Posted on Sep 27, 2013 by Gabriel | 0 comments
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(Click to Enlarge)
There are three major brands when it comes to the range of logic puzzles and games. ThinkFun might be the most popular one, but Smart Games and Popular Playthings make great games as well. I have reviewed many of these games before, but it's the first time I'm writing about a Popular Playthings' game (except for Orbo). This nice game is called Crossroads and it's an adaptation of the classic edge-matching puzzle.

The new version was made by a team of three talented people, with the concept and design by Bill Hanlon and Steve Wagner, and the computer analysis for the challenges made by R. Aubrey Hearn. The result is a highly addictive 30-challenge game like few can achieve.

The Crossroads game is comprised of 24 pieces divided in three main categories: curved, square and the unique crossroad piece. Each piece features halves of colored vehicles, but within each category, except for the crossroad piece, the layout of the vehicles can vary. The object is to choose a road layout from the challenge booklet and solve it so the halves and colors of the vehicles match with one another.

(Click to Enlarge) - All 24 Pieces
The vehicles are also divided by categories depending on their colors: sedans are yellow, red is for coupe, blue for SUV's and finally, green for the pickups. You need to make sure each vehicle front is being connected to its corresponding rear, because it's possible to have two fronts connected or vice-versa.

The challenges vary in difficulty, although they are not divided in sections like other games of this type. The first ones start with 8-12 pieces and usually show two starter pieces already in place to help you. As you advance, you'll see more and more pieces added to the layouts and most of them only show one starter piece. The last challenge doesn't even show you any starter pieces, only the layout.

As for difficulty, and like any good edge-matching puzzle, it can become rather challenging as you progress. It took me a good 15-20 minutes to solve each of the last ones. If you get to the last couple of pieces and they don't match, it's a nightmare to know which piece to swap. As you build one of the layouts you'll encounter often times more than one piece that can be correctly placed, but further along the way you'll end up in a dead-end. To make the challenges easier, you can just build the layouts without taking into account the starter pieces. This way, any of the challenges can have multiple solutions, whereas if you go for the suggested starter pieces there's only one possible solution.

(Click to Enlarge) - Example of two challenges solved

Closing Comments:

The Crossroads game is easily my favorite from Popular Playthings. The replay value is huge, since each of the 29 layouts can have up to hundreds of challenges (the last one has a unique solution). If you like challenging edge-matching puzzles, this one is a must-have for you.

Availability: You can buy the Crossroads puzzle at Sloyd.fi for about €20.


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