Fun-Day Friday – Mastermind Game

I originally planned to cover Settlers of Catan this week, but we didn’t get to play last weekend, so I’m saving it for a later post.  Instead, we’re going to cover Mastermind, which is a very fun logic game.


The game plays similarly to Battleship in that there is a “blind” to keep the “guessing” player from seeing the other player’s code, and pegs are used to indicate a guess, and to mark a success or failure.

One player sets a code, flips the blind up so that the other player can’t see the code, then the other player is allowed to see the board.  There are 6 different colored large pegs, as well as black and white smaller pegs.  The colors are red, blue, green, yellow, white, and black.

The board ten rows across the board that contain four small peg holes at each end of the row, as well as four total large peg holes across the middle of the row.  The player doing the guessing has to pick colored pegs to place in the larger peg holes, to indicate that they guess that’s what the code is behind the blind.

The person that set the code then compares the guess against the code and places a white peg for each guessed peg that is a correct color, but in an incorrect location, and a black peg for each guessed peg that is both a correct color and in a correct location into the four smaller peg holes on one side of the row.  Once these pegs have been placed, if any, it is the other player’s turn to make a new guess.

If the code is correct, the code maker can flip the blind up to indicate a win.

The other side of the board can be used to mark how many wins each player has had.  This makes it possible to extend a “game” by playing multiple matches until one player or the other wins an agreed upon number of matches.  It also makes it possible to extend the number of guesses before saying a player “loses” by marking one of these for a full ten rows of guesses before clearing the board to try again (which would also make the game harder, since you lose the history of attempts, doing that.)

Finally, some people raise the difficulty by allowing there to be missing pegs.

Matches are usually fast paced, so this game can take as little as a few minutes to as long as several hours, depending on house rules and how many matches constitute a full “game.”

Mastermind is fun, addictive, and very good at teaching logic for younger players.  It is highly recommended.