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Earlier in the year, my youngest son received Chocolate Fix by Thinkfun for his birthday from a friend who said that her own son thought it was such a great game, they simply had to spread the word, and as I also think that it is a great game - I am going to do exactly the same thing!
Chocolate fix comes in a colourful box but we have long since discarded it as it became ripped and tatty, but another advantage of this product is that you don't need it. The entire game fits nicely into the drawstring fabric bag provided (which can be washed if it gets soiled), making it a lot easier to transport and store which I think is ideal and a really good idea by Thinkfun - I believe they do this with most of their products which gets a definite thumbs up from me.
So, what's in the bag? This game consists of a 12cm squared plastic chocolate tray which is very similar to a cupcake baking tray; it has nine "holes" on it. You get nine chocolate pieces to go on it - 3 milk chocolate, 3 dark chocolate and 3 pink chocolate which have one of each shape; triangle, square and circle and also a small (10cm x 9cm) flip chart type pad which has forty game play cards and which also contains the instructions.
To learn how to play the game is very simple and this is helped by the easy to follow instructions that are well illustrated which they need to be as this game is very visual. Essentially, you use the clues on each challenge to fill the tray with the chocolates in the correct order - this is a little bit like Sudoku; you are given a few clues like which colour or shape goes where and by means of logical deduction, you have to work out where the rest of the pieces go. There is only one correct solution to each puzzle and when you think that you have the answer, you can flip the page and check on the back where the answers are given.
~*~ My Thoughts ~*~
Once you start playing this game can become somewhat addictive and very frustrating - the challenges are divided up into beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert and I would recommend working your way up slowly - I went straight in at expert thinking that this is a childs game and so would be a doddle but I quickly threw my toys out of the cot (or in reality, the game on the floor) as I could not do it and frustration got the better of me! You learn as you go along the art of deduction and I am now proud to say that I have completed all of the challenges and it has only taken me four months on and off as the frustration gave way to a slight addiction! This game really does get you thinking and so I think that this is especially good for children as it teaches them to think laterally - it has long since being said that games along the same lines as Sudoku actually boost the power of the brain, encourage logical thought and sharpen intellect so this is a great introduction to such challenges in my opinion.
By making the pieces "chocolate" and with the inclusion of the fun colours, ThinkFun have turned what could essentially be a very dull game into something that is fun to do and it also visually appealing. The solid and chunky pieces are well manufactured making them easy to hold and pleasant to play with. The flip book which contains the challenges either folds flat or it can be stood on its base so it is easier to see, and again, it is good quality and none of the pages have come anywhere near to looking worn or tatty despite extensive use. Because of the handy carry bag, this game is easily transportable and it would make an ideal game to play on a long journey, especially since it is a single player game also once the pieces are in place they stay in the tray to an angle of about 40 degrees therefore if you are being bumped about in a car, they stay put happily.
The only negative thing that I can think of about this game is that the challenges run out, but that is not a massive problem as they can always be repeated and the chances that you will remember them, I think, is very slim.
Overall I think that this is a good educational game which is also fun to do. It is a good quality game and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. I think it is suited from about six upwards, depending on the patience and intellect of the child, but it is also a fun game for adults too. Chocolate fix is available in many good toy shops from £9.99 which I think is fairly good value, and it is also available on the internet, but after having a quick look I have noticed that there are several other versions available with what looks like cards with them so if you want this simple version in particular, make sure you double check before you buy.
Also posted on Ciao! under my username chilcott1