When he was in JK, our eldest son was labeled a “genius.” The fact that his teacher prefaced her opinion on his smarts with the phrase, “He’s just like my son,” meant that we could safely ignore this particular label. We patted ourselves on the back for being such grounded and sensible parents, for not taking this hyperbole seriously, and we filed her observation under “narcissistic,” and did a little happy dance when she retired.
Our youngest, however, is, in our expert opinion, a genius. We base this diagnosis entirely on the fact that he can predict, up to six moves ahead, whether he will win or lose a Connect 4 game. Neither my husband nor I have a particular aptitude for spatial logic, so, when we see it in the youngest of the fruit of our loins, we can only deduce that it’s genius because we did not teach it to him. The fact that, at the ripe old age of 5, he’s probably played the requisite 10,000 hours of Connect 4 on the computer to pass the Malcolm Gladwell test of expertise, may have something to do with his uncanny powers of prediction, but, because I cannot beat him at a game of Connect 4, I’m sticking with the whole genius thing.
Of course, being able to quickly predict the outcome of a game rather takes the interest out of it, so it wasn’t long before he was looking for the next thing. His JK teacher (lovely lady, no signs of narcissism) found it in the form of Gobblet, a game of strategy very much like Connect 4, but much more unpredictable. Now, she did not tell us that he’s a genius, but she did say, “He’s hooked. He’s very good, but it’s all he wants to do. It’s a bit of an obsession, actually.”
In other words, he’s a genius, right? I made a mental note to get a game for the home front so that we could nurture this incredible talent.
So, I was delighted when, quite by coincidence (really), Blue Orange, the makers of Gobblet, sent 4 Mothers a sample game. Hurrah! We could have the game of
obsession genius at home!
All silliness aside, since it has come into our house two weeks ago, Gobblet has been in use daily. All three of the boys, aged 5-12, enjoy challenging each other to a game, and it is a remarkably even game for all of them. It is very much like Connect 4, but complicating the task of lining up four pieces in a row is the fact that the pieces nest inside one another, and you can “gobble” an opponent’s smaller pieces. One game can take as little time as 30 seconds if you are not paying attention, or it can go on for ages as you manoeuver pieces around the board. I have loved having it at home, not least because of my fondness for games that encourage kids to think ahead, to think before they act, but because of the boys’ obvious pleasure playing the game.
If you are on the lookout for a new board game for your home, I can recommend this one highly.