There is a category of games that share some common principles, but don’t really have a term to refer to them. Ghost Blitz, Spot It, and Jungle Speed all fall under the same general umbrella in my estimation. These games force you to assess a scenario and then quickly act upon it. I’m going to call this Speed Perception. That may not be completely accurate or all encompassing, but you get my meaning. I’m not particularly good at these types of games, in truth they stress me out a bit, but in a fun way. I’d say that one of the overarching elements in these games is the fact that you race against your opponents rather than any kind of clock.
Match Madness falls into the Speed Perception category for me. It’s the new title from FoxMind and designer, Jeppe Norsker. The concept is fairly simple (as Speed Perception games usually are).
Included in the box are 20 colourful rectangular blocks in four sets of five. The two ends of the blocks let you know what number they are so each player gets a full set. The sides of the blocks have pairs of different coloured symbols. If you’re keeping track, that makes four faces on five different blocks. Twenty faces, but not each one is unique.
The only other element is the deck of Pattern cards. There are 60 different Pattern cards in five different difficulty levels.
The standard game of Match Madness has players agree to a number of rounds to play and randomly create a deck of Pattern cards with that number. Each round starts by flipping the top card off the deck and then players race to match the image on the Pattern card with their blocks. When one player thinks they have it right they grab the card and the game pauses while everyone confirms they haven’t made any errors. If everything checks out, another card is flipped and all the players are off to the races again
Once all the Pattern cards have been awarded the game ends and the player who’s earned the most cards wins.
The simpler Patterns have many ways to be solved, but the most complicated cards have only one solution. Rounds can be quite quick, or require a lot of thought as you look for the exact right combination.
The most satisfying element of Match Madness is the big, chunky blocks. They’re colourful and light and fun to work with, even if you’re stressing to place them in the right combination.
In some senses Match Madness feels like a puzzle you’d find in an escape room. Matching the patterns and racing agains tother players is fun and stressful at the same time. The more you play it, the more you get to know the blocks and the combination of symbols on them, making for a speedy challenge between experienced players.
The best part of a game like Match Madness is that anyone can be playing in no time. This is a game that will reward multiple plays, but any one can grasp the concept and get started!