Synopsis of Toy

“Easy to learn. Easy to play. But not so easy to win.”

You have to give Invicta credit. This British plastics company took what was essentially a measuring stick for brainiacs and turned it into one of the most popular games to come out of the 1970’s. Maybe it was that James Bond-esque photo on the cover (aristocratic villain in an executive chair, exotic beauty behind him), but Mastermind always seemed too cool to be just for geniuses.

Two players faced each other in this battle of wits—one the Codemaker, the other the Codebreaker. The maker held the power of knowledge—his job was to set up a hidden sequence of four colored “Code Pegs,” shielded from the breaker’s view by a plastic cover. Six different colors of Code Pegs were available, and they could be placed in any number or order (blue blue red green, yellow black blue green, and so on through the 1,296 possible combinations).

Once the code was arranged, the breaker’s job began. Starting at the bottom of his ten rows, the Codebreaker guessed at the hidden code, placing Code Pegs of his own in hopes of hitting the right combination. For every Code Peg of the right color in the right spot, the Codemaker put a small, black “Key Peg” in the tiny holes at the side of that row. For the right color in the wrong spot, the Codemaker placed white Key Pegs. No correct colors, no Key Peg.

And so the Mastermind mindgames began in earnest. The breaker had to guess which pegs were right, which were in the right place, and so on, carrying the process of elimination through the ten rows of allotted guesses. Once the correct sequence was guessed, the Codemaker revealed his hand, and one point was awarded to the Codemaker for each row filled. If the breaker failed after ten rows, the maker got a bonus point. All points awarded, the two switched sides and the Mastermind brain-off resumed.

With its subtle, simple concept and endless variety of challenges, Mastermind became a hit not only in its native Britain, but around the world. Several variations on the theme followed, from the expanded Super Master Mind to Word Mastermind, Electronic Mastermind, Walt Disney Mastermind, and a 1990’s CD-ROM version. The Key Pegs have now changed from black to red, but these are mere aesthetic alterations. The Mastermind game itself hasn’t changed in over 25 years, a testament to the masterful minds who created and believed in it.

Release History of Toy

1971 - Mastermind
1975 - Super Mastermind
1975 - Mastermind 44
1975 - Royale Mastermind
1975 - Deluxe Mastermind
1977 - Electronic Mastermind
1978 - Walt Disney Mastermind
1989 - Advanced Mastermind

Sub Categories of Toys

electronic games

Toy and Game Manufacturer

Invicta, Pressman, Hasbro

Other Toy Links