Moe's Game Table: Match Madness Review

Moe's Game Table: Match Madness Review

Publisher: FoxMind

Game Designer: Jeppe Norsker

Players: 1-4

Playing Time: 10-20 minutes

Ages: 7 and up


Puzzle palace

If you’re a fan of puzzle games, I’ve got a neat little gem for you. The folks at FoxMind have just released a dandy speed pattern puzzler called Match Madness. This entertaining and challenging puzzle solving game has great components and easy rules, making it a sure fire hit with friends and family this holiday season.

Ready, set, solve!

The object of Match Madness is extremely simple, as is the gameplay. Take your set of five, four-sided blocks and match the image shown on the current pattern card faster than your opponents. Each card that you solve first is kept for end game scoring and the player with the most cards wins. An alternative scoring mechanism has cards scored based on their level of difficulty, which levels the field quite a bit.

Once everyone has their blocks, players decide on the number of puzzles they want to solve. Shuffle the deck and deal that many cards to the center of the table face down. When everyone is set, flip the first card over and get to work.

Once a puzzle card is claimed as solved, all players stop and together check the solution for accuracy. If it’s correct, the card is awarded to that player and play moves on to the next puzzle. If not, then that player is out for the round and everyone continues solving the puzzle until a correct solution is found. That’s it, a very simple and easily understood game for every age.

Two player setup

Two player setup

The first things you’ll notice about Match Madness are the components. The blocks are really nicely done, chunky plastic blocks with a great feel to them. They are individually numbered so everyone has an identical set. All four sides of the blocks are adorned with a mix of color coded symbols, making up 20 unique pairs with countless combinations during layout.

The same holds true for the cards, they’re big and easy to read, using the same symbology found on the blocks. Every card is clearly marked with its level, from 1 through 5, for scoring purposes and noting its level of challenge. Using the symbols also makes both the blocks and cards easy to distinguish for those players who are color blind.

There are five different levels of pattern cards, with level 1 being the easiest and having more than one way to be solved. As the levels increase all the way to level 5, so does the challenge while the room for error narrows.

One cube short of solving a fifth level puzzle

One cube short of solving a fifth level puzzle

At the highest level, there is only one solution to the puzzle and this will get you often. Right when you think you’ve solved it first is when you realize that last block you have is the wrong one. Yea, it’s happened to me once or twice. Ok, it’s happened to me a couple of more times than that, quite often actually. But by backtracking through my moves, I can usually solve it fairly quickly from there.

There are a couple of different ways to play the game. The first is the simplest, with the player with the most solved cards as the winner. If there is a tie, the player with the most level 5 cards is the winner. This is a great way to play with beginner players and little ones, although you may be shocked to find the youngsters are faster at pattern recognition than you!

For a more challenging scoring setup, the cards can be scored based on their difficulty level. Level 1-2 cards score one point per card, level 3 nets you two points and level 4-5 are worth three per card. This is a great game for the experienced or older players, offering the best challenge.

Four player game

Four player game

Match Madness revolves around a simple concept but using three-dimensional blocks makes it much more challenging and fun than it would be as simply a flat puzzle game. This is a great game to play with kids because it not only teaches pattern recognition but reasoning under a little bit of pressure. As I said before, don’t be too shocked when the kids solve these puzzles faster than you do. It has happened to me more than one time!

Another added benefit is that the game can be played solo, making this a good cognitive exercise for people with slight memory issues through injury or illness. The puzzle solving and spatial awareness in resolving the puzzle with the blocks is a great way to keep the mind engaged while having a bit of fun mental exercise.

Overall, Match Madness is a really fun game that can be played competitively or casually, solitaire or with a group.

Final verdict?

The blocks in Match Madness provide twenty different faces of paired symbols that you need to wade through while deciphering the puzzles. This forces you to think quickly and spatially as well as on a flat plane, recognizing and remembering which blocks hold the patterns you need. Those big, chunky blocks are also quite satisfying to play with, adding a nice tactile bonus to the game.

The more often you play, the better you will get at recalling which symbols are on which blocks. However, so will the other players, making the challenge tougher and the race to the solution that much more tense.

If you’re a fan of puzzle games, Match Madness will provide hours of enjoyment for your friends and family and is one that deserves to be on your shelf!

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Note: A copy of this game was provided to me for this review.

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