Thursday, 8 January 2015

No GPS allowed if you're lost!

For this review I will speak about City Maze, a colorful plastic game from Smart Games.
This is not a big puzzle so you can easily take it for your holidays or if you take the train.

The goal is to create a way with different shapes of arrows from the starting arrow to the cross.
All the arrows (and crosses) have a double-color side. One is red and one is blue, and depending the color the arrows don't indicate the same way, of course.
The rules are pretty easy to understand, but you need to get used to them:
  • A route always follows the paths of the current street until the direction is changed by an arrow that is the same color.
  • A route only changes direction if it first encounters the back of an arrow in the same color.
  • Puzzle pieces (arrows, start position and destinations) do not obstruct any route. Route can pass through these pieces.

To illustrate these rules I put below 3 examples:

1st picture: there is no need for extra arrows because the path is already made. The route goes straight away from the starting arrow, and then turn right (because there is a curve in the path) and then go straight to the cross.

2nd picture: the route is not made correctly because the back of the middle arrow is not correctly placed.

3rd picture: the route is correctly made.

There are 2 booklets with 60 challenges each, so a good amount of challenges. Each booklet has 5 levels of difficulty (starter, junior, expert, master, wizard). I found that sometimes the expert levels were easier than the junior levels, but perhaps it was because I became too good ;-) but if you're worried about the difficulty, the starter levels are easy because they give you the basis, and after I assure you that it becomes challenging. Yes, the expert level is a more difficult!

The first booklet is called "express delivery": you will have only one color in the plate and you need to pass through the 2 crosses (sometimes there is only one cross).
The other booklet is called "on the double": you will have both color on the plate and you will have to switch the color on each arrow so that you make a path from the blue starting arrow to the blue cross and at the same time a path from the red starting arrow to the red cross.
Both are challenging. I began with "on the double", but it's up to you.

I found this game very entertaining because first, there are many challenges, then it has a good design and also you can try to create your own challenges.
You need to be concentrated because with all the arrows you may lose your way. Sorry, but here no GPS will be useful and allowed. Just the power of your brain will help you.
You need to place correctly the pieces. Once I didn't put correctly the starting pieces and I didn't find any solution (whereas the it was not a difficult level!)...then I understood my error. So be careful!

If you own this puzzle, I have created for you 4 challenges (hey Smart Games, if you see that, you need to ask me permission to use them!).
Are you ready to beat my challenges? Yes? So let's go for a big trip!

Challenge #1
You need to go through each direction (crosses) by using all the blue pieces (except, of course, the other starting arrow!)

Challenge #2
You need to go to your destination (the 2 crosses) by only using the red pieces. You need to go through the 2 crosses during your route!!
Try to go from the left arrow (very easy) to reach your destination.
Once done, take the pieces for the next challenge, more difficult: try also to go from the right arrow (more difficult).
The 2 red arrows and crosses have to stayed in place, of course!

Challenge #3
Use all the red pieces to reach your destination.

Challenge #4
You need to go from the red arrow to the blue cross by alternating the colors: if you have a red piece, then the next one needs to be blue.
So you may assume that the first piece after the red starting arrow will be blue and the piece before the destination cross will be red. Same color pieces can be close in the plate, but they need to alternate during the route. Try to do that with as many pieces as you want then try to use ALL the pieces, both can be done (but I think it is more difficult using all the pieces)

Try these 4 challenges and please let me know what you think about them.
Also, as I created them, I don't really realize the level of difficulty. So also let me know which level of difficulty you would put for each challenge.
Perhaps there are many solutions, but there is at least one that works!

To conclude, a good game for a reasonable amount of money and for many hours of route finding. And as you may have understood, I love it!


  1. Nice! I see you loved this one ;-)
    I have to try your challenges when I have some free time.

    Cheers ;-)

  2. Yeah !!
    All right, when you have time to try my challenges, then give me some feedback about the difficulty ;)
    See you