Katamino is a colorful wooden game and puzzle made up of ten of the twelve pentominoes, which are all of the possible shapes that can be made from five squares. It lacks the I, which is five cubes long, and the T, which looks like a plus sign, but it includes extra one- and two-unit blocks to fill in leftover spaces.

Katamino One way to play is to place the divider bar between positions 6 and 7, so that it divides the board in half. Two players alternate choosing pieces until they each have half of them, then take turns placing their pieces on their half of the board. The winner is the player who manages to place the most pieces, leaving the fewest squares uncovered.

For single-player use, the bar can be placed in each possible position on the board, the challenge being to exactly fill each size of space, ranging from 3x12 to 5x12 squares in size, with pentaminoes, with or without the small filler blocks.

My son Peter loved this game from the age of six or seven. Discovering that two of the twelve pentominoes are not found in Katamino is what led us to obtaining Quintillions from Kadon Enterprises. The bar and frame in the Katamino puzzle makes alternative forms of play more obvious, though, so it is more suitable for younger children than the lovely Quintillions set. Katamino is also less expensive. The instructions include outlines of various shapes that can be constructed with the Katamino pieces.

Katamino game and puzzle Katamino is a stimulating brain-teaser as a solitaire puzzle, and a fun strategy game as well. Ideal for children aged 6 through adult. Buy from Amazon

Posted: Sun - August 14, 2005 at 12:49 PM