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
Specialist subject: Coloured Pegs from the 1970s
Member Name: FridaysArePurple
Advantages: A fun board game that requires thinking and concentration
Disadvantages: It can be frustrating!
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.
Summary: A fun game for older kids/adults that uses deductive reasoning skills