Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Make 'n Break Extreme

Make 'n Break Extreme

Spring 2008 Games
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Ravensburger
Price: $29.99
This is a game of visual memory, speed and dexterity as players race to build, within a time limit, as many structures as possible that match illustrations on "building cards." Those 80 cards each show a structure of colored blocks which the player must replicate with all the correct blocks in the correct place before the timer runs out. The building blocks are ten "pentomino"-style geometric shapes. Make sure your players realize that all the structures must be built vertically. Our first testers started building their structures flat on the table, exactly as shown on the cards! Easy, but hardly challenging.

Each building card includes a numeral representing its point value, which is related to the ease or difficulty of that structure. There are also some "extreme" cards that give options for building original structures, earning extra points, or passing blocks to another player. At the end of each turn the builder receives tokens showing the number of points earned for the competed building cards. The game ends when every player has had five turns, after which the player with the most points is the winner of the game.

The game contains an element of luck because each player's first move is to toss a die to determine how long the timer will run. This and other features make it possible to adapt the game to the needs of the players. For younger children the timer can be set for the longest time. Also, only the easiest building cards (#1) can be used. More experienced players can use only the more difficult cards (#3 and extreme cards). Those of different abilities can play together by limiting the youngest or beginner players to the easiest building cards (#1), while saving the more difficult cards (#3 and extreme cards) for older or more experienced players. The game can be shortened by playing fewer than five rounds.

Ruth B. Roufberg   ©2008 Parents' Choice

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