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Game Review

Shapes Up

Ages 7 and up
Educational Insights
Game © 1999 Kidology
game setup

2-4 Players30+ minutes


Race to complete a large square shape on your gameboard using different sized triangles and squares.


Each player begins with a single black square board. Players decide who goes first.

On a turn, the player rolls the die. The result of roll will determine the piece you get to place on your board. Rolling a small triangle, big triangle or square means that the player selects the appropriate shape from the main stack for placement. Rolling a "hand" means that the player is to take a piece from another player's board.

You may only steal a piece that is touching the outside border of your opponent's play mat. that means that piece in the center are off limits.

Once the piece is in hand, the player has ten seconds to place the piece. (There is a timer provided with the game.)

When placing pieces, they must align properly on the white grid lines to be legal. Further, the same color pieces may only touch at the points, they may not share a side.

After your piece is placed, play proceeds to the next player.

If you roll a shape that has run out from the main stack, you lose that turn. If you roll the hand and no one has anything to steal, you may take a piece of your choice from the stack.

game in play

Winning Conditions:

  • The player who has successfully completes the large square without breaking any color or placement rules, wins.

a winning combo

Our Opinion:

Thumbs down!Committing to a simple "thumbs up or down" for this game was very difficult for us. Simply put, there aren't really any major problems in the rules or how the game was constructed. Our problem with the game was that we felt that it would have limited replay value. It was not fun enough to inspire the competitive drive to play it over and over.

One of the plusses for this game is the option to "steal" pieces from other players. This rule makes the players interact, and almost manages to get the game interesting. For younger kids, who are clearly the target audience for the game, the stealing option can be good or bad depending upon the group of kids -- we could see it causing a fight because one kid picked on another by stealing consistently from him/her; we could also see it keeping the game lively and giving some satisfaction to a younger player getting to interrupt another child's seemingly good shape building. It's a touchy option that depends upon the kids playing.

After a long discussion, we concluded that this was a game that resides in a classroom -- and is only played when the children cannot go outside for a recess. Assembling the shapes is fun for a short time, but it doesn't inspire a kid to play the game more than twice. It's good for logic and spatial relations, but it misses a subtle ingredient that would encourage kids to play it often.

Where to buy:

Any local toy store or educational game store. Check here for store locations. It costs about $20.

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