Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Like Word Puzzles? Try Scruble Cube!

We can't guarantee that PLAYING THIS GAME WILL MAKE YOU A GENIUS, but it might!

Tex is excited that he got something in the mail...wouldn't you be? 
It's a game, not WORK!!! Yay!

Are you a fan of Scrabble? Do you remember playing with a Rubik's cube when you were in junior high school (back when they had jr. high...oh, does that date me?)? Did you ever wonder why someone couldn't find a way to combine the two? Well, even if you didn't ever wonder about that, someone did, and here it is...Scruble Cube, a clever game where you twist and turn sections of a 4X4 cube (yes, that's a total of 96 colorful squares) to use letters to make words for points. It is very similar in movement to a Rubik's cube, but oh so much more interesting and challenging..."it's like a word game and a puzzle, on steroids!"

Here's what our Scruble Cube looked like when it arrived. 
I'll bet yours will look very similar to this one!

Doctors these days say one of the best ways to fight against conditions like dementia and Altzheimers is to keep your brain active. Not to mention the fact that our young ones need ways to develop those important reasoning and critical thinking pathways in their brains...something outside of their regular school work. 

Sure, there are brain training games on your iPhone, but you can't stay plugged-in all the time. Really. You can't. Sometimes you need to do something that not only exercises your mind, but stretches it a bit farther...Sure, you could do another crossword puzzle or jumble, but why not try something new that is really going to give your spatial skills a work out? 

With Scruble Cube you will not only exercise the verbal part of your brain, you will give that part of it that has to manipulate objects (and understand their relationship to each other) some exercise, too. One of Tex's main challenges when he tried out Scruble Cube was to figure out how to manipulate the letters and get the ones he wanted from one side of the cube to the other. But don't worry, the nice folks at Scruble Cube provide a downloadable instruction sheet for those of us to whom making a Scruble Cube work doesn't come naturally. Thanks, guys. It helped.

Scruble Cube can be played individually, or competitively, by using the letters' point values in conjunction with the special bonus squares (just like in Scrabble) to calculate total number of points for each turn. 
There are 7.4 X 1045 possibilities (that's 7,401 septillion possible configurations, if you are counting) which means endless hours of game play for you! Of course, if you are determined to find the word "pie" no matter how long it takes (like Tex is doing in the photo above), you may be playing for a while...In the meantime, the rest of you can check out the video on the game's website to see the Scruble Cube in action. (disclaimer: we never managed to get the Scruble Cube to move as fast as they do in the video...the cube is a bit tough at times to manipulate, and we occasionally worried that a harsh move would have it in pieces...but it never did succumb to our manhandling).

There are many ways to use a Scruble Cube. That is one of the neatest things about it. Just get creative. You can play against yourself, trying to find word of a certain length, within a cerain amount of time, or of a particular point value. Likewise, you can challenge a friend, sharing the cube (or you could each have your own) and see who has the most points in a certain time period, or after five or ten turns (here's a printable score sheet), or just do one on one competitions like "I can find a five letter word in five minutes, can you?" and see how that goes...or how about this: "How long will it take you to find a noun? A verb?" Tada! It's our grammar lesson for today!

Here Tex has "found" the word "stew" (or "wets" backwards...do you get extra points for that?). It was worth 7 points based on tile number value, but because it was between a 2X and a 3X tile, it was worth a whopping 42 points! Good job, Tex!! You can make words going across, up and down, around the corner (on the same line), and you get extra points if you can manage to make a second word intersect with your first word without compromising either one. I did that. Once.

 See how they got the words Scruble and Cube on the face at the same time? Wow! I am thinking I am years away from that feat.

Tex kept his Scruble Cube on the bookshelf, away from tiny hands (there was some concern the little ones might drop it or turn it too hard and damage it, thereby rendering it unusable), in the Parlor where he does most of his schoolwork. Sometimes I would catch him playing with the cube instead of doing his math, English, or science. 

Aha! Caught you again, did I? Well, I guess you could argue that you are doing math, English, and maybe even a bit of science (logic and reasoning, anyway), whenever you are playing with the Scruble Cube. I will let you off this time. Hey, are you wearing two different colored socks? 

The clever folks at Scruble Cube received some pretty prestigious awards for their game.  Scruble Cube has been awarded the Seal of Excellence for the 2010 Creative Toy Awards by Creative Child Magazine and Best Picks New Products by Dr. ToyThese folks are big on education and they even offer lesson plans and challenge sheets to go with their product, in case you want to incorporate using the Scruble Cube into your daily homeschooling plans (or for an after school supplement, or just for good old plain fun!).

Tex thought the Scruble Cube was a lot of fun. He felt it rated about a four on a five point scale for him personally (he must admit he is fond of Chocolate Fix and Rush Hour, and measures everything against those). He thinks that for a real wordsmith, this game would definitely rate a five. He also felt that the game merited a three for workmanship (he felt rotating the sections was a bit tough, though that could have been our individual cube's issue) and gives the game a five for creativity and challenge.

He thinks this game would especially appeal to the wordsmith of your family. You know, those folks who love to trounce you playing Boggle every year at Christmas, or those folks who choose to play Scrabble on their phones instead of Angry Birds? But your average kids, ages 8 and up will find it interesting, too (we thought this age range was right on, as Ladybug, age 7 played with it a bit, but it didn't hold her interest as much as it might in a few months or a year). They will especially appreciate it as a change of pace from their usual lessons. You won't have to worry that they are wasting their brains away playing THIS game, and it just might keep them occupied in the car long enough for you and your honey to have a REAL conversation on your next long car trip.

If you'd like to check out other reviews by members of the TOS Crew, you will find them HERE.

 The Scruble Cube retails for $24.95 and comes with the cube, a score pad of paper, a sand timer, the instructions, and a getting started guide.  


(and Tex)

As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received the Scruble Cube for free in order to review it here on my blog. I only recommend products we truly enjoyed and I try to be completely honest about our experiences with a product. If you have any questions about this review, please feel free to contact me.


Heather said...

Wow, thanks for this.. Glad you found my blog and then I found you. My children LOVE scrabble, this looks like so much fun. Thanks again. Can't wait to purchase it, I think it will make a GREAT Christmas gift. :)

The Red Brick Farmhouse said...

WOW....this sounds like an AWESOME game! I think it's going on my TO BUY list for Kiddo!

Blessings and thanks for the review!


Tim @ Families Again said...

Ah If I could just get my kids to play scrabble on our tablet instead of angy birds...

Oh well, at least they like the scruble cube!

Tim from the crew

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