Top Trumps

Are you more of a Mario or a Luigi? A Princess Peach or a Princess Daisy? A Yoshi or a Donkey Kong? Top TrumpsMatch The Crazy Cube Game: Super Mario edition is like a Nintendo game came to life — and the gang’s all here.

This two-player game revolves around a double-sided 55 grid that holds 25 cubes featuring different Super Mario characters, including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Yoshi, Toad, Boo, Koopa Troopa, Goomba, Bowser, Bowser Jr., Wario, Waluigi, Donkey Kong, and Diddy Kong.

Two players sit on opposite sides of the grid, so that they each have a different spread of Super Mario characters facing them on their 5×5 grid. One player will push any cube through the grid so that it falls out the other side. The other player will pick up that same cube and then use it to push out and replace yet another cube of his or her choice on the grid. The players will take turns pushing out cubes with the goal being the first to arrange five of the same characters in one line.

The line can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, just like in Tic-Tac-Toe. But it’s a little trickier and more fun than Tic-Tac-Toe because all your progress can be disrupted if the other player pushes one of your matching cubes out of place. You cannot use the pushed out cube to replace the blank space it fell out of; that would be way too easy. You have to push a new cube out every time.

At the beginning of the game, each player is dealt two character cards, which he or she must keep hidden from the other player (no peeking over the divider!). Players get one point for creating a line of five matching character cubes, but they get two points if they create a line of five cubes that matches one of the characters on their cards. So if you get five Bowsers in a row with no matching cards, you get one point. But if you get five Bowsers in a row, and you have a matching Bowser card, you get two points.

When someone creates a matching line, both players can then show each other their characters cards. If the loser has a character card that matches the character on the other person’s completed line of cubes, the loser can snatch the match and steal the two points. So going off of the previous example, if one player matches five Bowsers in a row, but then the OTHER player reveals that he or she has a Bowser card, that player can then snatch the match, even though he or she was not the one who matched the five cubes in a row. Oh, how the tables have turned!

Each match takes about five minutes and the first player to reach five (or six) points wins the game. The game is recommended for kids ages 4 and up. Older kids who want to get more competitive can really focus on the other player’s moves to strategize, even though they can’t see the other player’s board. By watching the locations of the cubes the other player is pushing out, you can deduce which spots are important to them, which you can then try to disrupt when it’s your turn.

The game itself closes up into a carrying case, which makes it super easy to pack up and carry to a friend’s house or on road trips to play in the hotel room.

Match The Crazy Cube Game is available in other themes as well, such as Harry Potter, Marvel Avengers, DC Comics, and more, so take your pick and start matching!