Games that require thinking and problem-solving don’t have to be boring — in fact, they can be as much fun as riding a roller coaster. Make that “building” a roller coaster since that’s the basis of ThinkFun’s Roller Coaster Challenge. Children 5 and up aren’t going to be looking at a roller coaster on some tablet or digital app, but instead will be responsible for actually building one, albeit super far out of scale. And in the process the fun will be their learning logic skills too.
The basis for the game revolves around a challenge card.This asks the player to use pieces of tracks so as to assemble a working roller coaster on the game grid. Sounds simple? Not so much, because if the pieces aren’t assembled correctly, nothing is going to happen (or to be more accurate, the roller coaster won’t be able to make its way from the start t the finish).
The pieces are what makes the roller coaster function and consist of track pieces in 5 colors as well as post pieces and tunnel pieces. The posts hold the track in place as it winds its way across the grid, but obviously that isn’t a straight line — what roller coaster would accept such a nonsensical life? Not in this game, as the pieces themselves aren’t only in a straight line either but curve and twist as well. So as can be seen, assembling a roller coaster that meets the challenge card’s requirement takes some thought and effort. But that’s OK, because a successful assembly means watching the roller coaster car slide down the route that has just been put together, complete with dips and curves and loops even.
While the practical adult knows that the 40 logic puzzles are being combined with a free form style of assembly, the child just sees it as fun. Which is how it should be. Well sized and ruggedly built, the Roller Coaster Challenge retails for $29.99. Riding a roller coaster is fun, but building one that requires thinking can be even more so.