Q-bitz is another Mindware game that physically bears a resemblance to two of the block products we mentioned in the previous blog, ArtBlocks™ and Nuevo. Like them, the basic element of the game is a wooden frame containing cubes, each of which has the same set of patterns on its six sides. The difference is that Q-bitz has four sets of 16 cubes in wooden frames and each cube is only 5/8” on each side. (Part 2 of our discussion of block games does note bear the line “For people of all ages,” because Q-bitz has many small, choke-risk pieces. The box says “ages 8 to adult.”)
Each frame has a different set of two colors: white paired with red, green, blue or purple. The game also comes with 120 black and white pattern cards, and the object is for each player to match the pattern on the card. The first level is a simple race to be first; the highest level is to memorize the card in 10 seconds and then try to put all the cubes in the correct pattern. There is also an “Extreme” version of the game featuring curved patterns and a supplemental pattern pack for the original version.
I like the concept of this game, but for older adults I would make several concessions. First, most older adults like challenging themselves to find a solution, but they don’t necessarily like the pressure of racing to be first. I would suggest playing it more like solitaire: “Here’s a pattern card; take as long as you need to re-create the pattern.” With 120 pattern cards, their brains can get a good workout for half an hour or so over many days.
Second, while the high contrast cubes and pattern cards are easy enough even for old eyes to see clearly, most older adults do not have the dexterity to manipulate the tiny cubes quickly. If they happen to have arthritis, they might even find trying to do so is painful, but I would guess most are just likely to become frustrated trying to keep up with the nimble fingers of younger players — another reason to avoid racing.
Third, if you happen to be working with people with dementia, be aware that this game is not only likely to be impossible for them because they lose their visual-spatial perception as their condition progresses, but it is also likely to embarrass them. Find an alternative, such as the block games in the previous blog which can be manipulated any way they wish.
And finally, realize that even though these blocks are much tinier than those in the other block games, these too can be simply played with to see what interesting patterns you can create with your imagination.
To order Q-bitz through Amazon, click here.