About this project
Children's games don't have to look childish.
Fourple isn't just another game to be forgotten in the closet - it is your go-to activity for almost any guest. Rules are quick and simple so the fun starts immediately. The beautiful birch game pieces are intentionally designed so they are pleasing to stack and look good in any living room.
Rule #1: Get 4 in a row up, across or diagonally.
That’s all - the shortest rule book in history. Start playing.
I Hate Rules
Ever have your eyes glaze over during the rule explanation of a new game? Intense strategy games or games with lots of rules can be overwhelming for many people. People think hard all day long so when social time arrives, some of us just want to relax. When I play a game for fun, I don’t want to have to think too hard about strategy or rules.
Now that we're done with rules, here are some free tips to aid your playing experience:
- If all pieces have been played and no one has won, continue play by moving the pieces that were already played.
- If you stack too high and cause a stack to topple, you lose. Maximum recommended height is 8 pieces.
- Try speed Fourple. Each player must make a move within 10 seconds of the previous move.
- Choose your style of play: The Wall- simplest, Stonehenge - circular, Cubicle - 3D cube
“I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed!"
- William Shakespeare
If an experienced player is playing a newbee, the experienced player could graciously offer 1-3 courtesy saves. When the newbee places a piece that will allow the other player to win on the next move, the gracious experienced player can allow him to replay the move. Play this style until the newbee wins his first game without needing a save.
Are we having fun yet?
Quality time with friends and family is one of the highlights of life. Doing enjoyable activities together is one of the most effective ways to bond with people. We believe the purpose of games is to create fun interaction with others and help build relationships with family, friends or potential new friends. Our family does not have game nights very often, but we do have many visitors to our home. We find that everyone becomes more at ease if we DO something in addition to conversation. I developed Fourple because we wanted an activity to help make sure that visitors in our home enjoy themselves.
“We always have fun at your house”
I wanted an icebreaker activity in my home that would help put my guests at ease and make their visit more fun. We do not have many game nights devoted to a particular game but when we have friends and family over, we want them to enjoy their time with us. I have purchased many games over the years to try to accomplish this goal. Other games may look nice but they have confusing rules and strategies that require too much time and concentration before anyone can really enjoy playing the game. Since I could not find a game to meet my needs, I made my own - and named it Fourple.
What would a toy inventor do?
As a toy inventor and informal education specialist I am all about discovering how to make games, toys and learning environments more engaging and effective. I spend my time teaching educators and museums how to engage their students/visitors with active, hands on learning methods. Connecting the hands and body to our thinking process makes our thinking more effective. I wanted to bring that hands on philosophy to my home. At our house we don’t just sit around and talk. We do something.
Goldilocks Game Syndrome: Too Easy, Too Hard, Too Long, Too Short
The problems with other games:
- Tic Tac To - Too easy and repetitive
- Chess - Too long, many rules, requires total concentration
- Coffee table games - odd, quirky rules
- Monopoly - Too long
- Most plastic kids games - too gimmicky and interest fades
- Settlers of Catan - Great game but often too long to play. Looooong rule book.
- Electronic games - For some kids, it’s all they do. Big problem
- Fourple - is just right
Build a Mind
Fourple helps to grow important life skills such as logical thinking, spatial reasoning, creativity and innovation. Each move requires a person to make logic decisions - If I place my piece here, then my opponent may place theirs there. People move around to view the game from various angles and better evaluate the spatial relationships. The game constantly changes so players enjoy lots of practice understanding and evaluating 3 dimensional relationships.
Older Adults - Use It or Lose It
For older adults, the goal is to preserve brain function and memory. If we don’t use it, we loose it. Many people do crossword puzzles or suduko to exercise their brains. Fourple provides spatial challenges that exercise different parts of the brain than the part that manages words and numbers. Three dimensional thinking preserves brain elasticity and improves your mind’s ability to learn and adapt.
Many children (and adults) are addicted to video games and electronic entertainment. Your only hope for an antidote is an alternative option that is at least as compelling as the hypnotic video screen. Fourple works. Administer in small doses to develop a healthy resistance to video addiction. The first step is admitting you have a problem.
The Secret Sauce
Fourple game pieces are intentionally designed so they are pleasing to stack. The blocks are large enough to easily grasp and precise enough to stack securely without wobble. We perfected this concept with KEVA planks and use it the same way with Fourple. It is a simple concept that must be done well to capture the magic of stacking and make each opportunity to place your Fourple piece a pleasant activity.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Fourple is not just another game to be forgotten in the closet. We made it from beautiful American Birch so you can leave it out to compliment the decor of your home. It can be your go-to activity for almost any guest. Toddlers? Give them some Fourple blocks to play with - that’s all you need. Older kids play against each other or with you. Grandparents have an instant activity to bridge the generations and connect with the grandchildren.
Grandpa, will you play with me?
Fourple brings generations together - an excellent bonding game for grandparents and grandkids. The strategy required does not intimidate anyone. Its a great gift for grandparents so grandchildren have something fun to do at their house.
Engineering Young Minds
We’ve also included fun non competitive construction challenges using 2 dimensional technical drawings/orthographic drawings which guide players to create unique 3 dimensional structures. These fun puzzles help children develop an important life skill which is especially important of architects, engineers and designers. Anyone who wants to make something on a 3D printer needs to understand the concept of technical drawings or blueprints. Three dimensional visualization can be a difficult skill to learn but Fourple 3D Puzzles make it fun and achievable. Your children can have a head start in their careers because of the challenges you provide at home.
Time to Chill - Art Matters
If you’re not in the mood for competition you can build interesting beautiful designs with the game pieces. Blocks are not just for young children. People of all ages find it relaxing to explore new ways to arrange the pieces for artistic affects. The more you do it, the more ideas you’ll have for new structures. Simple innovation stacking the game pieces helps to exercise creative problem solving. Many adults haven’t done art since grade school - but they love art when it is not intimidating. Fourple Art is very easy for anyone. The beautiful game pieces make almost any structure look artistic.
No Ordinary Blocks: The Good, Bad and Ugly
Fourple- at it’s most basic level is a set of beautiful birch blocks and cylinders. All of the pieces are unmarked without any alphabet letters or decorative designs. They allow children and people of any age to create beautiful projects.
The Bad and Ugly
Most children’s blocks sets have too many different shapes and colors to encourage coherent design. Usually children’s blocks include several primary colors, squares, rectangles, triangles, arches etc - all mixed together. The mish mash makes attractive design difficult -even for me, an adult. Traditional blocks are certainly valuable but they have limitations when it comes to rational design.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" - Leonardo Davinci
In contrast, Fourple reduces the options to just two shapes but provide plenty of pieces which opens up the world of design, even for a toddler. Consider the basic brick and the millions of buildings, streets, and garden walls that have been creatively designed by stacking one simply shaped piece. Fourple uses the same concept. The round shape of the cylinder provides an extra level of diversity but keeps the overall system very simple.
We know from child development studies that children gain great benefits by playing with blocks. Physically playing with blocks is a foundational activity that helps children develop spatial awareness, hand/eye coordination, counting, cooperation, creativity, balance and much more. If a parent neglects this developmental opportunity and allows too much electronic usage by young children, the child may not reach their full potential. Children overexposed to electronics will miss out on the inherent pleasure of making physical things now and be will be less competent at making virtual things later.
Made in America Matters
We proudly make Fourple in the United States. Very few games are made in the US because it requires so much extra work and innovation to make it work financially. With our KEVA planks company, we mastered manufacturing in the U.S. With Fourple, we are able to use the same sources and techniques to make it work when other toy companies cannot. Manufacturing in the U.S. allows us to better control the quality and quality matters when it comes to stacking. Precision cutting is the secret to secure, satisfying stacking. Please join us in supporting US jobs. Our game costs a little more than cheap imports but you will notice the exceptional quality.
We invite you to join us in our mission to make the world into a more beautiful, thoughtful, welcoming place - one living room at a time. And we’d like to start with yours.
But wait, there's more...
Are you an educator?
Play with Purpose
Every elementary teacher needs a selection of engaging education self directed activities that students can do when they have a bit of free time. The best activities are fun and compelling so that students are motivated to complete tasks and earn the right to do something extra that is fun. The secret is finding activities that enhance the student’s development in a way that is so interesting, they don’t object to the extra thinking that is required.
We built our education business on this concept with KEVA planks. Most teachers who bring KEVA planks into their classroom soon cannot imagine teaching without them. We are excited to bring Fourple to educators as another helpful option.
We have developed many different ways to play the game and provide thought provoking challenges with the game pieces. Everything about Fourple is designed to be engaging, self directed, fun and meaningful.
Quick play for tiny slices of time
Most Fourple games and activities require just a few minutes to play so students can participate even if they don’t have much time. The short games make it practical for students to rotate in and out of game play. Students can challenge the winner of the current game or play best of three etc.
STEM and STEAM
Fourple blocks are a particularly helpful tool for teach STEM concepts. Teaching children to understand orthographic drawings can be a difficult task. Many teachers give up on it so many students see them for the first time in high school or college. Anyone you wants to make things on a 3D printer must understand technical drawings but converting 2D drawings into 3D structures requires unique skills and a new way of thinking. Fourple 3D puzzles make it simple enough to introduce and grow these essential skills.
Designed for Design
Everyone expects to see blocks in kindergarten classrooms but Fourple blocks extend all of the well established developmental benefits of blocks into older grades that might consider blocks to be too childish. Frank Lloyd Wright and his team used to play with blocks during the work day to unwind from the rigors of blueprint details. If it was good for Frank, it is good for your 6th graders. Fourple blocks are purposely made for design and to not look childish.
We're working on developing free printable lesson plans to give you ideas for using Fourple blocks in your classroom - stay tuned!
As an educator, you are already aware of the importance of block play for child development. Check out the extensive research documenting the importance of Blocks in education.
As children are exposed to more electronic devices at home, the importance of blocks at school has been magnified. High exposure to electronic devices can be especially detrimental for very young children. Blocks can be part of the solution.
16 Page Full Color Activity Guide
Ken Scheel (Fourple Inventor) is the Director of KEVA Planks Education and an internationally sought after trainer for educators, Science Centers, and Children's Museums. He Specializes in developing hands on learning experiences that are so much fun, kids forget they are learning. Ken helps teachers supplement lessons with physically active challenges for kinesthetic learners. He was ranked the #2 presenter at the Young Child Conference & Expo in New York City. Ken is the founder of KEVA Planks Company and a professional toy inventor. His educational toys have earned some of the most prestigious awards in the industry including the Disney Family Fun Toy of the Year. Ken lives in Virginia and plays with his wife because his three daughters are grown and usually playing with someone else.
Amy (Fourple Kickstarter Manager) is a Youth & Social Innovation Major in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Her major uses theory, research, and community service to inform innovation in youth programming, policy, and education. Through her work with the family's educational toy company, Amy has taught informal education workshops at conferences in the US, such as the American Camp Association conference, and abroad. This summer, she travelled to China to lead training on informal education at a teacher conference and consult with Chinese education leaders on integrating active play into curriculum. As a proud member of the Millennial Generation, she has had years of training on social media.
Risks and challenges
The largest risks are associated with potential manufacturing glitches but we are uniquely experienced to avoid common problems. We have already made most of the common mistakes while running our KEVA planks business - and lived to tell about them.
We will be using the same U.S. manufacturer for Fourple blocks that has been making KEVA planks for us for 5 years. They are located in Maine near hardwood forests with birch and maple. We have developed a close working relationship with the factory and they have already perfected production of Fourple pieces with a small run. We used those pieces during the video production and for photography for the box and guide book.
Toy pieces that are smaller than 1 1/4" are considered a choking hazard. We made our pieces slightly larger than this so they will be safe. The larger size makes the blocks nicer to handle but also adds to the cost. Hopefully, customers will appreciate the superb quality of our game pieces.
The manufacturer makes other wood toys so the finish and stain have already been safety tested. We will have the entire game safety tested according to US safety requirements.
Another risk is getting too many orders to fulfill. We already ship educational KEVA products so we are experienced shippers. The game boxes will be printed by a game manufacturing company in Michigan. They will assemble the game and shrink wrap them. As U.S. manufacturers, the wood manufacturer and game company both operate most efficiently with high volume production. If Fourple is an overwhelming success, they will not be overwhelmed. They will be delighted and can readily make whatever we need. The more we make, the better the pricing!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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