By Victoria Feng, Money Smarts Editor
I have always thought games that challenge and encourage people to think are the best. Not ones where you roll the dice and hope you’ll roll the winning combination. When I was young, my favorite games consisted of memory games and puzzles. I loved how I could think and have the power to win without the help of outside forces, like picking a card randomly and rolling a die. For my birthday a few years ago, one of my friends gave me PathWords by Thinkfun, which I really enjoyed. Thinkfun has amazed me yet again with its game Solitaire Chess. The pieces moved in very similar ways to real chess pieces, but as the name states, you can play alone.
Thinkfun’s motto is Ignite Your Mind!, and it has surely ignited mine with Solitaire Chess. When Thinkfun (then called Binary Arts) was invented in 1985, “to translate the brilliant ideas of mathematicians, engineers, and inventors into simple toys that can be appreciated by boys and girls around the world.” I have enjoyed Thinkfun products along with countless other kids. Their games are unique and with so many choices, I believe there is something for everyone. Understanding how to play Solitaire Chess is quite easy, as Thinkfun provides a very informative booklet with instructions, hints, and solutions. Their sixty challenges, ranging from Beginner to Expert, require more thinking once you hit the higher stages. Solitaire Chess is a game where the chess pieces (all the same color though) try to capture each other until there is only one left. Each move, however, must result in a capture.
When Solitaire Chess arrived, I was excited. Like other Thinkfun products, Solitaire Chess comes in a handy container perfect for on-the-go travel. Once you’re done playing, you can simply put everything back into the container in a few minutes. When I opened my game’s box, I quickly got started on reading the instructions and starting the Beginner 1 game. Minutes later, I was turning over challenge mats, ready for my next challenge. Every challenge comes with hints, which can be quite useful when you’re stuck in the middle of a round.
The drawings on the challenge mat were accompanied with very pretty chess pieces. The chess pieces look very similar to pieces on a regular chess game.
One of the best things of Solitaire Chess is its great design. Each challenge mat is double- sided, saving lots of space. All the chess pieces are circular at the bottom, and there are circular grooves, perfect for putting the chess pieces in, even when you’re traveling. Similar to a graph, the “x” is labeled with a, b, c, and d. The ‘y’ is labeled 1, 2, 3, 4. Each chess piece has a location, like a coordinate point. This makes it easy when checking the solutions to see if you’ve solved a challenge right.
Solitaire Chess has been a Toy of the Year 2011 nominee, won the Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award and Parents’ Choice Gold Award. This game is unique and easy to learn. With sixty challenges, kids will surely be entertained for many hours. This game is perfect for people of all ages, for beginner chess players and experienced ones.
So if you’re looking for a fun game to play, look no further than Solitaire Chess. It’s a great game to play alone anywhere: on the bus, plane, or car! When you’re done, everything can simply go into the storage container provided. Thinkfun also has invented many other games. To learn more about them, go to http://thinkfun.com.
If you’d like a chance to win a free Solitaire Chess game by Thinkfun, enter the Money Smarts essay contest today. See more details in the contest area of this issue.