I have been trying out the multi award-winning Genius collection of puzzle games from The Happy Puzzle Company and absolutely love them. I have enjoyed playing The Genius Square, thought that its successor, The Genius Star, was much more entertaining as it was more challenging and loved that they both can be played as solo games or two player games, and that every puzzle combination ALWAYS has a solution – totally GENIUS. As much as I love the games, it’s now time to level up and play The Genius Gems!
The Genius Gems is a logic puzzle game for 1-2 players, aged 8+ to adult. It has a genius level rating of 4 lightbulbs (with 5 being the highest level), or More Challenging if numbers and symbols are not your thing. It has 10,794 possible puzzle combinations so you are always going to be playing a different game! And as with the other games in the Genius Collection, each one of the 10,794 puzzle combinations ALWAYS has at least one solution.
In the box:
- 2x Genius Gems Grids
- 2x Sets of Ten, Double-sided Hexagon Clusters
- 5x ‘Basic’ Dice (White)
- 3x ‘Dastardly’ Dice (Black)
- 1x ‘Devilish’ Die (Red)
- 1x Dice Shaker (including 5 Coloured ‘Wells’)
The Genius Square and The Genius Star (part of The Happy Puzzle Company’s The Genius Collection) sees players having to build their shape pieces around blockers on a grid. The Genius Gems has the same premise, but to make it different it does have a twist. Firstly, the board is different. Secondly, the playing pieces are clusters of different coloured hexagon gems. Thirdly, there are different levels to play and finally, there are no blockers to build around.
Playing The Genius Gems is a bit different than its predecessors as there are no blocker pieces to place on the grid and build around. With this game, you need to fill your grid with clusters of coloured gems, but as it is a Genius game its not that simple – you have to fill the grid with your gem clusters that match the patterns on the dice you have rolled! Quite a challenge, but lots of brain-teasing fun.
To play, whether solo or against another player, take a Genius Gems grid and a set of ten double-sided gem clusters. Decide what level to play (as they require different dice) – you can play Basic (uses the five white dice), Dastardly (uses five dice but white dice can be swapped out for one, two or three of the black Dastardly dice) or Devilish (uses five dice but one white dice is swapped out with the red Devilish dice). The Basic level is the simplest level, Dastardly and Devilish introduce more complex patterns and are more difficult with Devilish being the hardest level. Once you have picked you level, place the five dice for the level you are playing in the dice shaker and give it a good shake, the five dice should each go into a well in the base of the shaker and this becomes the pattern (and colour) you need to create as fast as you can on the grid. The game has 10,794 possible puzzle combinations and each one will always have at least one solution.
Overall, this is an excellent challenging game. Before playing, I thought that without the blockers that the previous games used it wasn’t going to be as challenging or as much fun – but I was very, very wrong. The Genius Gems doesn’t have the word genius in its title just to try and expand a collection of games – it is indeed genius! It is a lot more challenging than I originally believed it would be and is excellent brain-teasing fun. I think I prefer this one more as a solo challenge, but it is still great as a two-player game.
The challenge of The Genius Gems is not about only to be able to place the gem clusters onto the grid to fill it but to arrange colours and patterns that match the random throw of dice, and it really is an excellent challenge – especially when adding in the more complex patterns of the different dice and in different combinations (the hardest being 1 white basic die, 3 black dastardly dice and the 1 red devilish die).
This is an excellent puzzle game to challenge yourself, whether that’s against the clock or not, or to challenge other players. The different graded levels are excellent, perfect for beginners to experts, and the shape and colour matching aspect also make it an excellent STEM game that help to develop skills such as strategic planning and visual perception.
As with its predecessors it comes with two boards and playing pieces, which I just love as it means it can be a sociable game to pit your wits against family and friends as well as being a solo game that you can play by yourself whenever you want. And it also has a solution to each and every one of its thousands of puzzle combinations, so you know that there is always at least one way to solve the puzzle in front of you.
The Genius Gems is excellent fun, a real brain-teasing challenge – a fantastic GEM of a game. A excellent game for solo play or family game nights.