First Look: Marbles – Brain Workshop

First Look: Marbles – Brain Workshop

Disclosure

I can clearly remember the first time we walked into a Marbles – The Brain Store location. Our girls were pretty young and we were shopping for items that would spark their STEM interest. There were science kits, puzzles, craft kits and board games! I don’t recall the final total, but we walked out of there at least a couple hundred dollars lighter.

Sadly, the last time we went to Chicago we discovered the Naperville location was permanently shuttered and we later found out this was the case for all of them. Yet another victim in the demise of brick-and-mortar retailers. Fortunately there’s a silver lining to this tale. Our friends over at Spin Master had purchased the rights to Marbles – The Brain Store‘s e-commerce division, renamed it to “Marbles – Brain Workshop” and would be offering their original line of games for the foreseeable future!

By now you’re probably wondering, “What type of games does Marbles – Brain Workshop” offer that I can’t already get at a big-box retailer?” Easy – Marbles offers their own line of custom board games, made with high-quality components and easy enough for nearly all ages. The majority of their product line are wooden games, which if you’re a long-time reader of SahmReviews, you already know that wooden games are among our favorites.

Here are a couple examples from their current line!

Rock Me Archimedes

At first glance, Rock Me Archimedes reminded us of a couple games we have found at thrift over the years. Both Leverage and Yali utilize the same balancing mechanism. But Rock Me Archimedes is more than just a game of racing your marbles to the other end. It is a careful dance of balancing speed with leverage. And the game just looks better than the other two.

Marbles - The Brain Store might be gone, but their line lives on with Spin Master's Marbles - Brain Workshop! See which games you can still get online! - SahmReviews.com

Each player begins with zero marbles on the balance board. On a turn you may do one of two things. Either place a new marble onto the board in the lighter tan area on your side or roll the included die and move an existing marble that many spaces. Your ultimate goal is to get four of your marbles into the opponent’s home space at the end of the other side of the board (the darker area).

Marbles - The Brain Store might be gone, but their line lives on with Spin Master's Marbles - Brain Workshop! See which games you can still get online! - SahmReviews.com

Moving is done orthangonally and you may change directions during a move and even move backwards. The die is numbered 1-3 twice so movement is slow. You can extend your movement by jumping over an opponent’s marble as long as there is an unoccupied space on the other side.

Marbles - The Brain Store might be gone, but their line lives on with Spin Master's Marbles - Brain Workshop! See which games you can still get online! - SahmReviews.com

Here’s the kicker – if on your turn the board tilts far enough that it touches the table, you lose! You have to balance your strategy between rushing for the end and playing defense to counter-balance your progression. If your opponent has gotten far ahead of you, a viable strategy might be to place marbles on your own end and tilting the board towards you so that they cannot move forward without causing the board to hit the table!

Marbles - The Brain Store might be gone, but their line lives on with Spin Master's Marbles - Brain Workshop! See which games you can still get online! - SahmReviews.com

You can find Rock Me Archimedes on Amazon and direct from Marbles – Brain Workshop on their website for under $35.

Otrio

If Otrio had been made in the 80’s or 90’s, it would have certainly been with primary colors like UNO Stacko or Tribulation. The color choices made by Marbles – Brain Workshop when they published Otrio were what originally attracted us to the game. Instead of bright yellow, blue, green and red, Otrio is colored in muted versions – soft red, sky blue, light green and medium purple. It just screams to be admired on a shelf, ready to play!

Marbles - The Brain Store might be gone, but their line lives on with Spin Master's Marbles - Brain Workshop! See which games you can still get online! - SahmReviews.com

Otrio takes the classic game of tic-tac-toe and upgrades it for the 21st century. Similar to Gobblet, your goal is to get three in a row. But instead of stacking pieces on one another for control, in Otrio you use rings that might help you win in different ways.

Marbles - The Brain Store might be gone, but their line lives on with Spin Master's Marbles - Brain Workshop! See which games you can still get online! - SahmReviews.com

The game is played by each person taking a turn and placing one of their rings onto the board. Once it is placed it may never be removed or moved. There are three sizes of rings which nest into each other. You are still trying to line up three in a row, but Otrio gives you a few extra options.

Marbles - The Brain Store might be gone, but their line lives on with Spin Master's Marbles - Brain Workshop! See which games you can still get online! - SahmReviews.com

Of course you can line up three same-sized pieces of your color. You can also line up three pieces in ascending or descending size (small, medium, large). Getting three of your pieces into one space also is a win! And because Otrio supports up to four players, you have to consistently watch your opponents’ colors as well as your own so you can block them!

Marbles - The Brain Store might be gone, but their line lives on with Spin Master's Marbles - Brain Workshop! See which games you can still get online! - SahmReviews.com

Also a high-quality wooden game, Otrio is available on Amazon or on Spin Master’s website.

These are just two of the many titles picked up by Spin Master during their acquisition of Marbles – Brain Workshop and we expect more in the future. If you’re interesting in learning more about their entire product line, be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter to be in the know.

Had you ever visited a Marbles – The Brain Store location before they closed?

Scott

About Scott

A former manufacturing executive, Scott now balances his family life with ownership and backend administration of websites such as SahmReviews.com, GiftCardCollector.com and a number of other online properties. He also is an occasional writer and full-time board game fanatic.

8 comments on «First Look: Marbles – Brain Workshop»

  1. Stacie says:

    Brain teaser games are some of my favorite. They’re a great way to really get the old noodle noodling.

  2. Emily says:

    I love how so many games are being geared toward STEM learning. I’ve never been in a Marbles- Brain Store before but I think my kids would love it!

  3. Catalina says:

    This seems to be an interesting and fun game. I am sure my son will love it. We should try Otrio for our game night!

  4. I can see my girls loving this games. They love board games and anything that challenges their minds.

  5. Kristin says:

    I used to play a marble strategy game as a kid! This takes me back!

  6. Annemarie LeBlanc says:

    These two games look so fun to play. You have to plan your strategy very well in order to win. I like that. My family will enjoy our movie and game nights with these two games!

  7. Jennifer says:

    Oh my goodness. I need to get these games so that we can play them. I love a good game that makes me think strategy!

  8. William Kwok says:

    That is one creative game. much more engaging than most board games.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *