Whenever we happen upon an older game at thrift, we do spend some time researching its history. This is certainly the case for games which are no longer in print or by companies that are no longer in existence. Each time we learn a little bit about game history and hopefully discover a fun-to-us experience in the process.
This week we ran across Kontrast by Ravensburger. You already know we’re huge fans of both their line of games and puzzles. Some of their heavier titles, like In the Year of the Dragon, are regular favorites at our game nights. We always are on the lookout for older titles at thrift and really enjoyed Explore Europe and Deutschlandreise during our COVID lockdown. And speaking of the pandemic, we could not have survived the daily boredom if we hadn’t had Ravensburger puzzles at our disposal.
Kontrast is different than most games we elect to purchase. It is designed as an educational tool for young children (ages 4-8). As the name of the game suggests, it is about finding opposites. Inside the box are twenty large cardboard cards, each with a familiar puzzle-like knob or hole. The cards are double-sided and feature a different picture on each side.
After spreading out all the cards in front of the player (Kontrast is designed to be single-player, even though the box says up to four can play), the child will take one card and try to find its match. Because the cards have different photos on either side, their match might be turned upside down. By “match”, I’m referring to a photo which is the opposite of the one they’re holding. For instance, the opposite of an elephant is the ladybug (one large and one tiny).
The player can verify they are correct with their match by fitting the two puzzle pieces together. Only the correct answer will fit the first piece and create a perfect rectangle. Of course, this also creates another match on the back of the cards which can be reviewed. The goal is to match up all ten set of cards!
Kontrast shouldn’t be confused with the word game of the same name issued in the same year (1980). It was later reissued under the name “Opposite Pairs”, but is now long out of print. You can still find complete copies on eBay if you have a young family member who is developing their abstract thinking skills!
Do you believe in teaching with games?