MARBLE RUN REVIEW
Bamboo Builder Marble Run
Fat Brain Toys
Exceptional quality, unrivaled stability, could do with a bit more variety.
Mfr. Recommended Age: 4 Years+
Total score: 81 points
Components: Excellent (83 points)
Ease of build: Excellent (100 points)
Engagement: Good (60 points)
Repeat Play Value: Excellent (83 points)
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Limited bells and whistles
48 Pieces + 30 Marbles
The Bamboo Builder gets top marks for component quality. The wooden pieces are sturdy but lightweight and have a nice feel to them.
The 78-piece set has a decent number of components, including a cyclone and a direction switcher. Bonus points for the rope ring marble catchers that go around the exit points and prevent the marbles from shooting across the floor at the end of the run. Still, the 78-piece set could do with a bit more variety.
Ease of Build: Excellent
The Bamboo Builder was a big winner on independent play. Our 4-year-old tester was able to figure out how the pieces fit together without any adult guidance. The set instruction manual includes clear, step-by-sep pictures for one suggested build.
We also loved the minimal frustration of the build. The Bamboo Builder is the sturdiest run we tested. The pieces interlock smoothly with one another and make a satisfying clicking sound when fully connected. Some of the sets we tested tended to collapse during construction, but the Bamboo Builder remained upright throughout the build.
The Bamboo Builder functioned well. It has good momentum and the marbles rarely get stuck or fly off during the run.
But the 78-piece set fell short of our top engagement designation for lack of run excitement. We'd have liked to have seen some additional spirals, direction changing pieces, or zigzag tracks to up the interest quotient a bit. The Bamboo Builder included step-by-step instructions for one build, and we'd also like to see instructions for additional runs. While the Bamboo Builder has some potential for free design, our littlest testers were most interested in building the suggested models with this set.
Repeat Play Value: Excellent
Our littlest testers often came back to this run. They liked watching the marbles go through the run once it was built and were eager to build it anew once deconstructed.
The Bamboo Builder is an excellent marble run and our top pick for young builders. The quality of its components and the stability of the run are without peer. The 78-piece set could do with a bit more excitement, though, so we recommend upgrading to one of the larger sets.