Building on the success of the MagnetCubes game from last year, this year’s edition comes with a new type of gameplay that merges the building aspects of LEGO and Minecraft with the competitive nature of multiplayer survival games like Chess and Fortnite (or even Squid Games, if you’re that intense!) The MagnetCubes doesn’t let you simply play a game, it involves you in the design process too, allowing you to build your own gaming board in three dimensions. With two separate styles of gameplay, the 2021 MagnetCubes lets you either build a 3D Hot Wheels-style track for metal marbles to run in an infinite loop, or play a game of CubeClimbers where various players compete against each other to climb to the top of the MagnetCubes mountain.
Designers: MagnetCubes by J. S. Wolfe, CubeClimbers by Benjamin Hwang
Using a transparent framework of pillars and beams held in place by magnets, MagnetCube gives you the joy of building first, and then of playing. The cube format lends itself to two different games – a multiplayer game called CubeClimbers, or a rollercoaster-building game called Liftpack. CubeClimbers is all about ascent, and starts by building a tall multi-level structure by snapping the cubes together to make a pixelated mountain with steep ascents and drops. The mountain is then explored by small plastic climbers, who either climb up or fall down based on what the roll of the die says.
A set of 16 power cards make the game much more interesting, by allowing players to add or remove cubes from underneath players, freeze them for a number of turns, levitate above them, or my personal favorite, kick them off a precipice in what could potentially be a friendship-ruining move! A rulebook helps you through the game, and the infinite customizability of the magnetic cube’s gaming terrain makes each game absolutely unique and just as fun.
The Liftpack game quite literally turns you into a RollerCoaster Tycoon, letting you build out elaborate coaster tracks and Rube Goldberg machines for marbles to run through. The game still relies on the modular magnetic transparent cubes, but the cubes simply form a framework for red-colored plastic rails that you assemble on top, making a pathway for your marbles to roll on. The game comes with everything you need to make an infinite loop for your marbles, along with a motorized chain lift to carry the marbles up to the top of the coaster, only to have them rolling, sliding, and speeding down the track again!
The two games are available as separate sets. The CubeClimbers set comes with up to 8 player pieces and has 16 power cards, a rollable die, and a rulebook. The Liftpack set, on the other hand, is available in Standard and Advance variants (just like last year’s edition), allowing you to be small and efficient, or embrace a go-big-or-go-home attitude and make a wild track that’s filled with twists and turns. Each Liftpack kit comes with ball-bearings that ride on the tracks you build, relying on their design and a combination of gravity, inertia, and potential/kinetic energy to get from A to B.
With its 2020 campaign seeing over 4,000 backers, the Liftpack got a fair deal of attention from kids as well as adults who wanted to relive their childlike fantasy and build out a mini rollercoaster track. For gamers who love the competitive spirit and like playing board games that are filled with intrigue, strategy, and a sprinke of betrayal, the CubeClimbers is a perfect alternative! Select your MagnetCube game set and back the campaign now, and you’ll get your game around July next year.