Genius Star

We featured Genius Square on Board's Eye View in September. Genius Star, also from the Happy Puzzle Company, offers more of the same but with options to further step up the level of challenge.

As you will guess from the name of the game, a star playing board replaces the Genius Square. Instead of a 6x6 grid, players are placing their triangle-based polyominoes in the 48 numbered triangle spaces that make up the star. The 7 blockers are placed as indicated by rolling the seven custom dice (4d6 and 3d8). Aron Lazarus' clever mathematical design ensures that the dice can only generate number combinations that are solvable (ie: where it is possible to complete the star with the 11 coloured polyomino pieces supplied).

The box claims there are 165,888 possible puzzles - that's 100,000+ more than in Genius Square! We're not claiming to have tried them all but, from those we have tried, it's clear that some are inevitably tougher than others. And Genius Star tantalisingly ups the challenge by inviting players to try to pair the two three-triangle blue pieces. Successfully complete the puzzle with the blue pieces connected to show a golden star and you claim extra points. But beware: whereas every possible combination of blockers generated by the dice is soluble, not all can be solved with the blue polyomino pieces connected. If you're playing Genius Star as a competitive two-player game do you push your luck and try for the extra points for uniting the blue pieces knowing that there's a 42.6% chance that the puzzle you're playing cannot be solved without splitting the blue pieces?

Genius Star comes with two complete sets of polyominoes, blockers and star boards for two-player competitive play where you are racing to see who will be first to complete the star. We've especially enjoyed Genius Star, however, as a challenging solitaire game. You'll be pleasantly surprised too how repeated play improves your spatial awareness: one to keep your mind sharp during Covid lockdown!

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