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The CORTEX2 CHALLENGE is a game of BRAINS and there's not a Zombie in sight.

It is published by ASMODEE and although no one is actually credited with its design there are details pointing towards Captain Macaque.

It comes with a compact rules book in several languagesA Deck of 90 cards and 24 pieces of Brain in 4 different colours and quarters - collecting one of each Brain piece wins the game.


Of the 90 cards, 10 are set aside because their flip side has been designed to be felt rather than viewed. These are unique to this game and are a lot of fun because although you may play several times it is still easy to confuse the feel of one card to the next, even though they actually do feel very different when you look at them at the same time as running your fingers across them. The other cards have different designes on their backs but they are all shuffled together, do not separate the different card backs into separate stacks. This is so you can see what the next challenge is - the cards in the deck are the challenges.


Although it is for up to 6 players it is best with either two or four playing as teams against each other. With five players it is awkward and with six it is lumpy.

Playing as opposing teams players can take turns in flipping a card over from the top of the deck - this is only because it might be seen as a slight advantage to either draw the card and face it towards you as you do, or to face it away and give the opponents a first look. Thus flipping cards over quickly is imperative. 

The non-game side of the cards will show one of 8 designs:



If it shows a pair of hands, one red and one blue with a speech bubble above them it means that the flip side of the card will reveal one hand and two sets of numbers, one on the hand and one in a bubble. You have to quickly identify the hand (Blue is Right and Red is Left) and raise the number of fingers as shown in the hand whilst saying aloud the result of the numbers in the bubble added together. As with the majority of the tests (exception the Feeling Test) the first person to get the right answer wins the card. Once a player has won two cards of the same type they exchange them for a Brain piece.

The other card backs are: Observation: a head with a large eye - look at the banks of Robots and find the faulty one.  Squares: The flip side is made up of squares but how many blank squares does it take to form the filled shape(s) on the card ?  Analysis - 4 of the shapes are similar and in a row - which four ?  Unique - This one really gets your brain working. Several objects are on display but only one of them is unique in as much as it's the only one of its shape or only one of its colour.  Combination: Onefive pointed star with different coloured tips, three possible solutions but only one is correct.  Tracking: A,B,C or D ? Which path leads to the centre of the Maze ?  Finally the Touch card challenge - can you identify a card by its feel while you have your eyes closed ?


CORTEX 2 CHALLENGE is the second game in the CORTEX series and is really just as fine and fun a game. It can be played by two teams of one person per team or teams of 2, or 3, though as I have said it doesn't play as well with 6 as it does with 2 or 4.Challenges you succeed at.The cards are cleverly designed, the feel cards are extremely good and the Brain pieces are viable even though they are in various colours - not sure why though as the colour of the Brain piece you win has nothing to do with the type of challenges you succeed at. The box says games take about 15 minutes, which is great for a family game, and also that it is for players aged 8+, though younger players (say from aged 6 up) may be able to succeed at many of the challenges depending if they are used to playing games.

CORTEX2 CHALLENGE makes a super change from the usual Trivia Games that appear to be how many game designers see is the best genre for families. The 8 challenges in CORTEX2 are competely different from those found in the first CORTEX CHALLENGE game, with the exception of the Touch/Feel challenge where it is the same but with different textures. In the original game these were: Teddy Bear, Leather, Rope, Wood, Peach, Basketball, Bread, Zebra, Moss and Strawberry. in CORTEX2 these are: A Golf Ball, A Rusty Chain, A Beetle (the Insect not the car), Ice Crystals, A Walnut, Lychees, A Parrot, a Peacock Feather, Asphalt (road) and a Cheese Grater (mind your fingers). If you already have the first game you'll want this one, if you haven't the first game you'll want this one and that one.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2021