A few years ago, I thought I would help out the parents of my gifted and talented students by writing about some games, toys, or books that I thought might make good purchases during the holiday season. I called the series of posts, “Gifts for the Gifted,” and I have continued to do it annually on every Friday in November and December. These gifts are suggestions for any child – not just those who qualify for a GT program. Sometimes I receive a free product for review, but I am not paid for these posts, and I never recommend a product that I wouldn’t buy for my own child. For past “Gifts for the Gifted” posts, you can visit this page.
My annual “Gifts for the Gifted” lists wouldn’t be complete without at least one game from ThinkFun. This company is one of my favorite sources for entertaining educational games and my students always enjoy reviewing new ones as well as playing the classics.
Clue Master is one of ThinkFun’s newer products. It’s a “logical deduction” game that is somewhat like Sudoku. Although it is labeled as a single-player game, my students and I like to play in pairs, alternating puzzles. Designed for ages 8 and up, it does one of the things that ThinkFun does best with games like this – scaffolding. The challenges slowly increase in difficulty so that anyone can work through them at their own pace without feeling bored or frustrated.
The game puzzles and solutions are contained in a sturdy book, and you will also find 9 magnetic tokens, a game grid, and instructions in the box. Each challenge gives you a picture of the grid with some clues to the locations of each of the tokens. The player’s job is to use the clues to deduce where all of the tokens should be placed.
The graphics have the pixelated look of Minecraft, which immediately draws the attention of young people. Don’t be fooled, however. Adults will have just as much fun trying to solve the challenges once they skip through the beginning puzzles. Spatial reasoning is definitely a requirement in addition to logic, and many of us can use a bit more practice in both.
With these types of games, I’ve found that part of the appeal to my young partners is for them to see me struggle through it. I also enjoy when they verbalize their thought processes and come to the realization that all of these can be solved through reasoning – not guess & check. This is why I would recommend that, if you purchase Clue Master as a gift, you make plans to enjoy it with the recipient instead of expecting him or her to go off an play it alone. Both of you will find the experience much more rewarding.
For more game recommendations, check out my Pinterest Board, which includes more products from ThinkFun as well as other great companies.