Are you smarter than a Box of Rocks?
How about your family members and friends?
Well, now you can settle this unusual quandary!
Grab a copy of Box of Rocks and find out how smart you, your family, and friends are.
I admit when I first saw Box of Rocks at the Haywire Group booth at Gen Con 2016 I may have rolled my eyes. It sounded pretty ridiculous. Yet every time I passed their booth during those 4 days I took note that the ongoing tally between Humans and Rocks remained neck-and-neck the whole time.
So I finally stopped and gave it a go. Luckily I chalked up another point on the Human tally side.
We’ve had a copy of the game for a couple months now and we’ve played in many settings with a variety of people – all of which have gotten a kick out of it.
And we’ll happily tell you why…
How to play Box of Rocks
Playing Box of Rocks is almost simpler than falling off a log.
The objective is to see who is smarter, the human player or the box of rocks.
The game comes with 3 rocks: Two of the rocks have a number “1” on one side and are blank on the other. These two rocks are placed inside the box. The other rock is placed on the “Rock starts here” space of the score card. The wooden meeple is also placed on the score card in the “Human starts here” space.
The deck of cards is placed on the table (or held in hand) with the question sides up.
Then players decide who will get to answer the questions.
The other player reads a random question from the top card and the active player gives their answer. The answers to all questions will be either 0, 1, or 2 (because that’s as high as the rocks can count).
Once the player has given an answer, the reader shakes the box of rocks and opens the lid. The rocks will show their answer (again 0, 1, or 2) and then the card is flipped over to reveal the correct answer.
Whoever is correct (human and/or rocks) moves their pawn up one space on the score card. Obviously, if neither is correct, neither moves ahead.
Then the next question is read and the game continues in the same manner until either the Human or the Rocks reaches 3 points.
That’s absolutely all there is to the game.
Can the whole family enjoy playing Box of Rocks?
Box of Rocks doesn’t pretend to be anything more than it is – a simple and fun diversion.
And that’s the beauty of it.
Anyone can play anywhere!
We actually don’t know why the box has Ages 12+ on it because it shouldn’t be limited by age at all.
Sure young kids won’t know the answers to most of the questions. But then again, adults won’t know the answers to most of the questions either. (That was pretty obvious from the Gen Con running tally.)
We’ve played with both young kids and grandparents and everyone has had a fun time playing Box of Rocks.
We’ve also played in many different settings because of how small and portable it is.
This past week we took it with us on vacation and played it while eating dinner as well as while standing in lines. Sure it comes with markers to keep track of the scores, but that’s not necessary if you don’t have a place to put them – like while standing in line. Just hold the cards, ask the questions, and remember the score (it’s not very hard since you only play to 3 points). Just beware if you’re going to do this because you’ll get a lot more spectators who will also find out if you’re smarter than a box of rocks.
You’ve been warned.
Different Player Counts
The game box says it’s a 2-player game, but just like with the age recommendation we haven’t held back on player count either.
Caleb has had fun playing the game solo many times. He picks a question, answers, shakes the box, reveals the rocks’ answer, and then flips the card to see who scores. Of course he prefers others ask him the questions, but if no one’s around, he may not wait.
We’ve also made up our own “party” version of Box of Rocks.
While at a family gathering of about 12 people rather than letting each person take their turn against the box, we challenged everyone with each question. I asked the questions and everyone would use their hand to show their guesses (holding up 1 or 2 fingers or a fist for zero). Then we’ve shake the box and reveal the rocks’ answer before revealing the actual answer.
Since there were many of us, we used a whiteboard to mark everyone’s score. We also decided to play to 10 points instead of 3.
After playing a round to 10 points however, we realized we shouldn’t allow talking between when the question is asked and the correct answer is revealed. Why? Because groupthink takes over and makes it super easy for everyone to beat the rocks. As soon as people start sharing what they know about a topic, it will sway others’ answers too.
So that’s our tip if you’re going to play in “party mode” – keep the chatting to between questions only. And if you really want to test everyone on their own merits, you could even have them close eyes while showing their hand answers.
You may wonder what we could possibly say about the component quality for such a simple game. However, it’s worth making note of because of its simplicity.
We don’t know what material the rocks are made of (since they aren’t real rocks), but they work great. They’re flat enough so they have two distinct sides to easily show their answer when you open the lid of the box. Yet they also have a good “rock” look and feel – in color, texture, and weight.
The box itself is also very sturdy. And it’s a good thing too because it has to handle the vigorous shaking of the rocks. (At least in our house the shaking is pretty vigorous.)
The Question deck is also full of a wide variety of topics from sports to animals and pop culture to history. The game comes with 100 cards with 3 questions for a total of 300 questions. Taking into account incorrect guesses by both Human and Rock, a game may take up to 10 questions. At that rate, it would take 30 games to go through all the questions. But since most take only 5 or 6 questions, we figure it will be more like 50 or 60 games. And that’s a lot of games.
However, when you’ve got someone going through them like Caleb in solo play, you’re going to wish for more questions soon enough.
If there’s a board game begging to be made into an app, Box of Rocks is it. Only to digitize the questions and allow for more questions to be easily added though, NOT to digitize the Rocks. Let’s keep the shaking of the Rocks in the box. (Folks already distrust digital dice rolls. They’ll definitely distrust those ‘sneaky’ Rocks if they start losing to a digital version.)
How does Box of Rocks score on our “Let’s Play Again” game meter?
The game only takes a few minutes and can be played with anyone, anywhere. That’s why we have it in our “to go” area of games. Not only can we easily grab it for a quick play at home, but we can also quickly grab it when going on a trip or to a family gathering. Always at the ready.
Another simple reason why it scores high on our “let’s play again” game meter is because after losing to a box of rocks, we definitely want to go at it again.
We’d like to thank Haywire Group for a review copy of Box of Rocks.