Dimension game review: Stacking spheres speedily

Dimension is a fast-paced, three-dimensional test of logical thinking that has proven to be the most popular new game we have tried in ages.

I was provided with a copy of this game for review purposes.

The aim of the game is straightforward. Stack your spheres on your tray as determined by a set of six task cards which indicate how you must place them on your tray. These cards may determine the number of spheres of certain colours you can place, or dictate that certain pairs must (or must not) touch each other, or that specific colours cannot be positioned on top of or underneath other spheres. The more spheres you can stack and the more tasks you can complete, the more points you earn.

Simple enough in principle. However, task cards may contradict each other or force players to trade off how many tasks they can fulfil against how many spheres they can stack. It’s a constantly changing challenge that requires players to think quickly to optimise their score in each of the six rounds within the one-minute time limit. There’s no time to waste and mistakes can be costly.

At first glance, Dimension looks daunting. The (many) counters and playing trays all need to be punched out and assembled and the rules initially seem quite complex. However, once we had played a couple of practice rounds everything fell into place and our two boys (aged 9½ and 7½) quickly grasped both the rules and the game-play. They were soon competing on a similar level to my wife and I.

What sort of players will Dimension suit? To win requires a quick, problem-solving mind and the ability to juggle multiple and sometimes conflicting priorities. It’s not a game that requires a particularly strategic outlook but equally it’s not one where you can win by being lucky. If there is a significant difference in ability between the various players, it’s hard for the weaker players to overcome this.

However, with all players competing against the clock simultaneously, if you like a challenging, fast-moving game that doesn’t require you to wait for long periods between turns then this will appeal. A six-round game takes no more than 30 minutes to complete and it’s easy enough to shorten or lengthen the game as desired by altering the number of rounds.

Dimension can be played by between one and four players. We tried it with two, three and four and found it worked equally well with all combinations. Two-player games are quicker to complete because it takes less time to work out individual scores at the end of each round. The four-player version offers more of an opportunity to evaluate and learn from everyone’s different approaches but this doesn’t slow things down significantly.

While Kara (5½) was a little too young for this – the recommended minimum age is eight – the boys loved it. I always say the sign of a good game is one where the kids demand a second game straight away. That was definitely the case here. Furthermore, when I woke up the following morning I found them playing it again in their bedroom. So a definite hit!

I cannot fault Dimension as a game, although it will appeal more to a family of quick-witted problem-solvers than to people who prefer longer, drawn-out strategy games. If I have one gripe though, it’s the price. Dimension typically retails for around £40, which is a lot to invest in a new game. Given the quality of the game and the number of different pieces included, I’d still say it’s worth it – but it does require something of a leap of faith at that price that will put some potential buyers off. That would be a shame, though, because we found Dimension to be an enthralling and addictive game that I’m sure we will be playing for a long time to come.

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