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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Review: Roger von Oech's BALL OF WHACKS

This review is for Roger von Oech's Ball of Whacks widely known for its ability to stimulate creative minds. I forget when/how I stumbled on this but I do have Roger von Oech's Creative Whack Pack for my iPhone and because that was great, I Amazoned "Roger von Oech" [yes, I used as a verb] and saw this item and had to get it.

Basically, this "Ball of Whacks" consist of rhombic tracontahedron (from the Greek triaconta for "thirty" and hedron for "side")--so this is a 30 sided polyhedron. The 30 pieces themselves, called "whacks", form a ball when combined [note of its product title]. But it doesn't end there, because each piece has magnetic sides to it, the possibilities are endless.

The pieces are all plastic with a nice weight to each piece [I was thinking how this would hurt if it was thrown at me]. A nice subtle touch is that each piece has either "Ball of Whacks" or "Roger von Oech" engraved on one of the sides.

The "ball" halved.

The point of this "toy" [as some reference it to] is to just simply let go and play with it. Think of it as the modern Lego pieces for adults [even though I know some adults still play with em]. The point of this is to build, touch it, feel it, break it, combine, create, etc. However we want to be creative is simulated in this ball of whacks.

When you start to play with it more, you'll notice more patterns and shapes.

This is how each piece looks like when it is by itself.

And here it is when it's just dumped into a pile.

Before putting it back, I actually created something--a turtle!

Quarter view of the turtle sitting on its butt and shell on its back.

Profile view of my quick creation.

The Ball of Whacks include a small booklet providing more information on this piece--including how it was created, its inspiration, and how it followed the "Golden Ratio" [if you remember your geometry, this section will make sense]. But more importantly, it includes a section on a "Creativity Workshop" using your Ball of Whacks. It does resemble the Creative Deck [for the iPhone] in which it provides some inspiration on approach of thinking and more.

In general, if you think you have everything [the latest and greatest], I'm sure you don't have this. For now, this is going to stay near my computer since I do most of my creative thoughts here and will be the go-to item when I'm on break studying. The pieces also just feels great in your hands as you start to build something and move the pieces around. The booklet even includes a brief study that those who stimulated their tactile senses [i.e. peeled an apple with a peeler] prior to a test performed better than those who didn't!

You can buy it on Amazon as I did. Enjoy!


Roger von Oech said...

What fun! I'm glad you're enjoying your Ball of Whacks. You should also check out the X-Ball

Best wishes!

JJ Casas ( said...

Hey Mr. Oech! Really glad to have you leave a comment on my blog! I think I'm planning on making a new blog reel featuring my Ball of Whacks creations a day!

Thanks again for stopping by.