Rubik’s Race and other puzzle challenges

Rubik's Race board game

It’s not a Rubik’s Cube, but it’s got the Rubik’s name.

Earlier this year, Caleb noticed a Rubik’s Cube on one of our shelves and set out to solve it.

The colorful puzzle cube captured all his attention for quite some time. Before long he had figured it out and was challenging us to mix it up “harder” to see how long it would take him to solve it.

On average he was solving it in 1 minute 10 seconds. And like you’d imagine, he loved getting under 1 minute.

So when we saw a game called Rubik’s Race, of course we were interested.

The good news for me though is that the game isn’t about seeing who the fastest person is to solve a Rubik’s Cube – otherwise I’d never stand a chance against Caleb.

Instead, Rubik’s Race is a short and fun 2-player challenge of getting colored tiles into position before the other player.

Rubik's Race board game

Rubik’s Race is a quick 2-player challenge.


How to play Rubik’s Race

If you’ve ever played with one of those number sliding puzzles where you have to get the numbers 1-15 in order, you’ll know how to play Rubik’s Race.

The objective in Rubik’s Race is to be the first player to get their colored tiles in the correct pattern.

The challenge is that the pattern to solve changes randomly every game.

To set up, each player places 4 tiles of each color randomly on their side of the board.

When both players are ready, one player shakes the pattern cube and sets it where both players can see the pattern.

Then the race is on!

Players slide the colors around their board trying to match the pattern from their point of view.

The first player to match the pattern wins.

Since the player boards are a 5 x 5 grid and the pattern to complete is a 3 x 3, only the tiles in the inner 3 x 3 area count in matching the pattern.

If needed, between the play areas is a border that can be rotated down to check the pattern. It simply covers the outer ring so only the 3 x 3 area is seen.

Because the border ring is open, players can see how well their opponent is doing. That is if they want to take their eyes off solving their own puzzle for a moment.

Rubik's Race board game

The central 3 x 3 area needs to match the solution.


Can the whole family enjoy Rubik’s Race?

Rubik’s Race is a great mental challenge for the whole family.

Not everyone may like slider puzzles. But since it’s a light game, even those that don’t like slider puzzles may still be up for playing.

On the other hand, those that do like these type of puzzles will definitely enjoy playing Rubik’s Race.

It’s fun to play a very quick challenge against each other.

And because each game is so quick, no one wants to stop after just one game.

We’ll at least play best 3 out of 5 or 5 out of 7. But we’ve also played up to the best 13 out of 25!

Since the tiles in the player’s boards are random at the start of a challenge, the pattern to solve may favor one player over another. But since the shaker randomizes the pattern each game, it won’t favor the same player every time.

As with many abstract 2 player games, it’s usually most enjoyable to compete against players of similar abilities. Yet at the same time it can also be fun to be challenged against someone more experienced.

So kids may enjoy playing against their parents in Rubik’s Race. (Of course if parents aren’t comfortable with slider puzzles, kids will especially like to challenge them.)

Rubik’s Race is a nice challenge for developing minds as well as keeping older minds sharp.

Rubik's Race board game

Are you up to the challenge?


More challenges from University Games

University Games also has plenty of other mental challenges that are great for people of all ages.

The first type we became familiar with were the Smart Egg Labyrinth Puzzles.

These are puzzles where players must move a rod through an unseen maze within an egg. They come in various challenge levels and our kids like to go straight for the most challenging.

Egg Labyrinth game

The Secret Egg Labyrinth puzzles are a fun single player challenge.

Another set of brain teaser puzzles they offer are Hanayama Puzzles.

We’ve tried the Keyhole (level 4), H&H (level 5), and Nutcase (level 6) and they’re definitely all challenging.

We still have yet to solve Nutcase.

The quality of the puzzles are terrific. They’re each made of metal and are very durable.

Hanayama Puzzle

There are a bunch of Hanayama Puzzles that are very challenging to solve.

The last type of puzzles we want to share with you are their 3D Crystal Puzzles.

These are very cool 3D plastic puzzles of different formations. We’ve put together the level 1 Cheshire Cat and Panda but haven’t yet completed the level 2 Classic Car.

Crystal 3D puzzle

The 3D Crystal Puzzles are fun to figure out.

We like taking them apart after finishing them, but you could also leave them put together and keep them as little display pieces.

These are just a few of the fun challenging puzzles University Games makes for people of all ages. You can check out even more in their catalog on the University Games website.

And many of them make great Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers.

Crystal 3D puzzle

There are plenty of 3D Crystal Puzzles to choose from.

We’d like to thank University Games for Rubik’s Race and challenging puzzles to review.


Comments: 2

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Rubik’s Race looks identical to Square Up by MindWare, but with the bolder Rubik’s Cube colours. I am pretty sure that Square Up has been discontinued. People were commenting that the stickers came off the cubes in the shaker, though we haven’t had an issue with our copy yet. I wonder if University Games has picked it up? (And hopefully used a new kind of sticker glue if that was an issue in the past!)




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