Game Review: Braintopia

Braintopia Game Review

Braintopia is known as Cortex outside of the USA

I really wasn’t expecting anything geat when I picked up Braintopia. I bought it on sale and figured that if it was a bummer, it’s no big deal.

Don’t let this unassuming little green box fool you, ohh no. Braintopia is a great way to:

•Bond with your family.

•Prove your dominance…I mean share in competitive speed drills that stimulate your brain.

•Spend 15-20 minutes of your day.

Bonus? It takes 3 minutes to learn and you probably won’t even need a video. Well, maybe you will. If you find that you do, check out this list of board game video tutorials.

How to play Braintopia

What's in the Braintopia Box?

Braintopia Game Review

•10 Memory Cards
•10 Maze Cards
•11 Color Cards
•11 Coordination Cards
•11 Frequency Cards
•10 Reasoning Cards
•6 Tactile Cards
•10 Texture Cards
•24 Brain Pieces
•High quality cardboard box

How to Play Braintopia

I liked Braintopia from the start for one reason; it takes 5 or fewer minutes to learn how to play. I know, right??

Learn the Cards: The very first thing you have to do after reading the instructions is to learn the cards. A quick play through of each type of card will take a few minutes of time, but it’s totally worth the time, promise. Let’s do an overview of the cards, don’t feel bad about referring back to the directions as you play.

Now that you are familiar with the cards, it’s time to play!

Step 1: Remove the 10 Texture Cards (the ones that feel funky) and allow each player a total of 10 seconds to manipulate each card. Shuffle and place in a face down pile to the side. Shuffle all remaining cards well and place face down in a pile for play. 


Pro tip: These cards are hard as heck to shuffle because they’re square and printed on heavy paper. To shuffle we spread them out on the table and go to town “shuffling”. The kids love it and it helps to get some of the wiggles out so everyone is ready to play.

•Step 2: One player picks up the top card in the play pile and quickly turns it over. When a player has an answer they “slam” their hand on top of the card. The player then reveals his answer. If the player is correct they collect the card, if the answer is incorrect the card is discarded & the player cannot participate in the next challenge.

How to play a tactile card: When a tactile challenge card comes into play, the player who completed the last challenge must now complete the tactile challenge. All other players pick a texture card for the player, the player then has 10 seconds to try to guess what it is. Correct answers earn a brain piece! The tactile card is them removed from the deck (or you can replay, whatever you feel like doing.)

House rules:
 We have two house rules for Braintopia.
1.We take turns flipping challenge cards over. This allows things to be a bit more fair among people with different motor control abilities.
2. We have a square table so our rule is that all players must have their elbow on the edge of the table, aside from those who have short arms

Braintopia Game Review

•Step 3: Collect cards to earn brain pieces. You need to collect two matching challenge cards to earn 1 brain piece. Collect all 4 brain piece to win.  But there’s a catch! You can never have more than 4 challenge cards in your hand, if you get a 5th card you must discard it or keep it and discard another. Be strategic!

The first player to earn all 4 brain pieces, wins the title of Brain Master!

What do we learn when playing Brantopia?

•Visual discrimination
•Sensory skills

Ways to adapt Braintopia

Reading: Not being able to read isn’t a deal breaker in this game. You can easily skip the cards. Another option is to have the readers play the card & allow the non-readers to have first dibs on answering the next card, 5 or 10 seconds should do it.

If the fit isn’t quite right, try a different version:
 There are currently three versions of Braintopia. Braintopia Kids and Braintopia Beyond are great standalones or they can be mixed and matched or act as expansions. If you take the expansion route, I suggest each player (or older player) collect two brains. 


Colorblindness: There is no way to adapt this game for those with any sort of colorblindness, or at least no way I know of. Several of the challenges require you to discriminate between colors and skipping all of them would put the card deck at a large deficit. 

Would we play Braintopia again?

Yes, we would. In fact, my kids have asked to play it again several times. I do believe, however, that this game will lose my family’s interest after 8-10 plays, but I think this game would be great for a small party game. If we still play the game regularly for the next 3 months, I’ll buy Braintopia Beyond to act as an expansion or alternative.