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Mastermind Board Game Review, Rules & Instructions



Met Expectations


Replay Value


Engaged Players


Value for Money


Overall Rating




Mastermind at A Glance

Game Type
Play Time
20 mins
Skill/Complexity (2 - 5)
Pressman, and others
Abstract Strategy / Family /
Our Rating


mastermind board game


About – Description

The Mastermind board game was first released in 1971 and has since challenged players of all ages. Developed by Mordecai Meirowitz, its design challenges adults and young players from the age of 8 years old.

It’s suitable for two players and with a playing time of 20 minutes, it does not require too much of a commitment.

Mastermind classic box covers
Different people, same pose: MasterMind offers a man or woman for every taste? (@EndersGame)

Who’s it best suited for?

Mastermind the board game is suitable for two players and it enables old and young players to go head-to-head. It is ideal for those who like a strategy based game that is not too challenging.

In one way it is an educational game. Players have to make educated guesses and then form a strategy to crack the code.

Skill – Complexity

The game is certainly not one of the more complex strategy games out there. Players have to work methodically and logically, but the Mastermind Board Game is anything but complex.

As it is suitable for Children aged 8 years over, it provides them plenty of challenges. Adults can still benefit from the strategy side of this board game.

Set Up – Playing Rules & Instructions

Set up is relatively simple as it consists of a board with holes and colored pegs.

Mastermind close up picture
A quick solution with massive amount of luck. (@Wermuth)

One player becomes the code maker and the other the code breaker.

The code maker creates a code which consists of a sequence of four colored pegs hidden behind a screen. The codebreaker then has to try and guess the code by placing their pegs in a pattern to replicate that of the code maker.

At this point, the code maker then identifies whether the code breaker is right while offering clues. The code maker can then signal if the codebreaker is right by using smaller pegs to indicate whether they are correct.

Eventually, the codebreaker should be able to crack the code and become a Mastermind.

Versions – Editions

Originally, the release year of Mastermind the board game was 1971 and since then it has been released in many different countries. This includes the likes of Italy, Greece, China, Germany and even Brazil.

There have been a number of versions made including a wooden version and a travel version.

Mastermind in play: Attache version, game in progress.
Attache version, game in progress. (@PaleHorseRider)

Likes & Dislikes

thumbs up

  • Nostalgic game.
  • Simplistic and fun.
  • Encourage logical thinking for kids.
  • Short play time.
  • One for the abstract deductive thinking players.

thumbs down

  • Might feel outdated for some people now and other better options.
  • Tricky getting an enthusiastic opponent to play.

Players love the design of this game and the fact that there are over 2000 possible combinations of codes.

Many people hold onto the fond memories it gave them as a child, proving that it is suitable for children.

As the play time is short, players like the fact that they can unbox it and play it in under 30 minutes. However, many find that the pieces can become fiddly and can get lost.

Final Thoughts

This is a game that undoubtedly challenges and tests people of all ages. Even though it is a deduction game, it does require logic and a level of methodology.

The Mastermind board game is for people of all ages and as it is possible to complete it in a short space of time, it makes it the ideal past time.

Available @ Amazon »

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