Product Type: other board games
Newest Review: ... a parent, talking and interacting one on one is meant to help children develop intellectually. Mastermind specifically teaches children to... more
I've started so I'll finish........Mastermi nd a different mind set
Member Name: Jojoborne
Date: 16/03/12, updated on 20/03/12 (79 review reads)
Advantages: Easy to set up. Gets you thinking. Good fun.
Disadvantages: Repetitive after a while. More suited to adults and older children.
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.
Summary: A think person's game. Guess or outwit your opponent in a battle of the mind.
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