Game Review: Quadrillion

Smart Games put some smart thinking into this solo-player puzzle!

When I was a kid, my math teacher mother prepared for summer by buying math workbooks for us kids. Despite the stickers and cute illustrations, it just felt like more homework.  During the school year there’s a lot of learning to be done; teachers have topics they must cover and criteria they need to meet, and it’s impossible to make every topic enjoyable.  But summer is different.  I believe summer learning should be fun. 

Looking back at my childhood, I wish my mother would have ditched the workbooks and instead focused on brainteasers, puzzles, games – things that masked the learning.  Like most kids, summer made me want to ditch the books and pencils and play with physical stuff. 

When I heard this newsletter’s topic was “Preparing for Summer” I knew exactly which new product I wanted to cover: Quadrillion, by Smart Games.  Launched this year, I saw Quadrillion for the first time at New York Toy Fair and was geeked by the four 2-sided magnetic board tiles.  They neatly align in a really satisfying way!  And even though the tiles are squares, they have two magnetic points on each side so there are a variety of non-square way to configure the tiles to create your playing grid. The twelve colorful pieces are a series of balls attached together to make different shapes.  The goal of Quadrillion is simple: first, you align the tiles to make a board, and then you need to fit all of the pieces on the grid.  There are holes that have been filled in on each board, so balls can’t sit in that grid space, which adds to the challenge.  But that’s not all!!  What I really love is the limitless possibilities of this puzzle. 

To me, one of the downfalls of the solo-brainteaser market is that when you’ve completed all of the given puzzles you’re done.  Not in Quadrillion.  As the name implies, there are TONS of different puzzle possibilities.  Not only does it come with a booklet of sixty puzzles, but you can rearrange the tiles in eleven different board configurations and it’s solvable!  When you make your own puzzle, there might be one solution or there might be a few (or even quite a few) – but regardless, you’ll never run out of puzzles to play.  There are tips in the instructions on how to make easier puzzles and more challenging ones, so you’re not blindly guessing what kind of puzzle you’re creating.  In my house, one person makes the puzzle and the other person has to solve it.  It makes for a fun multi-player experience for a solo-player game. 

Lastly, the game comes with a voucher to play other games on  The site usually has membership costs associated with it, but you get a free month of access to try out some of their other titles.  Personally, I like the tactile feel of most of these games, but it’s nice to have the option to try before you buy for some of the other titles.   

If you’re looking for an expert in the game industry, you’re probably looking for Kim Vandenbroucke. Not only does she review games at The Game Aisle, but she also designs them and is one of those people that companies call when they need to have a game designed.

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