is Puzzle Battle, a puzzle-based game for kids from Blue Orange Games.

At a glance: Puzzle Battle is for 2 players, ages 6 and up, takes about 15 minutes to play, and retails for $14.99. There are three sets, Dragon & Princess, Pirate, and Jungle. I should note that since it’s skill-based, older players or kids who are good at puzzles will certainly have an advantage, so although you can play against your kids, it’s best to match up two players of similar skill level.

Puzzle Battle components
Two puzzles, plus two 2-piece boards that show the completed pictures. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Components:

  • 2 30-piece puzzles
  • 2 picture mats

The puzzles are fairly simple, 5 x 6 pieces. The two puzzles are nearly identical, but reversed from each other and with a few color differences. I was sent the Pirate set, but there are other puzzle images available as well.

Everything comes in a crown-shaped tin–it’s nice and sturdy but the odd shape makes it harder to stack on the shelf with other games.

Puzzle Battle setup
All the pieces are mixed together in the tin. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

How to Play

It’s pretty simple, really: mix all the pieces together in the tin, and assign one of the puzzles to each player. The players simultaneously start grabbing pieces from the tin and assembling their puzzles–first one to complete the puzzle wins.

There are a few other rules: you can’t hide pieces in your hand, you may only have 5 loose pieces in front of you at a time, and you may only take pieces from your opponent if they fit your puzzle immediately.

You could also play cooperatively, with both players working to finish both puzzles as quickly as possible–but that’s closer to what assembling any puzzle is like. Finally, there are some recommendations for parents playing with kids–don’t use the model picture, use only one hand, and so on.

Puzzle Battle
My kids compete against each other in Puzzle Battle. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The Verdict

Puzzle Battle is based on a pretty simple idea: speed-based puzzle assembly. I played it a couple times but realized early on that it would take a lot of handicaps to put me on a level playing field with my daughters. Even between the two of them, the older one is generally faster, but they still like to play it to continue improving their speed. Currently they use the model picture as a base, which makes it even easier, so I’ve suggested trying to do the puzzle without those to increase the difficulty a bit.

I’d be curious to try something like this made for adults–I suppose Pajaggle may be the closest thing to it, or else buying two regular puzzles and dumping them into one box. But for me, a 30-piece puzzle just doesn’t hold much of a challenge, even with one hand behind my back. So far my kids haven’t grown tired of it, though I imagine that it might be nice to have different puzzles for a change of scene, too.

Overall, I think it may be fun for younger kids especially who would find the puzzle challenging, but adults will likely tire of it after a couple plays. My kids (ages 8 and 11) still enjoy it some but it doesn’t take nearly 15 minutes per game.

Disclosure: Blue Orange Games provided a review copy of this game.

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