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MARBLE RUN REVIEW

Top  Pick

Quadrilla Xcellerator Marble Run

Hape

Engaging run with lots of building potential; some stability challenges.  

MSRP:  $149.99 (typical retail $100)

Mfr. Recommended Age:  4 Years+

Total score: 78 points

Components:  Excellent (80 points)

Ease of build:  Good (71 points)

Engagement:  Excellent (80 points)

Repeat Play Value:  Excellent (92 points)

Buying options:*

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THE SCOOP

The Fun​

  • Quality components

  • Engaging run

  • Lots of suggested builds

The Frustration

  • Stability challenges

  • Does not include marble catcher

The Build

  

Components: Excellent

 

85 Pieces + 50 Marbles

The Xcellerator components are sturdy, smooth, and lightweight. The set comes with a large number of pieces. The bulk of them are fairly basic building components and connectors, but the set does include a cool funnel and a seesaw-type piece that can divert marbles in two different directions.

The Xcellerator doesn't come with a catcher (though Hape does sell catcher trays separately), so the marbles just shoot across the floor at the end of the run. Our testers improvised a solution by putting a connector at each exit point and surrounding it with building pieces to keep the marbles contained (see photo below).

Ease of Build: Good

The Xcellerator directions were generally easy to follow, with a couple exceptions: It's sometimes difficult to distinguish the blue-green pieces from the blue and the green in the printed instructions. It can also be hard to figure out which direction the pieces are supposed to face so that the exits align properly with the track. If you get it wrong, marbles shoot out all over the place.  

The Xcellerator pieces are easy to stack, but they don't snap into place, which can make it hard to adjust a prong of the build without toppling it. 

The Run

 

Engagement: Excellent

The Xcellerator is at its best when you load it up with marbles and watch the lot of them go through the run at once. The run has a couple cool features and lots of direction changers to keep it interesting. 

It's also tops when it comes to the number of suggested runs. The set includes step-by-step instructions for 11 different builds, far more than any other set we reviewed. It's somewhat conducive to free building. The pieces slide together easily, but they also separate easily, which can make innovation tricky. 

 

Marbles tend to shoot out of this run and fly across the room. Chasing them down can be a bit annoying, but our littlest testers enjoyed the challenge of trying to reorient the pieces to keep more of the marbles on the track. The marbles also occasionally get stuck during runs.

 

Repeat Play Value: Excellent

The Xcellerator will keep littles coming back for more. It's fun run to watch the marbles shoot through the run, and there are loads of designs to build.

Conclusion

The Xcellerator is an excellent choice for a traditional marble run. It's got great quality and good variety of pieces along with 11 different suggested runs. While it doesn't quite earn our top marks for stability (and it could really use a marble catcher), it's a highly engaging run that littles will get a lot of use out of while challenging their building skills.

THE PRODUCTS

Quadrilla Xcellerator Marble Run

Hape

 

MSRP: $149.99 (typical retail $100)

Mfr. Recommended Age: 4 Years+

 

Buying options:

Marble Run Catcher

Hape

 

MSRP: $12.99

Mfr. Recommended Age: 4 Years+

 

Buying options:​