THE STORY BEHIND THE CREATION OF BRAIN TRAIN
BrainTrain is a new preschool game I designed for SmartGames in 2018. Originally it was intended to be made partly in wood, but because of the high cost we switched to ABS plastics later during the development. When I was a kid, one of my uncles had a simple wooden train in his living room. It was nothing special, but I always loved the fact that you could connect the wagons and fill them with little figurines. The best toys are often the simplest. Many years ago I started working on my own wooden train project. The basic idea was also to fill the train with figurines. Some of those figurines would be connected to each other. If you placed them in the right order, you could also connect the wagons to each other. We made a few prototypes in wood, but they all looked very boring. It was also too difficult for little children to manipulate. A toy for that age needs to be self explanatory.And the figurines didn’t really stay inside their wagons. So I shelved the idea because it was not good enough (yet). Last year I wanted to give it another try. For the fairy tales of SmartGames we often use a material named TPR (thermoplastic rubber), which is soft and flexible. So I replaced the wooden figurines with TPR blocks. These would stay better in place, because of the friction between the flexible blocks and the wagons. But the biggest change was that I changed the colored figurines in different shapes. This way the challenges became a lot more interesting and the concept explains itself. The resulting product is a mix of a shape sorter and a logic puzzle. I choose for a square, circle and 6 pointed star, because the shapes needed to stay identical when mirrored (or when you place them upside down). example of an easy challenge (on top) and solution (below) showing a train with only 1 short wagon and 3 blocks For very young children who don’t understand the concept of “challenges and solution’ yet, the train is a shape sorter. Just try to connect all wagons by inserting the shapes. The locomotive has one empty slot. Then there is a wagon with two and a wagon with 3 slots. This already results in 15 different combinations of trains you can build. By adding the colors and shapes of the puzzle pieces, the number of possible trains further goes up. Some blocks are doubled sided. On one side they are square and on the other side they are circular. Challenges only show the shape which is visible from the topside. The game includes 9 blocks, although you only need 6 if you want to make the longest possible train (with the locomotive and the two wagons). So each time you will at least have 3 block left over. Brain Train includes the following combinations of blocks:-2 single blocks
-2 combinations of 2 different blocks
-1 combination of 3 different blocks
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