Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Fall 2013 Puzzles
Ages: 12 & Up
Manufacturer: Fat Brain Toys
Price: $26.95

Depending on how you look at it, Yottsugo is either a logic puzzle for word-lovers, or a word puzzle for logic-lovers. Players are given sixteen letter tiles to arrange into a grid such that all 4-tile rows and columns form common English words. Some of the easier puzzles form the same four words across and down, but most form eight unique words. A clue card offers three increasingly helpful clues, to be used at the player's discretion. The forty puzzles are ranked in five levels, from Wordsmith (easiest) to Etymologist (hardest), and the Yottsugo website offers a bonus 5x5 puzzle that is even more difficult than any of the 4x4 puzzles.

This is a puzzle requiring a significant level of patience; the 12+ age recommendation is fair, as younger children are likely to rush through the clues and enjoy none of the logic challenges. Some of the easiest puzzles are solvable in a reasonable amount of time without any clues, if the player is persistent enough. Most puzzles will take much longer, leading to a high level of satisfaction when the solution is found. The price ($26.95) is somewhat steep for a set of word puzzles, but the plastic tiles are high quality and will not wear out in the many hours of rearranging, and the maneuverability of the letters is necessary to the game, so it could not realistically be implemented any other way.

Yottsugo is a game that continued to grow on us over time; we especially enjoyed working as a team, each of us seeing possibilities the others may have missed. We expected to fly through the puzzles and use the game up too quickly, or gradually to lose interest, but neither happened—this is one that both logic-lovers and word-lovers will enjoy.

Emily Crawford   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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