Dimension

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In the puzzle game Dimension six task cards are laid out each round, with these cards dictating how the balls in the game should be stacked on top of one another and side to side. These challenges aren’t easy as some colors shouldn’t touch one another. Fast puzzle-solving is important, but more than that in the end whoever solves the most of these difficult tasks wins. &…
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Category Tags , SKU Z-THKO-692209 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Easy to learn
  • Accessible abstract puzzle that’s fun for everyone
  • Strategic and visual
  • Realtime but not a race
  • Dexterity but also strategic

Might Not Like

  • Wooden spheres could have been nicer quality
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Description

In the puzzle game Dimension six task cards are laid out each round, with these cards dictating how the balls in the game should be stacked on top of one another and side to side. These challenges aren't easy as some colors shouldn't touch one another.

Fast puzzle-solving is important, but more than that in the end whoever solves the most of these difficult tasks wins.

 

KOSMOS are doing something cool. They have done it before, of course (hint: look at Aqualin and Ubongo series!). “What is it?” Well, they are making abstract strategy games fun. And not just that, but fun for everyone!

I admit that I hadn’t heard of Dimension before playing it. And when I saw the box, I thought it was a straight up dexterity game. Stacking coloured spheres to build pyramids at high speed. Sounded fun, but not much to it. And with a hand disability, I guessed I would be coming in last every time. Which I am fine with, don’t get me wrong -Mini-meeple loves a good stack ’em and crack ’em type game, and I would never refuse to play them with him. But I like to know that’s what I am in for when I come to the table.

I was wrong. Dimension isn’t a dexterity game although it does involve building. Dimension isn’t a race against each other although it does involve a timer. Dimension is in fact an accessible, family friendly, fun, abstract puzzle game for 1-4 players!

So, how does it play?

Set Up!

Every round, you have your own board (note: the little rubber feet are an absolute blessing!) and set of 15 spheres (3 each of 5 different colours). You also start with 10 points (niiiiice!!). Then, having shuffled the pile of objective cards, 6 are picked at random and flipped face up.

The cards show the “tasks” that you’re trying to achieve when forming your pyramid that round. They are a real mixture and include things like:

·         Orange and green spheres must not touch;

·         Blue spheres cannot be below any other sphere; or

·         There must be more white spheres in play than black spheres etc.

When the timer begins, you all have 60 seconds to build your own pyramids. Once the time runs out, it’s time to stop and score for that round.

And point awarding is friendly and fiendish in Dimension. You get a point for each ball you use in your pyramid, no matter how low or high you reach. As such, going big every time is the ideal situation. Then if you manage to build your structure according to all six tasks in play that round, you get a bonus token.

For each task you don’t smash, however, you get two points deducted from your round total, and no bonus tile for you! So far, so sort-of friendly. However, and here’s a sneaky kicker; as you would expect, bonus tokens reward extra points at end game. But, if you haven’t achieved a specific number of bonus tokens by that time, you get a big penalty in the form of negative points!

To begin a new round, you clear the run of tasks and flip 6 new ones from the stack. Return your spheres to the holding rows on your board, and then flip the timer back.

After 6 rounds, the game ends, and whoever has the most points (after making any adjustments for bonus tokens) is the winner of Dimension!

Popping Pyramids

Dimension is a great game for us. The rule set is super simple, rounds are fast, and everyone has a chance to gain at least some points every round. Plus, most important of all, it is fun, spatial puzzly play for everyone around our table!

First game in, the pyramid penny also dropped, and by that I mean the name “Dimension” suddenly made complete sense. And that’s quite satisfying when it comes to abstract strategy games. Dimension is without doubt about thinking and testing you to think in multiple directions at the same time!

Being a self-confessed, spatially challenged gamer, I am also really pleasantly surprised that I don’t absolutely stink at playing it! I’m not sure whether It’s due to the fact that there are multiple chances to score points each round. Or that the pain of not doing well on a given round is so fleeting that my brain doesn’t waste precious time over analysing my choices and berating myself for woeful choices. With the same set of coloured spheres, it’s simply down to how well each player visualises a particular combination within our own constructions. And that can make it hard for any one player to get too far ahead which keeps everyone interested to the end.

I have no doubt that once my husband gets into the groove, he will start racking up bonus tiles like a boss. But, thanks to another brilliant, unusual feature of this abstract game – aka solo play – I can practice without him! And, if we are all going head to head on the pyramid piling points too often, we can increase the tasks to 8 per round for even more brain bending three dimensional fun!

Pyramid Paper Cuts

Speaking of which, we also discovered quite early on that this game has a sneaky side. And not just in the scoring. With multiple task types featuring variations using a limited number of colours, randomly selected cards can (and will!) contradict each other. It made achieving maximum marks impossible, but these sticky situations are super interesting in terms of seeing what tasks each player prioritises in their build. It becomes a big part of your points strategy. And seeing is 100% what happens here – there is no hidden information. You can see what everybody is trying to do each round. But, with the pressure of real-time, there’s no chance to play copycat!

Final Thoughts

This game has no theme. But it’s an abstract puzzle game, so do we really need it based on bricks or set in Ancient Egypt? It also has lovely chunky components. The weighty spheres feel nice to hold, and they sit both in and on the thick (rubber footed!) boards with no obvious problems. True that the spheres are plastic (wood would have been nicer), but the box holds everything in really well. Our only real problem seems to be that the hourglass timer sticks so the length of time each round takes is an inexact science. And whilst this is a niggle, it is sometimes very handy indeed!

KOSMOS are seriously flying the flag for solo gamers right now, and I love it. First came Ubongo solo in their “Brain Games To Go” range, and now we have Dimension Solo! And somehow, they have managed to put the 3D pyramid building gameplay into a portable, flat packed case ready for playing here, there, or anywhere!

Don’t get me wrong. Dimension can be played solo and I really enjoy the single player variant that comes inside the box. But having my own wee puzzle that I can carry around with me and play any time I want adds another dimension to my solo gaming experience!

And with 200 challenges packed inside the small case, I am going to be dizzy for Dimension for some time to come!

So, how does it play?

Setting Up

The case contains everything you need – 20 puzzle cards, 15 plastic hemispheres (3 of each of the 5 colours), and the rule book (no peeking at the solutions…yet!). Super handily, the cards are stored snugly behind the lid which also acts as the board. Plus, the pieces are stored inside a drawer in the case that keeps them from rattling around too much. Oh, and that lid? Well, it’s shaped perfectly to keep those hemispheres in place when you’re getting your puzzle on!

The bottom half of each card has 5 challenges on it. The cards are colour co-ordinated from turquoise (easy) through to red (expert), and their difficulty most definitely increases as you progress through the spectrum. And side A of any colour is slightly less tricksy than side B.

The challenges are represented by icons printed on the cards which might look a little odd to begin with but quickly become familiar. Essentially, they are placement rules you must follow in order to win and move on to the next one.

To play, you choose a challenge card and pop it on top of the stack and then place the stack inside the case, closing the lid over it. Then it’s down to you to start placing the pieces according to the rules of each challenge!

Brain Training

Up to ten pieces can be stacked on top of the lid in a 6-3-1 formation, and some challenge cards have spheres pre-coloured on them to help if a challenge needs fewer than 10 pieces, it will make it clear on the card. And as well as the specific challenge you are targeting, there are also placement rules that apply to every challenge on it (shown on the top half of the card)!

The challenges are a really fun mix of mind melting puzzliness too, and include things like:

  • Use a certain number of a given colour; or
  • Two colours must touch (i.e. next to each other or above/below each other)/not touch each other; or
  • One colour must not form one of the 3 corners of the peak of the pyramid; or
  • One colour must touch at least one hemisphere of every other colour!

And when you complete one, take all the pieces off again and move on to the next. Once you have completed side A of a card, flip it over and work through the 5 on side B. Then, once all 10 are under your belt, you can move onto a fresh card and try those! Don’t worry if you ever get stuck – the solutions are in the rulebook and there’s a KOSMOS app/video support to assist you!

Final Thoughts

Dimension has been a great choice for us as a family. The rule set is super simple, the rounds are fast, and everybody has a chance to gain at least some points every round. Plus, most important of all, it is fun, spatial puzzly play for everyone around our table! And this to-go solo version does a really good job of capturing the spatial, co-ordination based play of the original.

You’re still thinking in multiple levels. You’re still trying to satisfy a number of restrictions, and your brain will buzz as you try to balance the general and specific placement rules in play. There’s less of the teeth gnashing contradiction in the solo puzzle. And by that I mean, the randomness of the tasks drafted each round in the OG often presents multiple scoring objectives that are the direct opposites of each other. And that makes scoring them all impossi-ball! But there’s plenty of challenge to be had in this solo mode without that added layer. And from a spatial puzzle perspective, it definitely doesn’t feel like there’s anything missing.

The hemispheres work well too. Holding the perfectly round balls in your hand in the OG is top tier tactile delight. But that wouldn’t be practical in the set up and play of the to-go range. I’m still holding something smooth and lovely when I debate over where to put my next piece. And the fact they lock in place is really neat. It might have been helpful to have the colours also represented by patterns printed on the pieces and cards to help colour-blind/CVD players share the joy of this game. But it may be that the palette used is sensitive to such issues, and will be something I’ll follow up with the publisher.

Overall, I love the portability and ease of play in this game (and this range!). It’s a great alternative to whipping out my phone and playing on an app. In fact it’s better – I get the feel of a tabletop game without the space most of them take up! And I’m not the only one. When my husband or son see the turquoise case in my hand, they’re instantly by my side wanting to see if they can solve the challenge faster than me! And on that, having no time limit (well no official one anyway!) takes the pressure that I can feel in the OG off my muddled mind. The pace is what I set, and when playing it’s just me, myself and I!

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Easy to learn
  • Accessible abstract puzzle thats fun for everyone
  • Strategic and visual
  • Realtime but not a race
  • Dexterity but also strategic

Might not like

  • Wooden spheres could have been nicer quality