* Prices may differ from that shown
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About the Game
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I first came across this game when a friend of mine posted a picture of him and his son playing it. It looked interesting and it also looked like quite a good thinking game so I did a little more research about it and then decided to purchase it. The game is by The Green Board Game Company who make a large range of strategy and other games including learning games for young children. The game consists of 2 game boards, 48 assorted tiles, 2 cube shakers and a list of instructions. The box that the parts to the game come in is mainly blue but also has different coloured squares all over it. 'Square Up' is in big yellow letters and it also tells you on the front of the box what you get inside. On the box of the box it tells you a quick description on how to play the game and shows 2 children playing the game.
This game is for 2 players only, although you can play the game on your own. The game is for ages 6+. The boards in the box come wrapped together in clear plastic with cardboard in between them to protect them a little. The individual cube shakers are also wrapped in clear plastic as well. The boards are made from plastic with the base black in colour. The lid to the board is a frosted white colour but has clear plastic in the centre which shows you 6 of the coloured tiles. The lid opens to reveal the tray which holds a total of 25 coloured tiles. One of the tiles is black and will actually need to be removed when playing the game, which will leave 24 tiles. The tiles are coloured orange, blue, green, yellow, pink and purple. The boards are quite strong and seem to be made very well. The shake cube is made from strong plastic and has 9 small coloured cubes inside it. When you shake this the cubes go into their separate compartments which reveal a coloured pattern. The instructions leaflet in the box, clearly tells you how to play the game and also shows you pictures as well to ensure that you are playing the game correctly.
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I purchased the game from Amazon for around £12.03 which included free Super Saver Delivery. I am unsure whether you can purchase the game from anywhere else as I didn't look. The only other place I can think of where you might get it is eBay as they may have some second hand one's there.
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How to Play the Game
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The game is really simple and easy to play, although it takes some thinking to complete the game and it may not be as easy as you think. Each player needs a board and they need to remove the black tile from their tray. This enables you to slide the coloured tiles up, down, left and right in the tray. Each player shakes their cube shaker until the small coloured cubes are all resting and flat in the shaker and then on the count of three you have to start arranging the coloured tiles on the board to how they are in the cube. To win the game, the nine central tiles visible in the tray with the lid closed must match the pattern of the colours in the cube shaker. Although the game has two boards you can also play the game on your own a number of different ways, which I will explain later in this review.
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Playing the Game
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The first time I played this game was with my mother, the same day it arrived as I wanted to see what it was like. I un-wrapped everything and handed her a board and removed the black tile from each of the boards ready to play. I explained to her how to play and then we both shook our cubes ready to see what coloured pattern we each had to make. On the count of three we both started sliding the tiles around the tray trying to get the coloured squares into the right places. The tiles are made from strong plastic and are easy to slide up, down, left and right. There is a round indentation in the middle of each tile where your finger can sit gently to enable you to slide the coloured tiles whichever way you want. My mum didn't really use the indentations on the tiles and just seemed to push the sides of them which may have been why it took her longer than me to complete the coloured pattern. I managed to complete my square of coloured pattern quite easily, and quite a while before her. We decided to have another go so we gave the cubes another shake to create a new pattern each.
There is no need to jumble the tiles up when playing again. I again completed the coloured pattern before my mother. It seemed as though I found the game rather easy, until I played it with someone slightly better than my mum. The thing I like about the game is you have to think as you could move some of the coloured tiles which may mess up the square you have already done. It can be quite hard trying to get the last tile or two into the correct place without moving any of the other tiles first. I find that the best way to play the game is to be sat opposite each other. You can either rest the board on your lap or on a table. Of course on a table is much easier and the board will then have a flat surface to rest on. I have also played this game with my sister and she really enjoys playing it with me as she likes thinking games, which is what this is. My nephew wanted to play and although he does take a while to complete the coloured pattern and does need some help, he did enjoy moving the tiles into the different places when told where to move them to. My nephew is 6yrs old which is the age recommendation for this game, although I think some children at this age may find it a little too hard which is why I helped my nephew a little when playing this against his mum. After playing the game I always replace the black tile which stops all the other tiles from moving about when the boards are not in use.
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You can also enjoy playing the game as a one player. You can play this is many different ways. Simply shake the cube and see how quickly you can make the pattern. Time yourself and then shake the cube for another pattern to see if you can do the next pattern a lot quicker than the last one. You could also try to arrange all six colours in a pattern where each colour touches the same colour on one side only. You can also swap tiles with the other board so that you have five tiles in four of the colours and four tiles in another colour. Mix up the square of tiles and see how quickly you can make five rows of the same colour and then rearrange them to make columns of the same colour. You could also think or get someone to think of a pattern and then time yourself to see how long it takes to create. I haven't personally played this game as a single player but I would definitely give it a go at some point to entertain myself a little.
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Before buying this game I did read a few reviews about it on Amazon and I also read a review about it on ciao as well. I enjoy thinking games, so I thought this would be a great game to play with people such as my sister, mother and other people who may visit during Christmas or other times of the year. As previously stated earlier in the review, I only know about this game after a friend posted a picture and comment of him and his son playing it over Christmas. The game sounds very simple to play and that's because it is simple to play. There are no confusing instructions to remember because it so straight forward. The boards and other pieces to the game are made well from good strong plastic so I think you would need to use a fair amount of force to break anything.
The lid to the boards can be a little stiff at first but over-time I have noticed that they become easier to open and don't feel so stiff when trying to open them ready to start/play a game. I find that the plastic tiles are easy to move around the board/tray, especially when using the indent in the middle of them to slide them around. This is much easier than pushing the sides of them like my mother was to move them around. As the coloured square you have to make only consists or a total of 9 of the tiles it does get a little confusing due to the fact that the square the board is from has a lot more coloured tiles. Although I found this game easier than expected I still enjoy playing it and like that you have to think when moving the tiles around the board. In terms of value I think the game is very reasonable and wouldn't have expected it to cost much more than this. I certainly wouldn't pay over £15 for this game. If you or your family enjoy strategy games then I would definitely recommend this one. Although some 6yr olds may find the game a little too hard they can at least have a go at it and keep practising playing it for when they are slightly older.
(review may also appear on ciao)
Recently, for my daughter's sixth birthday, she received a game called Square Up as a gift. On the box it is described as a fast and furious two played tile game that is suitable for children from the age of six year and upwards. The idea behind the game is a race to see who is the first player to match all of their tiles correctly. It is a nice simple formula for a game and my daughters have tried having a few gos at beating each other.
The contents are not that many. There are two game assembly boards that have lift up plastic lids and space for twenty five tiles each. There are forty eight coloured tiles that are a variety of colours that need to be placed on the game assembly board ready to be slid around. Each board will have one empty space which allows movement of one tile at a time. There are also two cube shakers. Each player shakes their cube shaker in order to achieve their own nine square colour pattern that will change with every game. There are also some simple instructions which are quite easy to follow. Everything feels quite sturdy and good quality and it feels like there is little chance that any of it will break.
In order to play a game, each player shakes their cube shaker and the nine square pattern that they create is the nine square pattern that they will also need to make in the centre nine squares of their board by sliding their tiles around. There are six different colour tiles - pink, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple - so you do have to make sure that you have the correct number (four) of each one in your tray before you start otherwise you might have great difficulty making your pattern. When you shake the small cube shaker, there is a slight chance that you will get a pattern that has more than four tiles of any of the colours and then the instruction is to shake again because otherwise you will never be able to make the pattern and win! The winner is the first player to match their tiles on their board.
On one level, this is quite an easy game to play as the tiles can be moved around very simply. However on another level it is actually quite fiendishly difficult as it requires quite a bit of strategy and logic to work out which order to move the tiles in. I had a couple of games with my six year old - I found it difficult and she found it almost impossible. In fact she got to the point where she just gave up whereas I was determined to find a solution. For this reason, I think it would be better for older children or adults to play. My husband and I have had a couple of games and as we are quite well matched we are able to be quite competitive. I just think that my youngest daughter has not yet got enough skills to work out strategies in this type of game. Having said that though, if she enjoys having a go it is good practice. Also because of the random nature of the cube shaker some patterns will always be easier than others to work out. On reflection though, I think that this game might be best put away for a few months and then brought out again as for the moment she is a bit frustrated by it.
Overall I would recommend this game but not for six year olds unless they are exceptionally logical! It is currently available on Amazon for £17.99 (March 2011) which I think is quite expensive. However, I know that this present was bought from Yellow Moon for only £6.99 which is much better value!