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Roger von Oech's Ball of Whacks: A Creativity Tool for Innovators

4.4 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

Price: $23.39 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details
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  • 30 Magnetic Design Blocks
  • Magnetic fun for ages 14+
  • unlimited number of uses
36 new from $19.39 6 collectible from $18.25
$23.39 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 1 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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  • Roger von Oech's Ball of Whacks: A Creativity Tool for Innovators
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Total price: $72.35
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WARNING:
CHOKING HAZARD -- This toy is a small ball. Not for children under 3 yrs.
CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.

Product Description

30 magnetic pyramid shaped pieces that act as building blocks! Includes a fun activity guidebook! -- Are you stumped for ideas? Do you want a fresh perspective on a problem? -- This ball of magnetic pieces is proven to jump start your creativity and imagination. Based on the rhombic triacontahedron, this ball consists of 30 magnetic pyramid shaped pieces that act as building blocks for an unlimited number of uses. -- You can create inspiring shapes, challenge yourself to recreate patterns shown in the activity book, have fun forming new designs, and much more! -- Recommended ages 8+

Product Information

Product Dimensions 3.5 x 3.8 x 5.5 inches
Item Weight 10.4 ounces
Shipping Weight 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
ASIN 0911121013
Item model number BOW30
Manufacturer recommended age 5 years and up
Best Sellers Rank #47,611 in Toys & Games (See Top 100 in Toys & Games)
#96 in Toys & Games > Puzzles > 3-D Puzzles
#422 in Toys & Games > Puzzles > Brain Teasers
Customer Reviews
4.4 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Karl E. Boggs on October 18, 2006
Format: Toy
I received my Ball of Whacks about a week ago and have trouble putting it (ok, them) down. Interacting and playing with it is extremely addictive and I have hooked my boss and another coworker by giving them each one.

When I was younger I made crystal models out of marbles and geodesic domes out of cardboard and remember the excitement of uncovering different relationships between the shapes. The Ball of Whacks is bringing back that feeling of exploration and discovery and has quite a few patterns built into those 30 pieces. I forgot how much fun I had doing those explorations as a kid and can't figure out why I ever stopped. The Ball of Whacks includes the symmetries of all five platonic solids if you play with it long enough.

I would suggest getting a couple of them - at least one for your desk and one for playing at home. You may need extras to share with family and colleagues and they are fun to combine into larger constructions as well.

In creative problem solving sessions with coworkers I like to bring in various toys both to stimulate their playfulness and to change their environment a bit. I am looking forward to trying out the BoWs in my next session although I am a bit worried that I might not get them back readily.

Awesomely fun and gets the brain juices flowing too!!!
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I was excited to get this based on the reviews, but I found the toy more inhibitive than expected. The odd shape of the blocks combined with the limited amount only allow a couple different arrangements, all tending more or less toward a ball-like design. Things like the "frog" in the picture are about the most you can spread it out, but it will be too fragile to touch at that point. I felt like this could have been cool, but the pieces just aren't as flexible as I would like (such as Legos). This was not worth the money to me.
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When I was a kid my family always had a game or puzzle on the coffee table to twiddle with when watching TV. Even though in this TiVo world we watch commercials less, the Ball of Whacks still gets picked up and played with while the TV is on.

This is a timeless toy that can be split and combined in a zillion ways. Not quite the rubik's cube of the 00's, but fun for kids and adults.
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I was expecting much stronger magnets. I was very disappointed and wish I had purchased Bucky Balls instead. It's very light weight and not all sides of each piece are magnetic. This makes it difficult to be creative and build other shapes.
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I recently got two of these balls for my cousins for Christmas. They're 8 and 11 years old and I was excited to see them tinkering with what seemed like a "brain" toy.

The ball is well constructed and provides a fair deal of entertainment as you mess around with how the pieces fit together. The packaging includes a nice booklet about the ball and certain shapes one can make. Unfortunately I found these 2D pictures to be next to useless. What's more is that every shape they showed was very similar to the fully assembled ball. And this brings me to the chief complaint.

There just isn't much you can do with these! I tried and tried again with my younger cousins, I'd sit down and say "Alright, we're going to make something totally different from the ball" but quite literally every time I tried, I'd come back to the same shape. This is because the pieces are naturally pretty odd and unfortunately don't fit together in lots of interesting ways. And like the other critical reviewer said: if you attempt to make something that doesn't "lock together" but is only held together by the magnetic attraction, it will be so slippery and flimsy that you can't do anything with it. The magnets are generally very weak, designed only to pull each piece together for the ball.

At this point, I would immediately recommend my favorite desk toy, a cube of neodymium magnet spheres. However, they're very dangerous for young children prone to swallowing them, and not really worth it for any younger kid that can't keep very good track of all 216 magnets (which is very necessary). So, I'll put the decision on you. If you're an adult, I promise you'll enjoy a magnet cube more. If you're buying for a young kid though, this is a good first foray into the world of magnetic tinkering toys.
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Format: Toy
If you only employ one creativity-enhancing resource for the rest of your life, make that resource the Ball of Whacks!

Breakthroughs in effective creativity-inspiring methods seldom occur. Most "new" methods are simply restatements or reshapings of ideas that flourished among the ancient Greeks (such as Heraclitus, a favorite source for Mr. von Oech) or before. Those who are familiar with the earlier work usually don't gain much from the newer approaches. The Ball of Whacks is a happy exception. Heraclitus would say that you can never interact with the Ball of Whacks twice in the same way. And he would be right.

The most valuable creativity-enhancing methods I've experienced usually require having a team work together, with one of the tasks involving making little models or prototypes of creative concepts. I often find myself wishing I could have those experiences more often . . . but seldom having the right people and time to pursue that desire.

Then, I discovered Roger von Oech's Ball of Whacks. Wow!

My frustrations are now behind me.

This is day 8 of working with the Ball of Whacks. It's been quite an education. I can hardly wait to find out what I'll learn on day 9!

When you first see the Ball of Whacks, you won't quite know what to make of it. Open the box, take out the ball, the magnetic stand and the workbook.

Then, let yourself go. Discover what the ball is. To the geometrically inclined, you'll notice that it's a rhombic triacontahedron (try saying that 5 times fast!), a ball-like shape with edges formed by 30 rhombi (a rhombus is a four-sided equilateral with two pairs of parallel sides) that resemble scaled-down versions of an Egyptian pyramid done in red. The ball feels somewhat alive, however.
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