Posted on by Gabriel | 5 comments


(Click to Enlarge)

There have been quite some interesting puzzles and games coming out of the UK lately, and already reviewed by me. The iball3 and the Dioctipoid come to mind, and of course the Revomaze (V2 soon to be reviewed).

My latest discovery from the UK is the puzzle/game Culica, released in 2011 and was created by the Mad Inventor Duo (M.I.D.), with James Eadon as the game's inventor and Chris Ollivier as the entrepreneur and the business brains. What inspired the inventor to create the Culica was actually an iPhone App that James designed in 2008, called Culica Mobile. Since then, his company has already launched two new games based on the real Culica, the Culica Plasma and Culica Quest, which can be bought from their website's online store.

Now, to the actual game of Culica. The great thing about it is that there's not one, but a wide variety of single player and multi-player puzzles/games that you can play with the Culica, ranging from easy to advanced. Inside the package comes a cube and 84 pegs (28 red, 28 yellow, 14 blue and 14 green). Why less blue and green pegs? - Because with two players you can fill the entire 54 slots (9 per face) available in the cube and with four players there's no need to have more than 14 pegs assigned to each player for that to happen. Also inside the package there's a bag to store all the pegs and 4 cards with instructions and information for 5 single player and 5 multi-player games. You can find several more on the game's website and new ones are being added regularly.

Every game or puzzle played with the Culica have the same thing in common: you win by placing pegs onto the cube, following a set of rules correspondent to each game you're playing. The pegs have a design, identical on both sides, that easily allows two or more game cubes to be connected and extend the game's area. There are at least two games that require more than one cube to be played, the CuPoker and the CuFootball.

Single Player Games/Puzzles:

Being a puzzle lover as I am, I liked the single player games more, but that's what's good about it, because it can please everyone. Since there are many games available for you to play solo, I'll just describe for you, the three ones that I enjoyed most:

CuColours - This is an easy one to start with, but a bit tricky to solve. The basic idea is to have all pegs on the cube, such that no two of the same colours are touching, whether they're side-by-side or diagonal, counting face edges as well.

You can start by placing a peg on the middle of a face and put pegs around it, following the game's rules. When you complete an entire face, start the next by keeping in mind that the edge pegs of the previous face have to comply by the same rules, so no diagonals or straight lines allowed between faces.

(Click to Enlarge) - CuColours Solved

Although it's not that easy, it's perfectly possible to fill the cube's six faces with pegs. When you complete two or more faces, you can see that a colour pattern has been produced. Just follow that pattern in order to solve the rest of the cube.

CuWizard - You can think of this one as a version of the popular Sudoku. The objective is to have a straight row of four different colours, with two on one face and two on another. Do as many rows as possible, until you can fill the entire cube.

(Click to Enlarge) - CuWizard Solved

This one was quite hard to solve. I had to remove an entire face of pegs several times before I was able to fill the 54 slots on the cube. Like the CuColours puzzle, after you complete the first two or three adjacent faces, you'll notice a repeated colour pattern that you can use for the rest of the remaining slots.

CuRing - This one is very challenging. Haven't yet been able to completely solve it. The goal is to have 48 pegs in the cube, with only six slots remaining, so that no two colours are closer than 4 spaces apart, although it's possible to have two pegs close to each other in diagonals.

(Click to Enlarge) - CuRing Partly Solved

Given the fact that every peg has to be separated 4 spaces from another one of the same colours, it will be very hard to place all 48 pegs into the cube. The photo above shows only a portion of this challenge solved.

Multi-Player Games:

Even though I liked the single player puzzles more, I still tried a few multi-player games and they were a lot of fun. Some of the games can take up to 12 players, so there's plenty of action to enjoy.

Two of the multi-player games I enjoyed most were the CuFrog and the CuSol. The CuFrog requires that each peg you put in the game, one turn at a time, be one space apart (hop) from the previous peg placed in the cube until there's no more valid moves. You win by being the last player standing.

The CuSol is similar to the classic marble game, Solitaire. Here, players start by completely fill at random the cube with 27 red and 27 yellow pegs for two players, 18 pegs of each three colours if it's for three players or for four players, then you'll fill the cube with 14 red, 14 yellow, 13 blue and 13 green pegs.

With each player taking turns for their colour, you remove a peg by hopping over it side-by-side, with diagonals being illegal moves. If you can't take an opponent peg, then you must remove one of your own. The game continues until there's only one player left.

There are still many more games and puzzles you can try and with the Culica team releasing new ones very often, there's a lot to expect from them in the near future, so stay tuned. If you want to see some videos by the Culica team, to better understand the game's dynamic, here's their YouTube Channel.

(Click to Enlarge) - Game Contents

Closing Comments:

The Culica is very different from what I've seen, in a good way, and as a puzzle collector, I've seen a lot of puzzles and games.

After you've played all those games and still feel unchallenged, why not create a game or puzzle with your own set of rules, if you're feeling creative, or just play with it to create cool patterns with the coloured pegs. The game is very versatile and you have everything you need to create very interesting games. You can also share your creations in the Culica Forum.

The game's company think that the Culica can be ranked alongside chess and playing cards as one of the most important games in history. Will this become true? - Well, it has many things in its favor, such as lasting appeal, variety of play and it's very affordable, so only You will tell...


Anonymous said...

This is a brilliant review of a highly innovative product.

Nigel Walton

James Eadon said...

Hi, James here, the Culica inventor. Just wished to say, thank you for taking the time to analyse the Culica and present your findings. For a puzzle collector, an expert in the field, to think highly of the game is really reassuring. I enjoyed reading how you solved the games and your observations on what it was like to play them.

Gabriel said...

Thank you James and Nigel, for your words. You know, with all the digital entertainment out there, in this day and age, it's great to see new and innovative toys making their way into the market. You've got my support ;-)

James Eadon said...

Thanks Gabriel, we're on a mission to make puzzle games cool!

James Eadon said...

Puzzle games are intrinsically cool, so I should say we are on a mission to create a real buzz!

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