Starting with the release of the original Pictureka! back in 2006, the Pictureka! series was quite popular in the mid to late 2000s spawning quite a few spinoff games before dying out for the most part in the early 2010s. In the past we have actually looked at quite a bit of the series which includes the first and second editions of the original Pictureka!, Pictureka! Card Game, Pictureka! Disney Edition, and Pictureka! Flipper. At this point the only Pictureka! games that I haven’t reviewed are Pictureka! Mega Mat (mostly for younger children), Cars 2 Pictureka!, Easter Pictureka!, and finally Pictureka! Kubes. Well today I am looking at Pictureka! Kubes. I hoped that it would be better than the rest of the series but I can’t say my expectations were high. Pictureka! Kubes does a little to distinguish itself from the rest of the Pictureka! series but at the end of the day is basically like every other Pictureka! game.
How to Play Pictureka! Kubes
Pictureka! Kubes Game consists of four different games. Each game has its own rules but there are some rules that the games share in common which are as follows:
- Shuffle the cards and place them face down where everyone can reach them.
- Attach the two game grid sections together.
- Assemble the cubes using one blue and white half. If you are playing the Side 2 Side game, create cubes of the same color.
- Decide whether you are going to use the white or blue half of the cards.
- When a mission card is flipped over, players search for a picture that matches the mission (the text of the color chosen by the players). When you spot a picture that matches the current mission, yell out Pictureka! and point to the picture. If you yell Pictureka! before finding a picture, the other players can pick a punishment for you.
- If there are no pictures that match the current mission, discard the card and draw a new one.
- Choose which player will start the game.
The grid is not used in this game so you can set it aside. If there are 2-4 players, each player takes two cubes. If there are more than four players, each player takes one cube.
Players take turns flipping over the next mission card. When the mission card is flipped over players look at their cube(s) to try to find a picture that matches the mission. Players can turn their cubes in order to see all six sides. When you find an appropriate picture place the corresponding face of the cube face up on top of the card and shout Pictureka! Point to the picture you think matches the mission. If players do not agree with your choice, take your cube back and continue looking for an item that matches the mission. When everyone agrees with a player’s choice, the player who placed the cube, takes the mission card.
The first player to acquire four mission cards, wins the game.
Randomly lay out the cubes on the grid.
Players take turns flipping over the next mission card. Once a mission card is flipped over all of the players look for a picture that matches the current mission. Players cannot touch any of the cubes until they find a picture that matches the mission. Player are able to move around the gameboard to look at the cubes from any angle.
When a player finds a matching picture they shout Pictureka! They show the picture to the other players. If all of the players don’t agree with the choice, the players continue looking for a picture that matches the mission. When all of the players agree on a picture meeting the mission, the player who spotted the picture gets to keep the mission card. The cube that was used is turned so the picture that was used is face down. The cube is also moved to a different slot in the grid. The next mission card is then flipped over.
The first player to acquire four mission cards, wins the game.
Side 2 Side
The players divide into two teams. The cubes halves are combined to create four blue and four white cubes. There will be one remaining half for both colors that are not used. Place all four white cubes on one side of the board next to one team and the four blue cubes on the other side of the board.
Teams take turns flipping over the next mission card. When the mission card is flipped over, each team looks at their own cubes trying to find a picture that matches the mission. Players may not touch any of their cubes until they find a matching picture. They can move around the gameboard to look at all of the faces of their cubes. When you find a matching picture shout Pictureka! If all of the players agree, the team who found the picture can move the cube that features the picture forward one space.
If one of the other team’s cubes block your path, you can jump over it to the empty space behind it. If the last space on the other side of the board is occupied by the other team’s cube, you can swap your cube with their cube.
The first team to get all four of their cubes to the other side of the board wins the game.
Bump ‘n’ Slide
Lay out all of the cubes in the middle of the gameboard. Bump ‘n’ Slide is played by one player at a time. The player to the left of the current player is in charge of laying out cards and keeping track of the time. Each player will get 30 seconds to try and get as many cards as possible.
The first mission card is flipped over and the timer begins. The current player searches all of the cubes trying to find a picture that matches the current mission. The player can turn the grid but cannot pick up any of the cubes. Instead of picking up the cubes, players can push a line of cubes in any direction on the grid. When a player spots a matching picture, the card is set aside and another card is flipped over.
When the 30 seconds are up, the current player’s turn is up. The player keeps all of the cards they earned in the round. Once all of the players have had two turns as the current player, they compare how many cards they earned. The player who earned the most cards wins the game.
My Thoughts on Pictureka! Kubes
Having played most of the games in the Pictureka! series of games, I would say that I had a pretty strong opinion of the series before playing Pictureka! Kubes. While there are things that I liked about the series, I was always left a little disappointed by the series. I really like the premise behind the series as I was a big fan of the Where’s Waldo? series of books growing up. The idea of searching through a bunch of random items looking for a specific item has a lot of potential for a board game. This mechanic has already been used successfully in a game like Scrutineyes. Despite loving the game’s premise the Pictureka! franchise has never been as good as I was hoping it would be. I have had some fun with the games but they get repetitive rather quickly.
I was hoping that Pictureka! Kubes was going to change my opinion as it added a couple interesting new mechanics. While some of the additions add some interesting ideas to the franchise, for the most part Pictureka! Kubes is the same as the rest of the series. The players are still competing to be the first player to find an item that matches the current mission. The first person to acquire a certain number of cards wins the game. This is fun for a while but it can get repetitive pretty quickly.
As the basic premise of the game remains unchanged, Pictureka! Kubes shares one of the biggest problems of its predecessor. Just like with the rest of the series there are going to be issues with players arguing about whether something fits the mission. As most of the missions are open ended, players are going to have different interpretations about what should and shouldn’t count. If players are stubborn this could lead to arguments. While this didn’t seem as prevalent in Kubes as the rest of the series, it is still an issue. Basically the only way to prevent this from becoming a real problem is to have all of the players agree that the game shouldn’t be taken seriously so players are more willing to agree on whether an item should count or not.
While Pictureka! Kubes shares a lot in common with the rest of the series, there are a couple ways that the game does differentiate from the rest of the series.
It might not be the most noticeable difference but the fact that Pictureka! Kubes eliminated the different card colors slightly improves the game in my opinion. While I usually like variety I thought the different colored cards in Pictureka! didn’t really add much to the game. They basically tried to come up with different ways to use the “Where’s Waldo?” mechanic and yet they basically all played the same. One of the mechanics was even broken in the original Pictureka!. While eliminating the different colored cards from the game took out a little variety, it simplifies the game and keeps the focus on what Pictureka! does best.
The most significant change for Pictureka! Kubes is the whole cube idea. Basically Pictureka! Kubes takes the flat cards from the other Pictureka! games and turns them into cubes. While this is mostly a cosmetic change, Pictureka! Kubes tries to use it to create different types of games that you can play with the cubes. In some ways I think the cubes improve the game and in other ways they don’t really add much to the game. To further explain I want to quickly look at the different games you can play with Pictureka! Kubes.
Let’s begin with Grab ’em. Basically Grab ’em takes the red cards from the second edition of Pictureka! and turns them into their own game. Each player is given one or two cubes which they can use to find the current item. As the pictures are on cubes players have to twist and turn their cubes to find the item. While the cubes don’t drastically improve this game I think they make it a little more challenging as you have to twist and turn the cubes to find items. This game is moderately fun as it is kind of fun to race the other players to find an item on one of your cubes. It gets repetitive after a while though.
The second game in Pictureka! Kubes in Hanzoff!. Basically Hanzoff! plays the same as the normal game except you can’t see all of the faces of each cube. Each player can see between one and three of the faces of each cube without moving at all. To see the other sides that aren’t covered up you have to move around the table or lean over the gameboard. Just like with Grab ’em this mechanic adds a little to the game but I don’t know if it adds enough to really justify adding the cubes to the game. Just like with Grab ’em you can have some fun with HanzOff! but it gets a little repetitive after a while.
The third game in Pictureka! Kubes is Side 2 Side. In Side 2 Side the players separate into two teams and try to get their cubes to the other side before the other team. I like to think of Side 2 Side as Pictureka! meets Checkers. Basically the first team to complete the mission gets to move the cube that they found the item on forward one space. The Checkers comparison comes from the fact that you can jump over the other team’s cubes (straight instead of diagonal like Checkers). Heading into the game I thought it was going to differentiate the most from the original game. The board mechanics don’t really come into play that often though as the game’s outcome still comes down to who can find the items first. The only times the board comes into play is determining which cube you should focus on. When one of your cubes are next to the other team’s cube you want to try to use that cube as you gain a free space by jumping over the other team’s cube. The other way it changes the game is that it allows players to ignore their cubes that have already made it to the other side of the board. Otherwise Side 2 Side plays like pretty much every other Pictureka! Game.
While playing Side 2 Side one of the unique problems in Pictureka! Kubes starts to surface. As players can’t touch the cubes, the only way to see some of the sides of a cube is either to walk around to the other side of the table or to hover over the board hoping to get a better look. This creates problems as two or more players may try to look at other sides of the cubes at the same time and their heads could get in each others way. With players looking over the top of the cubes, other player’s vision will also be obscured. With overly aggressive players this could create some problems as players bump heads or try to push each other out of the way. Unfortunately I don’t know if there really is a way that this issue can be fixed unless there are rules put in place where you can’t get in the other players way.
The final game you can play in Pictureka! Kubes is Bump ‘n’ Slide. Bump ‘n’ Slide is a game where players try to match as many missions as they can in a given time period. Unlike the other Pictureka! games, Bump ‘n’ Slide has players taking turns trying to find matching pictures. The only thing that is unique about the game is that you can slide the cubes around the board in order to see more faces of the cubes. I found this game to be solid but nothing special either. I appreciate that it introduces a potential single player mode to the game but the sliding mechanic doesn’t really add a whole lot to the game.
The component quality for the game is pretty typical for a Hasbro game. I have always kind of liked the art style for Pictureka! and it is no different for Pictureka! Kubes. The cubes are of a decent thickness and they slide apart pretty easily which allows you to change the cubes from time to time. The board is made of pretty cheap plastic. The biggest problem that I had with the components is the number of cards included. The game comes with 40 cards. With each card having two missions that means you can play 80 rounds before you have to repeat a mission. That might sound like a lot but you will go through those missions quicker than you would expect. While you could just replay the same missions over again, I think Hasbro could have included more cards with the game.
Should You Buy Pictureka! Kubes?
At the end of the day Pictureka! Kubes does a couple new things but is pretty much your basic Pictureka! game. Just like the rest of the series you are still competing to be the first person to spot the item from the current mission. While this is kinda fun it gets repetitive kind of quickly. Pictureka! Kubes still shares the problem with the rest of the series where there will be arguments about whether something matches the current mission or not. As far as the games that you can play with Pictureka! Kubes, I would say that they are slightly better than most of the other Pictureka! games but are not significantly better. Basically Pictureka! Kubes is on par with the rest of the Pictureka! series.
As Pictureka! Kubes is not much different from the rest of the series, if you have ever played a Pictureka! game before you probably already have a pretty good idea of whether you will like Pictureka! Kubes. If you have liked other games in the series I think you will like Pictureka! Kubes as well. I would only pick it up if you really enjoy the game though as it doesn’t differ that much from the rest of the series. If you have never cared for Pictureka! before I don’t see Pictureka! Kubes changing that opinion. If you have never played Pictureka! before your enjoyment of the game basically comes down to whether you like the “Where’s Waldo” style gameplay and if you have younger children to play the game with.