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MYnd Kraft Review

Quick Look: MYnd Kraft

Designer: Tharini Rajamohan
Artist: n/a
Publisher: Self published
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-7
Ages: 7+
Playing Time: 15-45 min. depending on variant

From the publisher:

MYnd Kraft is a card game inspired by basic programming concepts.
There are two types of cards in the deckAction Cards and Number Cards. Action cards present problems, based on programming concepts, which need to be solved using Number Cards and players score points for solving Action Cards. The goal is to score the highest number of points in order to win the game. A point worth noting is that there are only numbers and symbols on the cards and there is no text.

There are seven different games that could be played with the MYnd Kraft card deck!

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of MYnd Kraft. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

Review: MYnd Kraft

Overview and Theme:

MYnd Kraft is a card game designed to teach basic programming concepts through entertaining gameplay using colorful cards. The cards use a variety of symbols and numbers but are completely language independent. Seven different games are currently included in the instructions, and the designer is open to including new variants on their website, making MYnd Kraft more of a game system than a single game.

Components and Setup:
MYnd Kraft contains 36 action cards (with a gear on the back) covering five programming concepts: switch, condition, loop, data structure, and function. These action cards will need to be fulfilled in various ways by using the number cards (with a # symbol on the back)there are two each of 0-7 in four colors along with 8 black asterisk cards that are wild. Setup is quick and easy, and varies a little depending on which variant you're playing.

Game Play and Mechanics:
One great thing about MYnd Kraft is that it incorporates several smaller games, and that players are encouraged to find their own games using the cards. So if you don't enjoy the mechanics of one variant, move on to the next!

We tried all the games: Ezy Codr, for learning the action cards; Speedy Monstr, to take what you've learned and apply it as fast as you can; Memry Flipothon, which adds a fun memory mechanic to the game; Decode, which allows you to strategically solve four action cards at once; Codr Pokr Match, adding a betting feature; Codr League, a team variant; and Cobble the Code, a crossword-style variant.

Ezy Codr is the gentlest game and definitely the best place to start. Players have a hand of number cards and on their turn, flip over one new action card and fulfill it if they can. If they fulfill the action card, they take the action card and the number cards they used into their point pile (each small star on a card is a point). If they couldn't fulfill the card, they pass, giving the next player a chance to complete the action card.

Gameplay in Ezy Codr can be as slow as necessary to teach the players about the different kinds of action cards. Each action card shows a type of function and the specific colors or numbers you can use to complete it.

A Switch card will show four possible branches, each with a single number and all four colors.  To fulfill a Switch, you need to play a single card with any one of the four possible numbers, and in any color you choose.

A Condition card gives you a greater-than or less-than option, with a two-colored card being greater or less than a specific number.

A Loop card requires a specific number of cards using either of the colors shown; a Data Structure card allows you to play up to a certain number of cards; and advanced cards (While Loop, Dictionary, and Function) add even more concepts to the deck.

These functions are found in math and computer programming and so learning them through the game will help give you a basic understanding to move forward with other types of programming and mathematical adventures.

Once you have played Ezy Codr enough times to really be familiar with the cards, you can add a speed factor by switching to Speedy Monstr or a memory mechanic by moving to Memry Flipothon.  Our favorite second step game is Decode.

In Decode, each player has a hand of number cards. A row of four action cards will be placed face up in the middle of the table. Each player takes some time to decide how to use their cards to fulfill as many of the action cards as possible, without seeing what the other players are doing. Cards are placed face down in rows under the action cards, and revealed once all players are done. Each player then calculates what their score would be for all four action cards, and the player with the highest total gets to take the action and number cards they used into their point pile.

The rest are discarded, and you start again. You play a certain number of rounds (the rules suggest that each player deals once, but we enjoyed this version so much that we often played until each player had dealt two or even three times, recording points on paper and shuffling point cards back into the decks as needed). In the end, the player with the highest point total wins.

Our family tried the Codr Pokr Match, which adds a betting mechanic, and the Codr League, which turns you into teams similar to bridge or other team card games, but they weren't our favorite variants. It's nice that they're included, though, because plenty of families or groups really enjoy betting, or might be well-balanced enough to have two strong teams facing each other.

The final variant, Cobble the Code, was probably our favorite. In this game, you are playing both action and number cards to the table in a crossword-style grid. This game reminded us of another family favorite, Qwirkle, but adds the action cards to make the game even more interesting and strategic.

On each turn, you'll lay down some number and/or action cards from your hands in such a way that they fit into the grid, making only complete, correct sets (each action card must be correctly fulfilled, and each number card must be helping to fulfill at least one action card).

Cobble the Code really helped us think about the relationships between numbers and colors, and the relationships between different types of functions on the action cards, in a very engaging and creative way.

The Good:
I'm a homeschooling, game-schooling mom, so I love that MYnd Kraft is educational and helps players get a better sense for math and programming concepts and how to fulfill them. I'm also just a game lover (and a math nerd), so I appreciate the fact that the games (especially the more advanced games) are fun and engaging in a real way. Cobble the Code, in particular, is strong enough on its own that I would play it with other adults, regardless of its educational value, and to me, that makes it the best kind of educational game!

(Note: I clearly still need more practice!  The image above is NOT a correct solution - I would need a green or blue card LESS than 4!)

MYnd Kraft also shines because it is a system, rather than a single game. It helps new players gently ease into the concepts through Ezy Codr, and it allows groups to move from there to whatever style of game interests themspeed, memory, strategy, betting, teams, etc.

The Bad:
It's always nice when the worst thing I have to say about a game is that I wish there were more of it!  We would love to see even bigger decks of cards to allow for more players or longer games, and I would enjoy seeing even more math and programming concepts added to the action deck. Other groups have also come up with other ways to play with these cards, and I'd love to see more options there too. What great possibilities there are for expansions here!

Players Who Like:
Because MYnd Kraft is a system of games, there's something here for almost everyone who enjoys card games. In particular, I think it's good for players who enjoy math and programming already, or for groups or families who want to teach those skills to new players. Cobble the Code is good for players who enjoy Scrabble or Qwirkle, too.

Final Thoughts:
MYnd Kraft is a carefully-crafted compilation of games that introduces programming concepts in an engaging way, and it was a hit with our family and friends. We enjoyed being able to use the earlier games to learn the concepts and the more complex games, like Cobble the Code, to use what we'd learned in a strategic way. We hope that MYnd Kraft takes off and expands on its own success with expansions of colors, numbers, and new functions!

Check out MYnd Kraft on:


On KICKSTARTER now. Campaign ends September 26th, 2018.

About the Author:

My name is Alexa: I'm a life-long game player and homeschooling mom to two awesome kids. I've loved board games since my early days playing Scrabble and Gin Rummy with my grandmother, and life only got more interesting when I married a Battletech enthusiast and fellow game lover. We've played games with our kids since they were small, and I helped start a thriving homeschool co-op where we have weekly sessions of board games with kids.  In a family with kids raised on Catan and Pandemic, life is sure to be fun! You may run into me on Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and other social media as MamaGames. Be sure to say hi!
MYnd Kraft Review MYnd Kraft Review Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on August 09, 2018 Rating: 5

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