Mastermind Review

by Julia DeKorte | 31 Oct 2023

Book Reviews




Mastermind consists of a decoding board with a shield at one end hiding a row of four large holes from sight. The rest of the board contains 12 rows of four large holes with four small holes next to each row.


The codemaker creates a secret pattern of different colored pegs behind the shield, and the other player, the codebreaker, must figure out what that secret pattern is. On each turn, they can create a pattern by putting the different colored pegs in the large holes, and the codemaker will let them know if they are correct, partially correct, or incorrect, by placing smaller red or white pegs into the smaller holes. Red = correct color peg in the correct spot; white = correct color in the wrong spot. Colors of the pegs may vary.


The codebreaker must correctly guess the codemaker’s secret pattern within their 12 turns to win, otherwise the codemaker is the winner!



Mastermind was created in 1970 by Mordecai Meirowitz, an Israeli postmaster and telecommunications expert. After showing his idea, which resembles the centuries-old pen and paper game Bulls and Cows, at Nuremberg International Toy Fair, it was picked up by Invicta Plastics, a plastics company in the UK. It was release in 1971.


Invicta Plastics still holds the rights to the game, though the manufacturing rights belong to Hasbro for most of the world, Pressman Toys for the United States, and Orda Industries for Israel.



There are a number of variations of the iconic game, including Mastermind44, which is the same game but for four players instead of two, Word mastermind, Number Mastermind, Electronic Mastermind, Mini Mastermind, Super-Sonic Electronic Mastermind, Grand Mastermind, Walt Disney Mastermind, and many others.


Reception & Awards

Mastermind was featured in The Playboy Winner’s Guide to Board Games, Games & Puzzles magazine, and Games magazine. Though the game can be played by children as young as eight, there is actually a lot of math involved with different strategies—so it really is fun for every age and interest level!

mastermind hasbro board game

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