Hape are well-known for their good quality wooden toys. We were sent the Quadrilla Xcellerator wooden marble run for review and it has been a great hit.
I have used several different types of marble runs over the years but I really like the Hape’s wooden ones. Our plastic ones are good but the cheaper ones have a tendency to not stand straight or the plastic can get a bit warped so the marbles do not run true. With the Hape one we have had none of these problems.
I received the Quadrilla Xcellerator for review. This set contains 136 pieces (this includes 50 marbles) and is a bit more advanced than the plastic versions I have used before as there is a bit more to the construction than just slotting bits together. With the Xcellerator you use blocks, spacers and ramps along with straight and curves rails and a spiral to propel the marbles from top to bottom.
In the box there is an instruction manual that gives you picture instructions of 11 different types of tracks to build. While older children will be able to follow the instructions, younger ones will need some adult help (I was using it with my other half’s children (both under 10) and we were able to follow the instructions with very little problem). You can also get new construction ideas from www.quadrilla.com. Best of all, you can also experiment and build your own tracks.
Overall, we love this marble run (me as well as the children). The pieces are lightweight, but strong, the marbles run smoothly (and quite fast) down the tracks and the children especially like the marble see-saw in the centre of the design (it can send marbles in 2 different directions). It is very easy to construct, the pieces slot into each other but do not snap into place (this means it is a bit harder to adjust pieces if you notice later that a piece is wrong as moving or knocking can topple it over) and the instruction guide is fairly easy to follow (sometimes trying to see what direction some of the pieces go in can be difficult).
This set will encourage engineering and STEM skills, 3-D thinking and spatial reasoning, following instructions, creative thinking, experimentation as well as providing lots of fun.
The only negative with this marble run is that there are no catcher trays supplied with the set so the marbles roll across the floor, so could get lost easily if not careful. With a marble run costing over £100 I would except a couple of trays with it. Hape do sell marble catchers for the Quadrilla sets separately so it may be worth investing in some (they cost around £10 for a pack of two).
A great engaging set. While is on the expensive side, the wooden pieces are of a good quality and it would make an excellent Christmas gift. I do think in a set this expensive some marble catchers should be included to improve the set.