Aron Lazarus with the Hebrew version of his game, in a toy store
Aron Lazarus with the Hebrew version of his game, in a toy store Courtesy of Aron Lazarus

A new logic game has arrived in stores across Israel that gives players 165,888 ways to make a Magen David (Star of David).

The Genius Star, which is already available in thirty countries worldwide and ranked as an Amazon Best Seller in the UK, was invented by Aron Lazarus at his workshop in central Israel. This is one of two games released by Lazarus in 2020, helping to secure him the coveted title of “Rising Star Inventor of the Year” at the US toy industry awards last November.

For Lazarus, who made aliyah (immigrated to Israel - ed.) from London in 2006, this is more than just child’s play, it packs a lesson for these turbulent times. The Genius Star is not just an extremely addictive award-winning logic game - there is a message behind the puzzle.

“The game reminds us that, with all of our differences, and whatever our starting point, we can always work out a way to come together. It may not be simple, but as The Genius Star proves, there are at least 165,888 ways to make a Magen David. Every way makes you a winner,” said Lazarus.

The Genius Star was named as the “Best Puzzle Game” at the American Toy Retailers Awards in 2020.

Lazarus says he was always “obsessed with playing and designing games” but his true prize as an oleh was seeing his brainchild on sale in the Jewish State.

“My games are available in over thirty countries, in five continents and have sold in the hundreds of thousands globally. Both games have won international industry awards and I was lucky enough to be named the toy industry’s Rising Star Inventor of the Year in 2020, but nothing has quite matched the feeling of being able to walk into my local toy store and seeing my game on the shelves alongside household names like Monopoly and Taki. While The Genius Star has achieved significant success abroad, for me it has now come home,” he said.

The Genius Star is a logic game with a difference. Each player gets a Magen David shaped board, made up of 48 numbered triangles. The game starts by rolling seven dice and placing triangular “blockers” on the seven locations that the dice determines.

Players then race to use 11 colored pieces to completely fill the rest of the Magen David. Sometimes it will be a seemingly straightforward task and at others it will seem virtually impossible, but for every one of the 165,888 different possible dice combinations, there is always at least one possible solution.

“That’s the ‘genius’ element that people love about the game,” said Lazarus. “People can’t get their head around the fact that there is always a solution. Well, it took me three months to devise the correct dice configuration that made that possible, and we even had a computer program written to test every single one of the 165,888 puzzles, to be absolutely certain that there are no mistakes.”

The Genius Star can be played by one person as a fun and challenging solitaire puzzle, or by two players simultaneously as a race and, for the most serious puzzle enthusiasts, the optional “Golden Star” feature turns the competitive heat up even further.

The Genius Star or, “Kochav Ha'etgarim,” as it will be known in Israel, is available in Tzomet Sfarim, Toys “R” Us, Idan 2000, and all great toy stores. Lazarus’s second game, “Bee Genius,” a logic game designed to develop thinking skills in children as young as three, is expected to arrive in Israel in early 2022.

When asked about his plans for the future, Lazarus added that he has multiple other games on the drawing board, but is keeping his cards close for now.

Aron Lazarus with the Hebrew version of his game, in a toy store Courtesy of Aron Lazarus
The Genius Star Courtesy of Aron Lazarus
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