Dr. Eureka: Formula for Fun?

Dr. Eureka - Mix the Molecules, Master the Formula

Test tubes clank as their contents are poured back and forth. “Eureka!” a voice shouts. “I’ve got it!” Dr. Eureka promises fast-paced, family-friendly gameplay. But does this dexterity-puzzle game master the formula for fun?

3 test tubes, 2 colored balls in each

Gameplay

Dr. Eureka, from Blue Orange Games, combines real-time puzzle solving with dexterity. Each player starts with three “test tubes” containing their “molecules”: 2 green balls, 2 red balls, and 2 purple balls. When all players are ready, one of them flips over a Challenge card – which shows 3 test tubes containing the 6 balls in a particular pattern. Players race to be the first one to match the pattern in their own test tubes. The catch? No one is allowed to touch the balls, only to pour them back and forth between the tubes. If a player touches any of their molecules or drops them, they are out of the round.

Dr. Eureka card showing three test tubes with colored balls

Challenge card

Once a player matches the pattern exactly, they shout “Eureka!” Play stops and everyone examines the test tubes. The matching player earns a point. When one player reaches five points, the game ends.

Variations

Not hard enough? Try “Expert Mode” – players must keep all three tubes in their hands, only setting them down once they have completed the challenge and shouted “Eureka”.

Is the speed nature of the game too frustrating? Try it as a pure puzzle, for one player or for many. Players can guess how few moves it will take to solve each card. The player who guesses the lowest number gets a chance to prove themselves right.

pouring balls between test tubes

Impressions

The combination of speed, puzzle, and dexterity makes this a great equalizer. Players who are normally less-than-great at strategy games may find that this set of skills come more easily to them, while players who are accustomed to leading in speed games may suddenly find themselves lagging behind.

The game components themselves are solid and pleasant to manipulate. Even our toddler enjoyed pouring the colorful balls back and forth between “test tubes”.

In our experience, people tended to either love or hate this game. Competition to be the fastest is fierce, and players with imperfect fine-motor coordination may get easily frustrated by the requirements of gameplay. On the other hand, this is a dexterity game based on state, not possession. The winning player is the first to yell “Eureka!” when
they’ve got their tubes in the right pattern. This is great because there is no physical jockeying for position, which can be a real problem with siblings.

We recommend Dr. Eureka if you are looking for a speedy game to stretch your brain. Pick it up for $20 or less, and you may just find yourself yelling “Eureka! I’ve found it!”

 

The Family Gamers received a review copy of Dr. Eureka from Blue Orange Games.

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