Growing up, we played a lot of games as a family. As I grew older, I played them with my friends, as well. Forget not needing to read the rules, I generally didn't need to look at the board to see what space I landed on or count ahead to see what would happen next. Well, except for the strategy games we played. Those ones held my attention a little more.
One of my favorites was MASTERMIND. It was a neat code game where one person created a pattern of five colored pegs using any or all of six colors available. The opponent then has thirty tries to figure out the code in order. It's somewhat similar to Battleship in that sense, but this was more challenging, I always thought.
It isn't simply trial and error - when you have placed your best guess on the board, the code maker places a peg showing where you have guessed the right color in the correct spot and another type of peg showing where you have the right color but not place correctly. It can be challenging to figure out the pattern as there are so many possibilities (720 if you play that you can't select a color more than once and 7,776 if you allow the colors to be reused), but I remember winning more often than not.
While I hadn't played that game in awhile, I still have it in my house. I have the original brown plastic version of it from the ummm 1970s? 1980s? They have updated it now to modernize it - the board is a different shape and a bright blue color. The pegs are different colors, too, but the game remains just as fun as it was when I was a child.
Although it states that the game is for ages 8 and up, Mister Man has been enjoying it with me. Little Miss is a little too young for it, but she's close to really getting it and probably will if we play it a few more times.
There is also now a Mastermind game for younger children, as well. Animal Mastermind Towers has two "towers" where children put pictures of animals for their opponents to guess. You can make it easier by selecting fewer tiles (4) or more tiles (6), making the game more accessible to more ages of children. As the animals are selected for the towers, each player chooses the same four or six animal solution cards, meaning there is a limit to the difficulty of the game.
Instead of guessing specific orders, the players ask questions about where the animals are in the tower, such as "Is your cow above your dog?" By figuring out who is above or below whom, a player wins. This game is much simpler than the previous version, and it doesn't hold Mister Man's interest for very long (but he's a smart 7 who wants to be older).
Little Miss who is five really enjoys it, and it's rivaling Uno for our most played game right now. It states that it is for ages six and up, but this is more of a four and up type game in my mind. I like how the game introduces strategy at a young age, in addition to helping with concepts like above and below which are frequently a struggle for younger children.
Both games are very readily available from multiple sources from Target to the Pressman Toys website and more. BUT I also have a both games to give away myself (one of each to two separate winners). If you want to win MASTERMIND or Animal Mastermind Towers of your very own - or for someone for Christmas by chance? - you can do so here.
Pressman Toys also gives away a game of MASTERMIND each week on Twitter. Every Thursday, they challenge followers to a game of MASTERMIND, and if they win the game, they win a copy of the real game. You can read the rules on the MASTERMIND Facebook page.
So what do you have to do to win a game from me? First of all, let me stress that you must follow all the rules. If you do not follow the rules, your entry will not count!
This contest is open until Monday November 29 at 7pm CST. I must have a valid way to reach you, so leave me your email address in your comment or be sure your profile has your email address visible. No duplicate comments will count. This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older. Winners will be selected via random.org and must respond within 48 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner. The first winner to respond will have his choice of game and the second winner will receive the other game.
Mandatory Entry: What were your favorite games growing up?
Bonus Entries (leave a comment for each entry - if you put it all in one comment, I'll count it as one entry):
1) Earn one additional entry for following me on Twitter and tweeting this contest with the following tweet: "Looking for a great strategy game for you and kids? Check out the Mastermind giveaway via @honestandtruly http://honestandtrulyreviews.blogspot.com/2010/11/giveaway-mastermind-games.html" (leave a link to your tweet as your comment and make sure you do all the steps!)
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog publicly via Google Friend Connect.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly! publicly via Google Friend Connect.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a MASTERMIND and Animal Mastermind Towers for review purposes from Pressman Toys. I did not receive any compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.