How quick are you at pattern recognition and puzzle solving?
In Match Madness players race to solve patterns using their set of colorful, chunky blocks.
Because there are varying difficulty levels of the patterns, it’s a fun game the whole family can enjoy playing together.
How to play Match Madness
There are 2 different ways to play Match Madness indicated in the rules — “Quick Play” and “Total Madness”.
However, we’ll even recommend a 3rd way that we call “To Each Their Own”.
Regardless of the chosen way to play, the first step to play is for each player to get their own set of blocks. The ends of each block are numbered (1-5) to make it easy for all players to know they have a correct and full set of blocks.
Each block contains 4 sets of paired symbols that are different on every block. So the challenge of the game, regardless of of which way you play, is to find the right pairs of symbols for the right locations.
In Quick Play, all of the pattern cards are shuffled together and players determine how many rounds they’d like to play. They then take that number of pattern cards from the deck and place them face down in the middle of the table.
The top card is flipped over and all players race to match the pattern using their set of blocks.
The first player to match the pattern calls out their match and grabs the card.
If a player grabs the card without making a correct match, they put the card back and sit out while the others continue to try to solve the pattern.
Once all the cards have been taken, the game ends.
The player with the most cards wins the game.
If there’s a tie for most cards, the player with the most level-5 cards wins (and so-on down the levels if the tie persists).
In Total Madness, the pattern cards are sorted by difficulty level into separate decks and shuffled separately. Cards are taken from each deck equal to the number of players and placed in their separate level stacks face up in the middle of the table.
On the count of three players race to match any of the displayed patterns they’d like.
As soon as a player matches one of the shown pattern cards, they shout “Match” and point to the pattern they match. Everyone briefly pauses to make sure it’s a match. If no one objects, the player takes the card (revealing another pattern below it) and play continues.
The game ends when all the cards have been collected.
Then players score their cards. Levels 1 & 2 cards are each worth 1 point per card. Level 3 cards are worth 2 points each. And cards of levels 4 & 5 are worth 3 points each.
Tie breakers are resolved the same way as in the Quick Play game.
To Each Their Own
Our iteration of the game, To Each Their Own, is a way to level the playing field so players that aren’t as quick at solving puzzles can still enjoy playing.
It’s a hybrid of the other two ways to play but mostly resembles Quick Play.
The pattern cards are separated into 2 different difficulty level decks. The level 1 & 2 cards are shuffled into an “easy” deck and the level 4 & 5 cards are shuffled into a “hard” deck.
Players determine how many rounds they’d like to play. They then take that number of pattern cards from the each deck and place them face down(in an “easy” and “hard” stack) in the middle of the table.
At the start of the game players also determine which stack they’ll play from and they can’t cross over. The game is then played out just like in Quick Play.
Once one stack of cards is depleted, the game ends and players count up their collected cards. The player with the most cards wins.
Can the whole family enjoy playing Match Madness?
Match Madness is absolutely a game that everyone in the family can enjoy playing!
The colorful, chunky blocks have a wonderful tactile feel to them and are simply fun to play with. Players of all ages will enjoy trying to match the pattern cards with them.
Match Madness is also a game kids can enjoy playing on their own.
The different ways to play the game are fun to switch between.
The only downside to the game we’ve found is that it can favor players who have a quick grasp of pattern recognition.
Since it’s a race, players who are quicker at solving pattern puzzles, will tend to dominate. And this can lead other players to lose interest after only a couple plays.
Thus, our hybrid rendition of the rules to better level the playing field.
If you’ve got a mix of older and younger players, making the race more evenly matched will help players of all skill ranges enjoy the game together.
We also wish there were more than 4 sets of blocks in the game so that more people could play at a time. Of course, the easy solution to that is to get multiple copies of the game!
How does Match Madness score on our “Let’s Play Again” game meter?
The game is so quick to play that playing multiple games is a no-brainer.
We’ve found that we’re not very good at selecting the number of rounds to in Quick Play because we always want to play “just one more”.
Yet we’ve also found that it’s better to restart after a set number of rounds than to just forego limiting the rounds overall. That way a “runaway” leader can be limited to one short game. Then everything resets and we go at it again.
If you haven’t guessed, we definitely recommend Match Madness as a great family board game!