By MindWare

Reviewed for Middle School, 2008

Chaos

It looks like a no-brainer at first, but this deceptively simple two-person game has got the goods to keep kids and adults engaged through hours of strategic play. Based on the sand pile metaphor in chaos theory, the three-dimensional game unfolds as players take turns stacking their pieces on the game board's nine circles. When a stack is four pieces high, it "topples" its pieces in four directions, knocking some off the board entirely, and landing some on other stacks, which may then topple in a dynamic chain reaction. The game ends when one player has no pieces left, so players must predict what will happen and then try to knock as many of their opponents pieces off the board and back to that player, as they can to slim out their own stash. Quality wooden board and pieces make this a game to cherish and play again and again. (Mindware, $24.95)