Can you be the quickest to solve the scientific formulae?
by Maria Godfrey
Publisher: Blue Orange Games Designer: Roberto Fraga Artist: Stéphane Escapa Year: 2016 Game Type: Puzzle, dexterity, race
Theme and What is it?
You are working for Dr. Eureka in his lab to complete experiments and solve scientific formulae. Players race to transfer molecules between test tubes to come up with the correct solution. But beware – if you spill the contents of your test tube, or touch them with your bare hands, your game can come to an early end!
Blue Orange is a company known for designing and producing high quality games for the whole family so this was always going to be worth a look. Being slightly clumsy, dexterity games are not normally my forte; however seeing as the dexterity was not the only element to this game, I was still optimistic.
Players are each given three test tubes, and two balls each of red, purple and green to represent the molecules.
In each round, a formula card is turned over, showing an arrangement of molecules. Players race to recreate the card, by transferring molecules between test tubes until they match the diagrams on the card in order from left to right.
Players can move as many molecules at a time as they want, and can change the order of their test tubes as they see fit – including turning them upside down (carefully, so as not to spill!). Once they have created the correct combination, they shout ‘Eureka’, and players compare their final arrangement with that on the card. If everything matches correctly, the player takes the current card, and the next round continues with a new card being turned over. If they have announced incorrectly, or if anybody at any point either drops one of their molecules or touches it with their hands, they are removed from the remainder of the round. The winner is the first player to collect 5 complete cards.
Quality of Components and Insert
Outwardly the art looks appealing to children, and instantly shouts ‘family game’. The box art uses a brightly-coloured cartoon style, components are brightly coloured to attract attention, and overall the game is very well presented.
For a straightforward game there is a lot of fun in here; the race element and the dexterity element combine well to create a fast-paced game. The pressure is constantly on, and part of the challenge is trying to complete the formulae yourself whilst simultaneously keeping one eye on what your opponents are doing. At the end of a round, players’ test tubes are not reset, meaning that each player starts each round with a different arrangement of molecules in their tubes. This can lead to some players having an advantage when the next card is flipped. Turning the test tubes upside down successfully can be a challenge in itself for the less sure-handed of us, and with younger children involved then hilarity always ensues when a test tube is dropped and balls are set rolling!
Difficulty and age range suggestion
This is a very simple game to teach and learn, and children as young as 6 should have no problem grasping the concept. There is significant educational value as well here, in terms of teaching children about forward planning to achieve a goal. The rulebook also contains a couple of alternative rules for more variation, including for solo play.
Dr Eureka is definitely a fun game for all the family. It typically lasts about 10-15 minutes and moves quickly, so is likely to hold younger children’s attention successfully. That said, it’s a game that, although we as adults enjoyed playing it with children, we probably wouldn’t choose to play without them. For what it is, it’s a nice little filler game, but nothing that is going to have us desparate to play it all of the time . If you are a fan of dexterity family games then it’s probably a good choice for you.