Marbles Brain Workshop's Rock Me Archimedes is a two-player abstract game of critical thinking, coordination, and balance. It comes with 12 black and 12 white marbles, one rocker board, platform, marble tray, and die. The game draws inspiration from its namesake, the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes known for creating machines and explaining the principle of the lever, or in playground terms a teeter-totter. The rocker game board acts as this component in the game, featuring 16 rows and three columns of spaces for the marbles. The game was created by Matt Buchanan, who won the 2012 Marbles Game Design Contest.
In this two-player game, the goal is to move at least four of your 12 marbles to one end of the board without either end of the board touching the table at any time.
The game begins with no marbles on the board, and the board balanced level. Each player receives 12 marbles of one color, and chooses one end of the board as his/her goal. Players take turns moving. On a given turn, players choose to either place a marble in the two central rows of the board or roll the die, which gives you a number to move an already placed marble. You may also decide to split the number between two marbles. For example, if you roll a three, you can move one marble one space and another marble two spaces. When moving marbles on the board, you can move vertically or horizontally only.
You can also jump your opponent's pieces. When moving your marbles, you can choose to pick it up and place it in a new space or if you are worried about balance, use the boards grooved pathways to roll it from one space to the next. The first player to place four marbles in your goal spaces (last two rows on the end of the board) wins the game. However, if the board touches the table at any time before that during a turn, that player loses and the game ends.
We love the high-quality look of this game, which---for those that care about this sort of thing---can easily sit out on display and look like a piece of art. As for the gameplay, it's simple, straight-forward, and offers a ton of repeat play-ability. It kind of reminds us a bit of two-player games like checkers or Mancala but with, perhaps, a bit more strategy required thanks to the balancing board.
The Marble Brain Workshop Rock Me Archimedes is for ages 8 and up. There is a bit of a learning curve the first few rounds to figure out strategy and there is a fair amount of fine motor skills required. It will appeal to players that like strategy games.
Each game can take anywhere from from 5-20 minutes, so you can easily play a few rounds in one sitting.
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