Like a lot of my ideas, the concept for CastleLogix seems ridiculously simple. All the player has to do is try to build a construction using a picture that corresponds with its side view, using only a few blocks with holes in and 3 sticks of different heights. But this game for young children only looks simple from the outside. The real complexity and beauty is hidden and comes to the surface once you start playing with it.
The original version of this puzzle was not developed for SmartGames but for SmartWood, a collection of educational wooden toys in 2002. It was named Circus Blocks instead of CastleLogix. The reaction of my boss was: ‘Great idea, but how am I ever going to sell some wooden sticks and blocks with holes?’ History has proven that this was not really a problem ;-)
THE DIFFERENCE WITH CIRCUS BLOCKS
The difference between Circus Blocks and Castle Logix is not only the theme. I also added an extra block, to make 48 interesting challenges possible instead of the original 24. Another addition is the fact that the artwork on the front and back of the red block is identical, except for its orientation. This way it is not clear, from the side view shown in the challenge, if this red block is placed with the hole running vertically or horizontally through it.
The game was inspired by my observation of children. When you ask a child if he or she prefers a tall, narrow glass of lemonade or a short, wide one, they will always take the tall glass. This is because young children don’t fully understand the concepts of quantity and size and they choose the glass that they think contains the most. But appearances can often be misleading, as this game shows. Children always try to insert the tall turret in the longer blocks and the short turrets in the smaller blocks, even though this is often wrong.
Another thing that I like about this game (and which I repeated in other wooden Smart Games) is its wide appeal, as it is also an interesting toy for children who are still too young to try to solve the challenges. For them it is a toy where they can push turrets inside blocks, and in doing so, they’re exercising their fine motor skills.
example of challenge/solution of Circus Blocks, designed for SmartWood
example of a junior challenge/solution of CastleLogix where the medium tower stands on top of the red block
example of a junior challenge/solution of CastleLogix where the long tower fits inside the red block
GAME RULES CASTLELOGIX
Castle Logix is a puzzle game where you need to combine logic, spatial insight and fine motor skills to solve 48 challenges.
1) Choose a challenge.
2) Arrange the blocks and towers to build your castle.
3) Check your solution on the flipside of each challenge page.
A) The game consists of 4 blocks and 3 towers, each in different lengths. Each block has one or more holes to allow you to slide in the towers. But the holes are in a different place on every block!
B) Your castle must be stable and so must stand on its own without help.
C) Each block must be positioned with one of its printed sides facing you.
D) Although the smallest block has the same red print on its front and back, the orientation of the prints around its hole is different! Depending on your challenge, rotating it enables you to either slide a tower into the block or stand a tower on top of it! Look carefully at your challenge as it is often not immediately obvious what you need to build.
You won’t help your kids by building the challenges yourself! It’s much more constructive to prompt them into action by asking questions like: ‘Where do you think the big tower could go?’ Start building each castle by using all the blocks first. Next, decide where the biggest tower goes, then the medium-sized tower and lastly the smallest one. If a challenge seems too hard, turn to the solution and try working backwards from there. Looking at the solution to help build the castle, children learn new building techniques helping them understand more fully what is and what isn’t permitted in this game.
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