Game of the week: Mastermind

Perfect game for IQ comparison; fun game for two that requires cracking codes



Similar to Battleship, this game is about guessing the code your rival created.


Are you and your friends constantly comparing IQ’s? Do you swear you could join the CIA and be the smartest analyst they ever had? This is a competitive game for those who love cracking codes and reading their friend’s brains. It’s time to find out who the Mastermind really is. To play, you only need two people.

To begin Mastermind, players need to decide which player will be the Codebreaker and which will be the Codemaker. You can decide at this point how many games you wish to play. The board is put between the two players, with the code shield facing the Codemaker.

The Codemaker will pick four colored pegs out of 6 color options to put behind the code shield. Any combination of colors is acceptable. Two or more of the same color is also allowed. Codemaker can go crazy here.

The Codebreaker then begins to guess what is behind the shield. They will mimic the code on the first row of holes.  The Codemaker will use the black and white pegs to let the Codebreaker know how close they are.

Pegs are placed to the left of the proposed code. A black peg means a color is correct and in the right position. The white peg means a color is correct but in the wrong position. No peg means the color is not used in the code.

Pegs are not put in any order or designated to any part of the code, making it extra fun for the Codebreaker to figure out what pertains to what. Once the Codebreaker analyzes their next move, the next proposition of the code can be placed in the next holes and play continues.

Once the code is cracked, the Codebreaker and maker switch places.

Every row that the Codebreaker uses is a point for the Codemaker. If the Codebreaker can’t crack the code in 10 rows, the round is over and the Codemaker gets 11 points. Whoever has the most points at the end of the proposed games wins and is the Mastermind.

I love this game because it gives those who usually lose language games such as Scrabble or Apples to Apples a chance to redeem themselves. There is no way to talk yourself into winning this game, it is pure logic and puzzle.

This game can be bought on Amazon for $11.

If you decide to play this game or have in the past, be sure to comment on your experiences below.