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Code breaking is becoming a lost art in today's school children, but the demand for young adults who understand code has soared. OK we're not really anticipating another Bletchley Park scenario, but computers are all based on code, and I don't think anyone can imagine a future in which the influence of computers wanes. Mastermind was invented by Mordecai Meirwitz, and Israeli telecommunications expert in 1970. It is thought to have been inspired by a MIT computer programme known as Moo from the late 1960's.
Mastermind -or Master Mind has been produced by a t least four manufacturers ( Invicta, Hasbor, Pressman and Orda) and with several modifications. I own the Invicta set shown above, which currently sells for £16.99 on Amazon. There is a cheaper set for £9.99, but it looks cheaper as well. It looks terribly fiddly, and while it is meant to be for up to five players, I really can't see this working. Mastermind works best as a two person game. I paid nearly as much for a used Invicta Version, but I am well pleased with it. It is a good sturdy plastic with a built in case to store the pegs. Unlike the newer version, this has a solid built in lid rather than something that looks more suitable for a takeaway. You get both code and scoring pegs and these fit very well into the slots, so there is no worry of them falling out if you wish to pick this up and move it in play.
Mastermind is listed for ages 8+ and many people feel it is too difficult for an 8 year old. It is actually used by prestigious US Universities to determine applicants aptitude for computer programming courses, and does present enough challenge for an adult. I quite enjoy the game myself. However - it can be made easier - with a few alterations you can make this game quite suitable for children as young as age 5. However you play it, as an adult it is unlikely you will reach your last chance without cracking the code. The idea is not just to beat the code, it assumed that you will. The idea is to beat it using as few moves as possible.
GAMEPLAY - BY THE RULES:
Set a number of games to play, and even number must be played to give each player an equal chance.
Choose who will be the first code maker.
The code maker places 4 coloured pegs in the code slot, which is hidden from his opponent. Each colour can only be used once.
The code cracker starts off playing 4 pegs in the slots at the far end. This first move is pure guesswork.
The code maker must score the code crackers code, giving a red peg ( may be black with an older set) for each peg of the right colour in the right space and a white peg for each peg of the right colour in the wrong space. The problem is - if you have one peg in the right place - you don't which one it is. But don't worry. You get 12 tries to figure it out and there are only 360 possible combinations, assuming you are playing with the rule that a colour can only be used once. If however, you eliminate the incorrect colours, you bring it down to 24 possible combinations, which is a lot more workable. This is game of elimination and deduction, which certainly has relevance in science as well as mathematics. You can learn as much by eliminating a possibility as discovering one, and your chances of beating this without systematic elimination are very slim. I have read there are maths algorithms which allow a player to crack any code in 5 moves. But I have not been able to find how to do this, and it would likely be over my head anyway. However, through systematic elimination, I have always been able to crack the code by the end of the board, unless I have done something stupid.
Scoring is simple. You simply add up the number of tries the code cracker used to crack the code and then reverse roles. The player with the most cracked codes will win if someone fails. Otherwise it is whoever has the lowest average number of moves to crack the codes. This really does require a lot of thought and is quite difficult for younger players. I would put the minimum age on this as 8, and even then there make well be some frustration. However you can make it easier.
HARDER VERSION FOR ADULTS: Allow colours to be used more than once. This increases the possible number of combinations to 1,296 while you still only have 12 guesses.
MY RULES FOR YOUNGER PLAYERS:
Super Easy Version suitable for ages 4 - 6
The code maker makes the code as usual, and the code breaker guesses with a random guess. The code maker uses the same scoring pegs, but tells the child which scoring peg is for which code peg. So if my code is blue, yellow, orange, white and my son guesses blue, green, purple and yellow. I place the red peg in a slot corresponding to the blue peg. He now knows this peg is correct and only has three more to work out. The white peg in the matching slot tells him that yellow is the correct colour, so he just needs to find the right place. Because there was no peg for green or purple, he knows to discard these and try other colours. There is absolutely no chance of losing with this game. The child will get the code before using up 12 guesses so frustration levels are reduced, but they are still using logic and elimination to find the correct code. This is the version I play with my five year old.
Easy Version for players 5 - 8
Beginning game play is the same, however, no white scoring pegs are used. If the player gets the correct peg I tell which peg is correct. He then only has 3 lots to fill and then 2 etc... My son had fun with this for awhile, but the fact that you can't lose makes it boring, as does the lack of elimination, so after awhile he tired of it.
Slightly less challenging version ages 7 -10.
This is a very simple way to make the game easier for a child and level the playing field when a child plays against and adult. Simply remove one or two colours from the code pegs for a younger player, and play according to the full adult rules. This is currently the version I play with my 8 year old.
WHAT CHILDREN LEARN THROUGH PLAYING THIS:
As with all board games, simply spending time with a parent, talking and interacting one on one is meant to help children develop intellectually. Mastermind specifically teaches children to solve codes. It is used at the university level to teach mathematical algorithms and there are entire maths textbooks written on the game. Obviously, this is a bit above our level of understanding, but this does teach children to use logic, deduction and elimination to crack the code. If they should reach the last line without having cracked the code - it also teaches the value of an educated guess. This is very much a game of thought rather than chance, and if you should try to win by pure chance - or wild guesses your odds would be incredibly slim.
In addition, if playing a set of games simple addition and division are used to find the average number of moves used to beat the code. Children can determine the average number of moves needed to solve different variations on the game as well.
My oldest quite likes this game, and the youngest does enjoy it as well. I think the fact that we were able to start out easy and progress to a more difficult game made this more interesting, and you can keep increasing the difficulty so it does remain a challenge. My son does choose this game fairly regularly when asked to pick a game to play with me, so it is something he actually likes. I feel it is quite educational as well. l do enjoy this myself, and I feel that this a game which will never really be outgrown, so I certainly feel it is well worth adding to any family game shelf.
A digital version of Mastermind is available on several sites to play free online
Mastermind for Kids uses only 4 code markers - which are shaped as jungle animals. This makes the game much easier - but you can do this with a regular game for far less. The kids version will set you back nearly £40 for a new copy and doesn't look very well made , but used games are available in amore reasonable price range - £12.62 from Amazon.
Walt Disney Mastermind - looks beautiful for Disney collectors but as this is no longer in production and highly collectable the price on Amazon of £64 used rules it out as a child's game in my opinion.
There are also word, numbers, travel sized and a few other versions which have been produced as well as copycat versions in wood such as Brainmaster.
Mastermind is a two player code-breaking board game. The suggested age range is eight years old and over however I think it is probably better suited to slightly older children due to the amount of concentration needed and the potential to get frustrated!
===How to play===
Before starting the game, one player needs to be designated the code-maker and the other player will, by default, be the code-breaker. The code-maker selects four coloured pegs without the other player seeing and places these in a row of holes in the board but they are obscured by a plastic screen so they cannot be seen by anyone else. It is the code-breaker's job to guess the colours and positions of the pegs by placing a set of four pegs at the other end of the board. After each attempt the code-maker will mark the other players progess by placing either a black marker peg or a white marker peg in the smaller holes on the board. A white marker peg means that one of the colours has been guessed correctly and it is in the right position whereas a white peg means a colour has been guessed correctly but it is in the wrong place. So obviously the best outcome is 4 black marker pegs because that means you have completely cracked the code! The code-breaker uses this information to change some of the colours and their positions to see if they can improve upon the score they have been given. After one game is complete, you will then swap over and who ever cracks the other players code in the least attempts is the winner.
===Which edition is best?===
The mastermind game has been around since the 1970s and is therefore available in a large number of different editions and varieties. My grandparents have the original 1972 version of the game which is easier than the modern versions as there are only 6 different coloured pegs and therefore fewer possibilities but the pegs are stored in a separate box which is less convenient and the screen to shield the pegs from view is not attached to the board and easy to knock which ruins the game.
The version I own is the 1994 edition which I think is the best in terms of being of intermediate difficulty level and having a decent size/shape/colour of board. The newer editions just don't look as good in my opinion. The game includes many coloured pegs which are one of eight different colour possibilities (red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and white) and skinnier black and white marker pegs as well as a few red marker pegs to keep track of who is winning if you are keen enough to play more than 2 games in one sitting! The pegs are all kept in a compartment on the side of the board with a flip down lid which keeps them tidy when not in use.
===Hints and Tips===
The first attempt the code breaker makes will be a complete guess. (However you can make an educated guess as code-breaker because, in my experience, when playing as code-maker some people always pick their favourite colour to include in their code!)
If both players want a quicker game, you can decide in advance to only allow a particular colour to appear in the code once with no colour repetitions allowed. Alternatively you can agree to only use 6 of the colours for the code and the guessing to make life easier.
Don't play in dim light as the red and the pink pegs can look a like and the code-maker can mark you wrong which will throw a spanner in the works! (Unfortunately I have learnt this the hard way).
Ask the code-maker to double check your scores (especially if it is your brother and he is watching TV at the same time!!!!) as 9/10 it will just be that you a missing something obvious but sometimes this will result in: "Oh, sorry, that should have been a black marker, not a white one." Arrrghhh!
===Where to buy===
I would recommend buying Mastermind on secondhand on ebay or Amazon as it can be found there for around £5 plus postage (depending on the seller which is a good price. If you are interested in buying new I believe you can get it in Toys R Us but this will just be the most recent version.
I rate mastermind 4 stars as it is fun to play but requires a lot concentration and can get frustrating as it can be quite tricky to solve sometimes.
I unexpectedly came across this game in a shop. I remember playing it when I was a child and didn't even realise it still existed. There are a coupkle of slight amendments to the rules, for example, up to 5 people can play at a time now. I've not even looked how this works, maybe I'm a traditionalist or just stuck in my ways but I would rather keep it as a two player game, one person versus another. Tjhe board layout of the game has also altered, being brought more up to date and made to look a more modern and interesting, but the principle remains the same.
The aim of the game is for one person to select 4 different colours and the competitor then gets 12 attempts to select different coloured pegs and place them in the order that they think they may appear in the competitors selection. The person who has chosen the colours then scores each attempt by marking how many colours are correct and how many are in the correct place. However, the guesser doesn't know which ones so has to use logic and elimination skills to determine the correct combination.
I bought this game officially for my 9 year old daughter but I absolutely love playing it with her, and I have even played it with my own friends! Although she is intelligent she still finds the game quite challenging, yet great fun too.
It is a game where both participants are involved in the enjoyment just as much and it gives a wonderful oppurtunity to spend time with your child, intellectually stimulate them, and have great fun all at the same time.
In addition, it is such a welcome and refreshing change to play a game that doesn't require batteries, complicated 300 page instruction manuals or a screwdriver by your side!
If I had to pick any fault it would be that the game can get quite frustrating if you keep getting it wrong. This is no fault of the game itself though! Also, people with larger hands/fingers may find inserting the pegs a little fiddly but again, it's no big deal, don't ket that be enough to put you off the game!
A highly recommended buy for simple, fun, intelligent entertainment.
Years ago all we had to entertain ourselves on those wet and windy days were strange and very slow games consoles, such as the Sinclair ZX 80, 81 and Spectrum, then there was the commodore 64 for the more well off people back then.
But, if like me, money was a bit tight, it was down to staying dry and entertaining oneself using board games and the like, such as monopoly, cluedo, hang man, (although technically Hangman was played on a piece of paper, and other such games that were around at the time.
One of those games I played a lot back then was a game called mastermind, which, even though the name sounds the same, didn't involve a leather chair and a lot of questions; it involved a plastic moulded board with holes pierced into it in a patterned manner, several coloured pieces with rounded tops that slot into some holes and some smaller pegs which slot into other holes on the board.
Firstly, for those people who were born during the modern playstation/X-box/WII/DS/ era, here's a brief idea of how this none electronic game of mastermind is played
It can be a bit confusing, especially if it's your turn to try and solve the code.
A player chooses a code which consists of four colours.
There are four coloured 'pieces', those being purple, orange, blue and green. Then there's two different coloured 'pegs', white and orange.
A player, or the code maker as they're known, makes up a row of coloured 'pieces' in the secret code area, which hides behind a flap.
The second player, or the code breaker, then has to try and guess the colour combination of the code makers secret by placing the coloured pegs in the holes along the playing board.
Once the code breaker has placed a row of coloured pieces on the board the code maker then uses the white pegs to tell the code breaker that the coloured pieces are in the code but in the wrong position and the orange pegs to show that the coloured pieces are in the code and in the right position.
Although the pegs don't state which pegs are right and which are in the correct position.
The code breaker continues to place the coloured pieces in the rows until they either find the correct code or use up their 8, 10 or 12 attempts, (this depends on which version of the game you play). Each attempt at breaking the code is answered by the code maker using the orange and white pegs, without telling the code breaker exactly which colours are correct.
This sounds more confusing than it is, believe me. Once you've played a game you'll be amazed how simple, and somewhat addictive this game is.
When I first played this game, as a much younger person, a few years ago, I remember that I found it a good game to play, being interesting and involving a few tactics, in a way, together with a bit of brain power. So when I got hold of the up to date version I was glad that the idea had not changed at all, even if the design has.
I even remember the image on the box itself, with a rather odd looking man, who resembled a bad guy from the James Bond movies, sitting in a chair whilst a woman stands at his side. Sadly though, this new box image is totally different, showing the game board with several of the coloured pegs flying through the air as if showing that the game is a fast flowing one.
This new style game is more curvy, and as per usual, with the way they 'improve' things that don't need it, it makes the game slightly more 'confusing' looking, especially in the 'scoring' side, with the white and orange pegs being replace by white and red sliding 'counters', sort of, sticking out of the sides.
I much prefer the original game board as it was a lot easier to show which coloured counters were right and which weren't.
Don't get me wrong, the new style isn't bad, it's still a fun game to play, giving the 'guesser' or 'code breaker' the same confusion as the original version, trying to guess the colour formation within the 12 attempts, lining up the coloured counters from the bottom to the top until they 'crack the code'.
The good thing about this new style, although the original one was the same, is that it has a storage space for all the coloured pegs and counters, so that nothing should get lost, hopefully making the game survive longer than some games.
Setting it up can take a matter of minutes, depending on how quick you can separate the coloured pegs and counters, but once done your ready to play.
Each game can take about ten to fifteen minutes to play, but can be shorter if you crack the code, or longer if you 'take you time' a bit.
You do have to remember that there are many many small bits in this game and every single one of them can be picked up by a small person and will go straight into their mouths, which could cause choking. So make sure that those little hands stay well clear of those pieces and they don't try to eat them.
Now for the price of this compact game that will have you thinking so hard your brain will start to hurt.
This game sells for around the £15.00, with the travel version selling for about a tenner. But if you want to go back in time and get your hands on the original version than you can grab one from places such as E-Bay and may be a charity shop.
But, which ever one you buy, the way you play it is just the same.
In all, this game may look as if it should be played by toddlers at day care but it actually takes a bit of tactical play and the ability to work out which colour pegs belong where.
© Blissman70 2012
Mastermind Board Game
Dun Dun Dun Duuur duuur dun!
O.k. O.k. , so it doesn't sound the same when you read it off a screen as it does when you hear it on the TV. Good job I'm reviewing the Mastermind board game and not the TV show then. I'll move quickly on before the men in the white coats turn up.
Mastermind is another game I remember from my childhood in the seventies and it lined the shelves of all major toy stores from nineteen seventy onwards. It was of course nothing to do with the TV series and there's not a famous black chair in sight on the cover of the game box.
The Game Contents
The game consists of a plastic board with rows of holes in, which plastic pegs are placed, and is known as the decoding board. The board had a removable plastic strip or shield at one end to cover a section with four holes, which were separated from the other rows of holes. The rest of the holes lined up in ten rows of four and lined up with the four separate holes. Next to each row is four tiny holes in the shape of a square. These are the marking holes.
There are six different coloured pegs, namely: black, white, red, green, blue and yellow. There are twelve of each of these coloured pegs. There are also twelve small black pegs and twelve small white ones, used for marking.
The box has changed its design over the years (See pictures) and I will talk about that later on in the review.
Playing the Game and the Rules
For the purposes of this review I will refer to players as he and in no way intend to patronise the females reading this review. In other reviews I will use 'she'.
The game is played by two players aged eight and up. However, more than one person could play with one of the other players if the players were that way inclined, but generally it is a two player game.
One person must be nominated to be the person who makes up the secret code. He will be known as the 'Code Maker'. The other player then has the job of breaking the code and is known as the 'Code Breaker'. The secret code is basically a combination of any four coloured pegs, such as two red, one yellow and one blue.
The code Maker lays his four coloured pegs into the four separate holes at the top of the board. The code breaker must turn away while this is done. Once the Code Maker has his pegs in position he cover them with the shield. This enables only himself to see the combination. The code breaker is situated at the other end of the board and can only see the solid shield.
The Code Breaker has the rest of the coloured pegs at his disposal and can now place four of them into row one of the board to try and replicate the four colours behind the shield. In order to crack the code he must not only get the right coloured pegs but they must also be in the right position or the same position as the ones behind the shield. If you're looking down from whichever celestial plane your are housed in Grandfather, then this what I tried to explain to you all those years ago.
The Code Maker will then let the code breaker know if he has guessed any colours or positions correctly. A small black peg in the corresponding hole next to the row would denote a correct colour in the correct place, so that hole is all sorted. A small white peg and it would denote that the colour was right but the position was wrong. So if one black peg and one white peg were placed in the marking square after round one, then the Code Breaker would know he had one coloured peg in the right place and one correct colour but in the wrong place. So by way of deduction he know knew that the one coloured peg would be the same through all of his guesses at the code because he got one black peg. Now he would have to work out which one of the other three was the right colour but in the wrong place. He could do this by trying one of the colours in a different place on row two and changing the other two colours. If the white marker remained he would know he had the right colour but still in the wrong place. So by way of elimination he would now know it was in the wrong place twice and another hole has the correct pin in. So on turn three or row three he would then place that peg into the remaining hole he hadn't tried. This would give him two correct pegs now. However if the initial white peg had been removed he would know that the correct colour in the wrong place from row one was now one of the other two colours that he changed. It sounds more difficult than it is and once it is picked up you can have some really good games.
Each time a row is completed the Code Maker gets a point as his code has not been broken. If all twelve guesses are used then the code is not broken and the Code Maker gets an extra point. The two players then switch roles. The number of games you play is decided at the start of the game or you can simply play until you want to stop. The winner overall is the person who accumulates the most points. Simple!
The Games History
The game came in many shapes and forms dating back centuries and was mainly played with chalk on stone or at a later period pencil and paper. It has been know as Cow and Bull, Soldier Vs Spy and many other names.
In nineteen seventy, a former postman, who was the head of a telecommunications company, invented 'Mastermind'.
He was an Israeli by the name of Mordecai Meirowitz and still holds the rights to the game today (lucky guy).
He first put his idea together and sent it off to various game designers and game manufacturers. None of them wanted to touch it. How foolish were they? He eventually heard from a small, nondescript (no disrespect to them) company from Leicester in the UK.. Their name was Invicta Plastics. They helped Meirowitz with his design and decided to take a gamble on him and put the game on the market. What a gamble it turned out to be and good for them. The game went on to sell fifty million copies in eighty-three countries and was by far the best selling game of the seventies. If only the publisher who threw 'Harry Potter' manuscripts in the bin had read this before he made his rash decision.
Mastermind Over the Years
My parents got me the game in 1977, when I was ten years old and I can remember being quite the cockerel strutting about after untold victories against the, obvious, lesser mortals that were my grandparents, aunties and uncles.
I still remember the cover with the business type white guy with the Asian woman at his shoulder. I always thought she was his secretary.
I was really pleased to discover that these two got back together thirty years later for a new cover in the original poses (see pictures). How cool is that? Their names were Bill Woodward and Cecilia Fung and in June 2003 a new cover was used for the latest relaunch. They have aged pretty well, seeing as it was thirty-three years later.
In the Seventies Invicta gave license to Hasbro to manufacture the game for them around the world as the game had become so popular Invicta were too small a company to handle all the orders. They remained as producers of the game as a silent partner with Hasbro mass manufacturing the product to all and sundry.
Other games manufacturers, such as Pivotal, Gold Crest and Harrison Heath tried to bring out similar versions of the game using different boards and markers instead of pegs. None of them were successful however as they hadn't got the traditional look of the original mastermind.
Pressman Games faired a little better as did Parker Games as they stuck to the original using different packaging and went through Invicta to be the official sellers in the US, Israel and the Far East.
There is a lot of information available on the internet if you care to search it out but the usual modes of search such as Wikipedia and the likes are very disappointing and allude more to the math behind the combinations within the game than any real talk of how it is produced.
Invicta would later capitalise on the franchise by developing 'Mastermind 44' which was the same game but with four interlocking boards for four players and more appeal for parties or family games.
There have also been a variety of computer based games which can be played online or on mobile phones. They come under various names but all follow the same premise of the original game.
I used to enjoy playing Mastermind and once I'd collected the pegs up from being used as hand grenades for my Action man's latest battle I would take great delight in trying to confuse or defeat my befuddled Grandfather, whom, I am sure, would let me win as he was a wily old geezer, may he rest in peace.
Mastermind is still an enjoyable game today and plenty of my friends and family still get it out for a game, especially at Christmas and I'm sure Mr. Meirowitz still raises a glass in toast on New Year's eve.
I've read so many reviews recently regarding different types of games and one of my all time favourites has to be Mastermind. I remember my Dad buying this game at least 30 years ago and we would have hours of fun playing, even though I always tended to lose!
I searched on the internet for a little background information on this fabulous game and learned that it was invented in 1970 by an Israelian named Mordecai Meirowitz and went on to win the Game of the Year Award in 1973. To date, this great little invention has sold over 55 million copies worldwide.
Mastermind is a game of strategy for two people and its' concept is to break the colour code set by your opponent. Whilst my Mastermind is now buried deep in the attic, if my memory serves me right, the original board measures approximately 25cm in length and 15cm in width and is brown in colour. The board has twelve rows of four large holes and adjacent to each row are four smaller holes.
The board is positioned between the two players, with one player being the code maker, who is required to select a combination of coloured pegs. These are then placed underneath a shield so they are not visible to their opponent, namely the code breaker.
There are many variations of Mastermind that all use different colour pegs. However, the pegs in the original version are green, red, yellow and white. This review further discusses the original version.
The code breaker will then choose a selection of four coloured pegs and place them into the large holes. The code maker then needs to provide a response using the smaller pegs, which are black and white. The black pegs represent a correct coloured peg that is in the correct position with a white coloured peg representing a correct colour, but in the wrong position.
For example, let's say the code maker chooses a sequence of colours, namely red, red, green and yellow. The code breaker guesses the pattern by placing his/her peg selection of green, red, yellow and white in the appropriate holes. The code maker would provide feedback by placing in the adjacent holes one black peg and two white. (I hope I didn't lose you then!!)
The code breaker has twelve chances to crack the colour code; after which time he/she loses. Whilst the first sequence of pegs placed in the grid are simply a guess, as the game progresses, you really need to think about the responses you are receiving by the black and white pegs. If you are clever enough and your strategy is well thought through, you should win the game making you the Mastermind!
The game is suitable for ages 8 years and up and is a fantastic way to get little ones thinking. I tried to find out from the internet who first branded this game, but was unsuccessful. As previously stated, there are so many different variations available and I've noticed some with five colours! I don't think I'd want to attempt five colours as four are challenging enough!
Prices start on Amazon at £5 for the travel version and rise to £16.99 for the larger version.
Such a great game receives 5 out of 5 dooyoo stars from me.
I hope you found my review useful and would thank you for reading.
Mastermind is a simple game involving 2 players, one to create a 5-peg code and the other to guess it. There are 8 colours of peg (red, green, blue, yellow, orange, black, brown and white), allowing 59000 permutations. The code maker conceals his code in a little hood and marks the code breakers attempts using white pegs (a colour is present but in the wrong place), black pegs (a colour is correct and in the right position) or no pegs (this colour is not present).
It is quite a difficult game, requiring logic, concentration and perseverence, similarly to chess but with less forward-thought and expertise required to be good at it. It is recommended for 8 years and over, and this is suitable as the difficulty of the game can be adjusted by either playing the marks for a code in the corresponding holes (so if the code maker puts a black marking peg in the hole on the right, then the code breaker knows that their coloured peg on the right is correct) to make the game easier, or for adults not doing so.
A game of one round (where one code is made and broken) typically takes about 12 minutes if the code is found in about 7 goes, but the number of goes can vary between 4-11. This makes it a good quick coffee-table game, along with many card games, Boggle etc.
A disadvantage is that the code maker may become a bit bored, because they have less involvement in the game. This is why it is good to have time for a few rounds, taking in in turns to make and break the code.
Though simple, this is an addictive and challenging game worth having in any family games cupboard.
Mastermind is another one of those classic games, where the structure of the game is so simple, however becoming a master is very hard work.
~~ Contents of the game ~~
When you first open the box, you see a very nice tray, with ten to twelve rows of four large holes, all set out in a line, and a final row of four holes behind an orange cover. For the first twelve rows of holes, to one side of them, there are four much smaller holes set out in a two x two square formation.
To the left of all of this is a massive covered area, containing different coloured pegs inside. However a dire warning, this is the ONLY time you will see the game as neatly presented as this, once that peg compartment is open, they gte everywhere.
Anyway, the pegs come in two different sizes, large and small in order to fit the different sizes of holes.
The larger pegs come in eight different colours (which sometimes vary depending on which version you have, and the colours I am describing apply to the set I have in front of me.)
The smaller pegs come in two different colours (also sometimes change upon set variety.)
According to the instruction leaflet, which is also provided with the game there are 12 large pegs in each colour, as well as 15 small pegs of each colour.
~~ Playing Mastermind ~~
Mastermind is a two player game, and the first decision you make before playing is who will set the code, and who will try to break it.
Whilst the person trying to break the code looks away, the person setting the code takes four of the bigger pegs (any colour combination) and places them in the final row of four holes (the one that is hidden from view.) Be aware at this point not to be in a room with any mirrors, as if people are tempted with cheating, they will cheat.
Once the code has been set the other player looks back and now has to try and guess the code that has been set. They have to choose from the eight different coloured pegs to place into the holes.
(The eight colours in my set are: white, red, yellow, orange, purple, blue, magenta and green. This can cause some problems as I will explain later.)
Back to the the rules: once they have chosen their combination, the combination is ranked.
Using the smaller pegs, you must score there guess by the following system:
Red peg = right colour in the right place
White peg = right colour in the wrong place
You can put these in any of the four holes, as they bear no correllation to the position of the guess. This way your opponent has to use their brain to deduce which colours are in the right places.
This continues until they have successfully worked out the code.
Then the tables are turned and you have to figure out their code. The winner of the game is the person who does it in the least moves.
~~ Alternatives ~~
For some players this variation of the game is too simple, if that is the case then you can add these features:
1. For a very slight increase make the rule: the same colour can be used twice in the sam combination.
2. For a major step-up in difficulty, include spaces in the combination. I have played this variation before and it is very difficult to get it within ten goes.
~~ Difficulties with the game ~~
There are a few difficulties with this game though. Firstly, you ALWAYS run out of one colour. There are only twelve of each colour, yet you always end up running out of one and having to use one from a previous guess to fill in.
You always run out of the marker pegs (small pegs) and have to take them from earlier guesses.
Some of the colours can be hard to distinguish, especially in certain lights. This happens mainly with reds and oranges, and blues and greens (as greens are more cyan in colour.)
Finally, and most of a nightmare: however careful you are, there is always one person who knocks the tray and all the pegs go everywhere. It is almost inevitable when my family plays this game (especially when grandma's had a bit too much brandy!) and also don't bother sorting big pegs from little pegs, they only move back and mingle with each other.
~~ Summary ~~
This is a great game, suitable for the ages of children, 6+ I'd say, as the pegs can be choking hazards for younger children.
My one message to you: you will always regret it when you say: "that can't be right, it's impossible for it to be anything else" as you will have missed something or your friend may have marked it wrong. However, most of the time it's one combination you've missed and then you feel like a complete fool for missing it.
Due to the fiddliness of the pegs however and lack of distinguishable colours, I will give it 4*.
~~ Oh wait.. ~~
Did anyone else find the brain in the jar on one of the old adverts for this eally disgusting? lol leave me a comment
by jessyclown on 01.02.2002 at 22:57 I see you are new to dooyoo. I hope you enjoy reading and writing opinions. If have a good look at some of the better opinions you will see what people give good ratings for. If you read and rate other people's opinions they may read and rate yours thats what it is all about! by Gwenick on 01.02.2002 at 23:01 Here's a tip. Spend more time on each opinion. Only post one a day (at most) and read and rate other people opinions. You'll get more read (and therefore more money) that way. As it is you are doing what is known as 'churning' - and people won't read you at all! Gwen by MALU on 01.02.2002 at 23:42 That's right! One look at the number of your ops and I stay away. Malu Comments on the opinion by KingHerrod on 02.02.2002 at 10:58 Hi and welcome to the site, I see you submitted 20 reviews on your first day. Take it from me that will not make you any money and most of the reviews probably will not help consumers a great deal either. My best advice to you is to have a peek at the community page, at the premier reviews and the advice to new members. Have a read around the site and have fun, but by posting a large number of reviews straight away, you may get yourself a bad name. I noticed nobody had rated this review yet. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me, the address is on my profile page, just click on my name. by MonsterSpice on 01.02.2002 at 23:34 Please stop churning and why did you rate my last opinion SU when everyone else did VU spite I think and I have sent a note to dooyoo about it. You are knocking all the serious members out of the latest list and ruining the enjoyment for others. Mark Thanks, you are all so kind. Goodbye.
Mastermind is a thinking - preson's game, requiring logical thought and concentration, rather than knowledge of trivia like the TV programme of the same name. I played this a few times when I was younger, and could never get into the blasted game - it was infuriating. Basically, you have to make up a secret code, consisting of four pegs, each peg can be any of four differnt colours, thus giving lots of possible combinations. This code is tucked away behind a secret screen. Your opponent then has to place pegs in holes on the board, trying to guess your code. Your opponent has to try and guess the code before he or she runs out of rows (each row representing one guess). If not, you win. However, you have to give them a bit of help, naturally. So if they place a peg of the corret colour in the correct hole, you have to tell them. You also have to tell them if they place a correct colour peg in a hole, but it's the wrong hole. By using this information and a process of elimination, your opponent might be able to work it out. Sounds an interesting challenge. The problem with the game is that you then spend the rest of the afternoon finding where all the tiny pegs have got to,. You'd be surprised where they kep turning up. Apart from that, this game is a cheap board game that will get you thiking, but to be honest, it just doesn't have the playability to keep you coming back for more.
This is an incredibly simple game to set up and play but it is totally absorbing. One player sets up four coloured pegs in a row of holes. A cover protects these so that the opponent cannot see them. By a process of elimination and guesswork the opponent has to guess what colour the pegs are and in which position. The opponent puts down his own row of four pegs and the first player has to say whether any of them are – a. the right colour in the right place b. the right colour but in the wrong place Th opponent is not told WHICH of the pegs are correct though, that’s something they have to work out for themselves! The opponent then makes a further guess of four pegs and receives the same information about these. The guesses and results remain on the playing board for the duration of the game so that the opponent can use them to work out which are the correct pegs in each guess. The idea is to guess the colour and placement of the four pegs in the shortest number of moves. This requires a lot of lateral thinking and logic. It exercises the brain without you having to remember a set of complicated rules. If you can’t get anyone to play with you get the PC game and play against the computer! We used to play a version at college called ‘bulls and cows’ using two bits of paper and a row of four numbers instead of pegs. A bull was a correct number in the correct place and a cow was a correct number but in the wrong place.
If you are a person who likes brainteasers and have a great deal of patients, then you will like this game. Mastermind is a two-player game that starts off with one person setting up a four-colour code (i.e. Red, green, blue, and yellow) and the other person has to guess what that code is. The only clues you have are two pegs. One is white, the other black. You get a white peg for a colour that is right but in the wrong place and a black peg for a colour that is in the right place. If this sounds all to confusing then do not be put off. Give it a try, you will be amazed how you will grow to like this game, especially when you get it right within nine goes. To play this game you do need two of you who like this type of brain game otherwise it is a waste of time, unless you by the pc version where you can play against the computer.
Another one of the classic's and another game that will still be around for many years to come. Having the same name as a now retired TV programme, it bares no similarity. No questions and no big black chair. It is a thinking game and ideal for adults and children alike. My 8 year old likes to play this with me and is still learning. He likes to be the one that sets out the code. The game comes in standard, Super and Deluxe with extra holes for those that have mastered the standard version. Basically, someone is the code maker and the other person is the code breaker. They line up a set of coloured pegs behind a little screen and you have to find the correct code. The code maker helps you along by placing white pegs if you have entered a correct colour but in the wrong hole and a black peg if you have entered the correct colour in the correct hole. But which is which? That is what the code breaker must find out by using trial and error and looking back at his past lines of coding. Fairly priced for what you get and an excellent stocking filler.
The simple games are the best and this is no exception and is actually quite an intellectually challenging game, and can really further you child’s mental thinking. Basically it’s a game of deduction for 2 players. There are 6 different coloured pegs, one player chooses a four peg combination and the basic idea is for the opposing player to guess the combination. This player has ten attempts of placing pegs in the right order, and this requires a bit of luck at first but then a bit of brain power to work our which pegs are right and which aren’t. It’s a nice, traditional game and in the travel form can really help a car journey pass along nicely. Overall it’s challenging and good fun although as with most ‘traditional’ games if you play it non-stop for hours it gets boring.
A very simple challenge, but a very frustrating game. The idea is simple enough. Choose a combination of coloured balls/pegs and your opponent has a set number of turns to guess, not only the number of different colours, but also the exact sequence you have them in. Each guess you grade according to how many correct colours they've guessed and whether any of them are in the correct order. It's all very logical and, theoretically, easy to do, but incredibly frustrating when you're sure you've got it sussed, only to find you're certain answer is wrong and you've just run out of turns to guess it in! It has, though, limited appeal and is a game that you can tire of quickly. If you can't think logically, you'll be bored and, if you can, you'll consistently guess correctly and the challenge will be gone.