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The Brain Train Review by Cassie DeputieMuikim LLC
6812 W Calumet Rd,
Milwaukee, WI 53223, USA
Math is a crucial part of anyone’s education. It is one of the basics and applicable to nearly every area of life. Giving this instruction to our children is necessary. However, math can get mundane and boring if it is not used in different applications. Following the same curriculum or only practicing math skills with pen and paper can impart a disdain in our kids for math.
The Brain Train is a puzzle game created by Muikim LLC that covers many math concepts including logical deduction, visual perception, numeracy, math facts, and problem-solving skills, without the player even realizing it. The game includes 12 puzzle pieces that are covered in heavy-duty plastic. Railroad tracks, farmland, foliage, and other details cover the pieces as well as a number in a blue circle and a letter in an orange box. A small, red, plastic, wind-up train comes with the puzzle set and is meant to be placed directly on the indented tracks of the puzzle to run its ordained course proving to the puzzler they correctly answered the math mystery.
An instructional booklet lays out the 40 puzzles waiting to be solved. They are divided into four levels of difficulty with each puzzle getting increasingly difficult as you work through the booklet. A puzzle is a “code” to be deciphered that indicates the number of railway pieces needed to complete the puzzle, the operation that is to be used, and the target number. The goal of the game is to select puzzle pieces that add up to, or subtract down to, the target number.
For example, my puzzle is to take “5” puzzle pieces to reach the target number of “17” using addition as my operation. I look over my 12 train track piece options and select the tracks with the numbers, “1, 2, 8, 4, 2” which add up to 17 and piece them together so that the train tracks create a complete circuit. I can flip to the back of the booklet to check my answer since there are pictures of possible solutions to each puzzle there. My track lines up and I can wind up my train and let it fly across my track. How rewarding it feels!
This game was such a hit in our house, the kids had to fight it out of the adult’s hands to play. We first broke it open and tried it during our Hanukkah party we hosted in our home. Around 50 people showed up to celebrate the holiday and nearly all the grown men gathered around the table of left-over feasting to take on the toughest puzzle challenges that The Brain Train had to offer. Friends who make their living using math, and friends that do not, equally adored this game and were filled with joy to watch the little plastic train dance across their hard work.
As a home-educating parent, I was thrilled to see my children take on some of the puzzling in their free time using their math skills and adding new applications to them. My younger kids even enjoyed just piecing the puzzle together and watching the train run around the tracks.
My only critique of this game is that the train should be manufactured to be more durable. Little hands will be cranking and playing with it often. We had to have a replacement shipped to us after only a small amount of use, and our second train nearly broke until my husband got it to work again. However, the customer service of Muikim LLC was exquisite.
I appreciate that the puzzle pieces are durable and seem to be able to last years of use. I also like how simple the instructions are to play this game as well as how creative they are. I have never come across anything quite like The Brain Train before. The moving aspect of the train running the course is what makes it so attractive and stands out against other math puzzles on the market.
Whether you’re looking for a game for your children to turn to that is educational and challenging, or you are wanting to switch things up and step away from the math books for a while, this game will not disappoint. Any age group and level of math skills can enjoy and benefit from The Brain Train.
- Product review by Cassie Deputie, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2020