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16 Pieces of Pine 

All the pieces in this game are the same length the same thickness and the same width and you have to make increasingly difficult models using them, no glue no nails no screws just friction to hold them together it is not easy, in fact for some of the models it’s very difficult, or for me anyway close to impossible.

Kapla Challenge
click image to enlarge

My annual visit to the 2018 Toy Fair had me stop in my tracks at this stand to take a second – and third look – at a far more impressive model created by the lady on the stand of a very large balloon (also made of these pieces of pine) which she assembled in 90 minutes, my thought was wow. Which is possibly what she intended she had me hooked.

I left with this small set called Kapla Challenge and for me anyway it certainly was.

The box is 12.5x12.5x3.5cm and as it weighs only 300grams, easy to fit in case for a weekend away essentially to keep the kids entertained, but once they are asleep – I am told it does happen sometimes – dad or mum might try their hand.

Each piece of pine – the colour of balsa wood but much stronger – is 11.6x2.3x.7cm. Even the way they fit into the box is a little different but I will let you discover that for yourself.

As there is no fixative of any kind even the easiest ‘1/12’ is not that easy, one plank horizontal for the base and one vertical in the centre to form an upturned ‘T’ then another horizontal on top to form an extended top and bottom to an ‘I’, now add another upright on each side so you end up with a ‘U’ on top of the upturned ‘T’.

You need extremely steady hands, rather like building a house of cards but much harder as you only have 2.3x.7cm to build on and remember that is both ends of that single piece.

The strap line on their box is ‘both brains and hands come into play to achieve harmony and balance of mankind’.

The next model starts with five pieces and increases in difficult to use six and then seven, five was fiendish and at my advance age I never got the six piece – let alone the seven piece – puzzle done.

All you need is a flat surface and very steady hands and infinite patience.

The surface of the pine is a little grippy – my spellchecker hates that word – but that is your only friend do not try this outdoors or even indoors with people walking past as that will be enough to collapse your project.

The image I am using is the large hot air balloon that can be built using larger sets and by then you must be an expert. According to the lady on the stand to build the hot air balloon you would need around £100 worth of pieces which would probably be two of the larger kits.

The Kapla Challenge can be purchased from Amazon for £12.19.

The Kapla site has some very impressive constructions.

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Overall16 Pieces of Pine rated 80 out of 100

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