My Review Of Mastermind The Game

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Today I will be giving you my review of Mastermindthe game.  This is one of my favorite childhood games that my older sister and I played all of the time.  I am now passing this game along to my kids and here are the reasons why.

Mastermind Pressman Games
Its the Codemaker vs. the Codebreaker!

Mastermind – By Pressman

  • Ages – 8+
  • Players – 2
  • Time – Short (15 to 30 minutes)

Mechanics

  • Resource Management
  • Memory
  • Strategy
  • Abstract

How To Play

Mastermind Codemakers Code
The Codemaker picks out their secret code first.

Mastermind puts one player, the Codemaker, up against the other player, the Codebreaker.  The Codemaker secretly picks 4 pegs and hides them behind the wall.  The Codebreaker then has up to 10 turns to try and figure out the code behind the wall.

Each turn the Codebreaker places 4 pegs in a row and then the Codemaker uses smaller pegs to give clues as to how they did.  The Codemaker uses white pegs to signify that the correct color was used, but in the wrong position.  A red peg signifies that there is a peg of the correct color in the correct position.  It is up to the Codebreaker to figure out which pegs are which and to solve the code!

Mastermind Codebreakers Guesses
The Codebreaker works to solve the code.

Points are scored by the Codemaker for each row that it takes to solve the code.  If all 10 rows are used and the code is not broken then the Codemaker gets a bonus point for 11 total.  After that, the players switch roles and resume play from the beginning.  After playing the predetermined amount of turns, the player with the most points wins the game.

Mastermind Code Has Been Colved
Once the Code has been solved you can flip down the wall to show it.

Positives

There are several good benefits that Mastermind brings to the table.  The first and foremost for me is the analytical thinking that it helps you build.  The give and take that comes along with play due to the clues also helps you to develop subtle strategies.  Lastly, this game can be played extremely quick or over a longer period of time depending on what you want to do.

Mastermind Ready To Play
Everything you need – all in one place!

The board itself has a built-in section to store the pieces and it worked pretty well to keep them handy.  There is also a built-in score section on the board, so no pen & paper is needed to keep score.  Everything you need to play the game is all right there in one place.

Challenges

It was hard to really come up with any real challenges for this game.  The only concerns that I had came with putting the pieces in behind the wall and the different pegs mixing between their compartments.  It took a little bit of dexterity of fingers to get the pieces in and out of the secret code area.  It wasn’t really bad, but if you have bigger fingers or trouble with small objects it could pose a problem.  As for the pieces mixing, I decided to keep the pegs stored in little plastic bags instead of the compartments.

Overall

Thumbs Up
Got to Have it!

To this day I attribute this game to developing the analytical skills that I have.  Those skills helped me through out my schooling and into and through my working career.  I highly recommend this game based on that alone.

The flexibility of the time involved to play and the simplicity of the game also makes it very desirable as well.  Being able to play short and sweet games and the fact that anyone can pick it up and play makes it a valuable asset to your board game collection.

Wrap Up

I would love to hear your thoughts about Mastermindand ask that you share them with us below.  If you have any questions about the game, please do not hesitate to ask and I will answer them as promptly as I am able.  I have also included a link to where you can purchase the game at Amazon if you would like to help support this site.  Thank you for stopping by!

James W D
james@familygamenightideas.com

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14 Replies to “My Review Of Mastermind The Game”

  1. Hi James.Your site is awesome and you have obviously done a lot of work on it.You just jogged my memory about mastermind and the pics are great.
    I always loved getting games for Christmas,you name the game and we got it,me and my two other brothers.I don,t know if you are looking to review other games but this is a selection of the one,s we got years ago.
    Monopoly,Cluedo,Scrabble,Trivial Pursuit,Mousetrap,Perfection,Guess who,computer battleships(brilliant).battleships,ker- plunk.We had a scaletrix set up as a figure of 8 in the living room Christmas morning.
    I can remember us getting an Atari years ago with loads of games and also a spectrum computer when they were all the rage.Now for me it is games on the pc and I have a wii a Ps3 and a couple of d,s.I have not read all your posts but if you have not already created a post you could do one for the wii and the d,s

    • I also remember just about every game you listed there from growing up. My mother loved to buy games as family gifts over the holidays and her extended family loved to play games at our holiday parties. Instead of Atari though, we had the Odyssey game system which was very similar. Lots of good memories either way and the main reason behind this site, so I can help lots of other families establish those same types of memories.

  2. I completely forgot about Mastermind!! Definitely a perfect addition to your list. I also couldn’t agree more how much that gained helped my analytical skills develop. Thanks for sharing!

    • This is a game that had slipped my mind as well for many years. My wife was the one that actually brought it back to the forefront when she suggested it as a present for our youngest.

    • Juliet, Isn’t it funny how some of our favorite things can slip out of our minds like that? I was so happy when this one bounced back into mine and I was quick to get it purchased. I have had a lot of fun already with the kids playing the game and they are picking up on it quickly.

  3. OH this is new to me James. Thanks for bringing it to my frontal lobe. I think I will get one to play with my husband as we wait for 7 more years before my last born reaches the playing age. It’s going to be a fiesta in our house. That’s all thanks to you my friend. I love that games really teach life skills and for that reason, I will do a family meeting to sell the idea of a family night each week. Thanks

    • Margaret, first off don’t wait until your child is 8 to play. I am pretty sure I was a regular player by the age of 4 or 5 as it is my earliest memories where this game lays. As long as your kid is past the putting things in mouth phase, then it is safe to start teaching them how to play.

      I do love the teaching points that games bring up as a parent. It is so much easier to teach your kids some difficult things, when done in the atmosphere of a game. I hope your presentation to the family goes well and if you need any advise please feel free to hit me up!

  4. I always loved the challenge of this game as a kid until I found out people could cheat by looking at the reflection on my glasses! Stopped wearing glasses to play after that. Thanks for reminding me of how fun this game is.

  5. Doesn’t that bring back some memories James. I didn’t know it was still available. I use to love playing Mastermind as a youngster. It is certainly a good game for improving your analytic thinking. thanks for sharing this review.

    • Glad to hear that I wasn’t the only youngster that loved this game. I pestered my sister all the time to play the game with me growing up. This new version here is even a little nicer then the older version which seems to be more rare these days.

  6. Oh my gosh, I completely forgot about Mastermind! That’s like one of the best games ever! I remember we played it for hours. Mind you, once a couple of pieces went missing then the pegs were used for all sorts of things–adding interest to playdough creations, stuffing into ears or noses, ammo for just about anything that would launch the pegs…

    • Max, I too had forgotten about the game until I seen it recently. At that point it was a must have to play with the kids. I could see how the pegs could end up being “misused” though I like the playdough idea!

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