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Ubongo 3D

A 3D remake of Ubongo published by KOSMOS, this game has all players working simultaneously on a tactile puzzle, racing to complete it before the timer runs out.

Can you place the right blocks in the right order to fit the pattern? Complete it before any other players to earn a bonus!

Gameplay

At the start of the game, players decide which level of difficulty they will be playing during the game. Each player receives a stack of nine puzzle boards in their chosen difficulty level.

Every round, players take the top puzzle board from their stacks and place it in front of themselves. Each board shows a number of white squares in different shapes. You roll a die and compare the number to the information marked on your puzzle board, which tells you which puzzle pieces you will be using. Each player takes the required pieces and the timer is started.

To complete the puzzle you must place your puzzle pieces over the white squares so that no squares are showing, no portion of the pieces fall outside the whites spaces, and no puzzle piece is more than two levels high.

The first player to complete the puzzle earns a blue gem and draws another at random from the gem bag. The second player earns a yellow gem and draws a second at random from the bag. Any other players who complete the puzzle before the timer runs out get to draw a gem from the bag (but receive no bonus gems). If no one is able to solve the puzzle before the timer runs out, you start the timer again for a second chance, which plays the same way.

After the round is over, the current puzzle board is discarded. Once you have played through all nine boards, the game ends, and players count up the points from their gems. Red gems are worth four points, blue are worth three, green two, and yellow one. The player with the most points wins the game.

Ubongo 3D Components

Review

Ubongo 3D is essentially the same game as Ubongo, with only a few minor differences. However, the 3D element really does increase the game’s challenge by a lot, as you consider how the blocks will fit together on both levels.

The puzzles come in a range of difficulties, but we found even the easiest ones to be tough. It takes some time to get used to working with the blocks and to develop strategies for how to best fit them together quickly. You definitely have to think outside of the box, and that makes it quite satisfying when you do manage to solve the puzzles.

Generally, the components are well made. The drawstring gem bag is nice, and the blocks in particular are solid and chunky and have some heft to them, giving the game a lovely tactile feel that is quite enjoyable. However, the puzzles are printed on card stock as opposed to the heavier cardboard used in the original game. This makes them a bit flimsier, but does allow for more puzzles to be included in the box. Also, the wooden die was missing some paint on a few of the pips, and we did miss the board for tracking the round number.

The increased challenge makes this a game worth owning in its own right, even if you already have the original. There is room for both games, although new players and younger players should probably not start with the 3D version, as they would probably find it too challenging. We found the puzzles fascinating and engaging, and would happily work our way through all of them as a solo game (without the timer for a more relaxed puzzle experience).

Pros: Fascinating puzzles, good quality blocks, tactile gameplay

Cons: Difficulty may frustrate some players, some minor component issues

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.