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You might know Nob Yoshigahara for his many design contributions over the years to the Cast Puzzle series. However, one of his most successful designs to date, the Rush Hour, is not a Cast Puzzle, nor the game I'm reviewing today, the Subtrax, but they're equally fascinating... And addicting, I might add.

Even though the concept is not entirely new, since it's a variation of the classic Peg Solitaire, the new design is very attractive and comes with plenty of different challenges to solve - 40, to be exact. The game is produced by ThinkFun, so you can expect a high-quality product.

One of the reasons I liked the Subtrax instantly was its color combination, blue, white and orange. You can see why, by the colors in my blog. Also, because I always enjoyed Peg Solitaire games. I have a few variations in my ever-growing collection.

The design is both elegant and very functional, like most ThinkFun games and puzzles, ideal for travel. The contents are stored in a sliding compartment and there's a slot in the top to place the challenge card being used at that moment. The dimensions are quite appropriate for this kind of portable game, with 18 x 13  x 3.5cm (7.1" x 5.1" x 1.4").

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There are two major differences between the classic Peg Solitaire and the Subtrax: The grids are completely different. While in the Peg Solitaire you have straight lines connecting the pegs with an overall square area, the Subtrax uses diagonal lines to achieve hexagonal shapes; The other visible difference is the total number of pegs. The original has 32 and the Subtrax has only 15. I guess I don't need to tell which one is harder to solve...

If you ever played a Peg Solitaire game before, the rules are basically the same: the pegs move from hole to hole following the lines on the grid; you can only move one peg by jumping over an adjacent one and remove it; in the Subtrax, the orange peg is the last one on the grid.

I've seen countless variations of the Peg Solitaire game, and I have even reviewed one here recently, the Hoppers. So, with all these variations, you might wonder if the Subtrax brings anything new to the Peg Solitaire concept. My answer? - Yes and no...

No, because there's always that sense of dejá vù, that you played this before: you're jumping over pegs until only one remains. And yes, because in addition to the more traditional challenge, you're given a plethora of different challenges to solve in four different levels of difficulty. The new design with diagonal lines is also very interesting, and while not changing radically the concept, it does provide a new experience to an already known game... And I think I've already mentioned the superb color combo - That's a major plus!

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Closing Comments:

If you like Peg Solitaire games, I guarantee you you'll love this new approach to the concept. The challenges start rather easy with very few pegs to remove and will gradually become harder until all pegs are used. It's made by ThinkFun, so you won't be disappointed.

Availability: I got my copy of Subtrax from Sloyd in Finland. International shipping available.


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