Skip to content

The Meeple Guild: Some gameshave broader hobbyist appeal

Hockey fans might like as a novelty
Brain Pucks is a game licensed by the NHL.
YORKTON - Have you ever heard of the game Brain Pucks? 

Probably not, and admittedly it was not familiar here either. 

But, as game gatherers will know, garage sales can be an excellent hunting ground for the weird and the unusual, and that is where Brain Pucks was found. 

From the box it was rather clear the game was another take on getting pieces in-a-row to win. In this case four in-a-row on a four-by-four board. 

Such games are rarely that ‘deep’ in terms of strategy, although some, Teeko and Wizard’s Garden coming to mind, are quite enjoyable. 

But Brain Pucks did not lure yours truly to spend a whopping $3 because it was essentially another take on tic-tac-toe. 

No, in this case it was the theme, which relates to the National Hockey League.  

This game, as unknown as it seems to be, is a licensed product by the NHL. 

Now these days, pro sports leagues in North America will slap their logos on just about anything, so in no way does a product being licensed mean it’s good or bad, it simply means somebody is paying some dollars to the league. 

In the case of Brain Pucks from McWiz it simply means the game board has an NHL logo on each of the 16 squares, two each of eight different teams. On the box cover the teams included all six original NHL teams; Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Detroit, Boston and New York, plus Pittsburgh and Colorado. 

The actual game board had Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, Edmonton, New Jersey, LA, St. Louis and Philadelphia, so apparently a variety of board configurations exist. 

The logos look nice, albeit since they are randomly applied it has a somewhat busy look too. 

Each player has eight ‘pucks’. 

Player one places a piece on any square. Then player two places two pieces, with each player adding two on subsequent turns. 

When a player places a piece so that their pieces sit on two identical logos, they must remove one of their opponent’s pieces from the board. 

As you can imagine the first player is likely to have no pieces on the board facing two of his opponent’s by the time they get a second turn. 

While the ability to remove pieces is interesting, and some added strategy exists because you can work toward capture based on the logos you place on, it’s still a very simple game. 

So why review it here? 

Simply because Brain Pucks is one of those games that is likely to entice NHL fans more than it does gamers, and those hockey fans may never play the game, but rather keep it as memorabilia. 

There are lots of games like that these days. NHL Ice Breaker the 2006 release from Fabio and Paolo Del Rio being one that comes to mind that is actually a fine game, and there are rod hockey sets where the players have real NHL logos too. 

It would be quite a collection if a sports fan simply looked for games that are licensed by a league, and at that point a garage sale find such as Brain Pucks might be a treasure, and not just an oddity.