Ever since I played Blueprints in San Francisco, I had the idea of writing an article specific to games which build and test spatial skills, awareness, and reasoning. One reason I wanted to this is because spatial skills are not my strong suit, and these games help build awareness in this area. So, behold –
1 – Blueprints (Ages 14+)
This is the perfect spatial reasoning game in my opinion. It’s interesting, and fun, and there are many layers to the game – it stretches your mind. On the one hand, players act as architects and use dice to build small structures that are hidden to other players, given certain parameters; you can build on top of a dice if it is equal or lower value (e.g. a 5 could be placed on a 4). Players must also factor in what dice they are using when building as the colored dice score bonus points at the end of each round.
2 – Fold-It (Ages 8+)
This is an incredibly fun, challenging, and SUPER SPATIAL game that is perfect for groups. It takes about 5 minutes to set up and the pay off is SO MUCH FUN! For up to 5 players, each player is given a piece of cloth and gets to “cook” food based on the orders that are coming in (e.g. rearrange their cloth to show what is on the order card). The orders have 2, 3, or 4 types of food on them, and the best fastest chef wins- believe me, this not EASY. I guarantee you will be amazed at how much fun this is, and the unusual challenge, as we don’t use these ‘cooking’ skills every day.
3 – Silver & Gold (Ages 8+)
I recently tried this game, and enjoyed it. It’s simpler to learn and set up than Blueprints, so for a lighter game that is easy to bring along and get started on, I recommend Silver and Gold. This is a wipe and erase game where players mark off the tetris-like shapes that come up on at random, gaining points for each grid card completed, along with the bonus points they earn along the way.
4 – Cubist (Ages 7+)
This a more involved game than both Blueprints and Silver and Gold, though absolutely a spatial reasoning game, as well as a strategy game. Players must build tetris shapes on their card using dice while also using dice to acquire bonus cards and complete commissioned art installations for the museum.
5 – Santorini (Ages 8+)
I found this game to to be especially challenging , and great for testing your spatial abilities and learning. While the spatial element is NOT the entire game, it is a BIG part of this highly reviewed and recommended game as players build up to 3 levels (plus a dome) to complete their buildings. Building takes place 1 level at time, and takes chess like strategy and thought to execute. Plus, you must also be keeping an eye on other players to ensure they don’t landing on a building with 3 levels on their turn and win.
6 – Tokyo Highway (Ages 8+)
This is a unique game in that players are building physical components as the game. There is spatial awareness involved, though not in quite the same way as the previous games mentioned above. Players build highways and must take into account direction and height as well as how other players are building to gain points and successfully grow their highway. Note: agility is needed here, so I do not recommend this for those with shaky hands or who cannot easily pick up and place small pieces and components.