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The new GraviTrax Power Extension Interaction brings electronics to marble play for the first time

15. October 2022 - Anika Semmer

Gravitrax Power Extension - Does Electronics Take Fun to a New Level? | Review


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Communicating with the marble run Tracks – this is now possible with the GraviTrax Power Extension. Because electronics come into play with this exciting expansion. What’s new? Does this new dimension also raise the fun to a new level? Is the purchase worth it?

Flinging, catapulting, bouncing and building multidimensionally high and wide: the GraviTrax marble track system is anything but a simple marble track where the marble simply runs through the track from start to finish. Since Ravensburger launched the interactive marble track system a good 3 years ago, new expansions have been added every year, which meanwhile offer almost endless possibilities for building completely different marble tracks. The GraviTrax Power Extension now brings something never before seen in the marble run universe into play: the basics of programming. This means that there are invisible connections between the new blocks, through which they communicate with each other and you yourself can control them – in other words, communicate with the track! Sounds groundbreaking, but whether the effects are really that great and the fun of the game is seriously increased is the big question here.

GraviTrax: Creative and Multidimensional Building With Varied Action

The more ambitious you want to build, however, the deeper you can dig into your pocket, because you have to buy additional extensions and action bricks. There are different starter sets with basic components for building in width (GraviTrax Core) or multidimensionally in height (GraviTrax Pro). I own two sets of the Core starter set, for example, to have enough tracks. You can add to these sets as you like with extensions such as tunnels and bridges as well as a large selection of action bricks that provide variety with very different effects. There is, for example, the trampoline, a cable car, a loop, a simple but ingenious hammer, the volcano or the Gauss cannon, which you should also have at least twice if the ball has to cover longer distances or if it has to go uphill.

By dealing with the cause and effect of the various components, children (and their parents) playfully learn to understand and use natural laws while building and constructing. The explanation behind the speed boosts and force thrusts is: gravity, kinetics, gravitation, magnetism. The STEM sign on the game boxes stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. And then there’s also chance, which adds extra excitement to some of the action pieces. So now the GraviTrax Power Extension is to bring innovation to the marble run universe with electronics and build beyond what has been there before.

This review is only about the GraviTrax Power Extension. On Abenteuer Freundschaft, you can read more about the two most important sets with pros and cons in my reviews of GraviTrax Core GraviTrax Pro Vertical. Since this year, there is also another novelty: the GraviTrax The Game logic game series, which have triggered an enormous addiction factor in me.

Note: The game manufacturer Ravensburger sent us the GraviTrax Power Interaction extension as a review copy. As always, however, this review is unpaid and reflects my honest opinion. Many other expansions and action pieces as well as a second starter set, which were installed and are shown in the pictures, were purchased by myself.

The Gravitrax Power Extension at a Glance

  • Game type: Construction game, Family game
  • Age: 8-99 years
  • Players: from 1 player
  • Duration: any
  • Publisher: Ravensburger
  • Publication year: 2022
  • Game objective: Integrate the electronic components into marble run tracks and actively intervene in the paths of the ball(s) and control how the ball rolls by pressing a button on the controller.

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GraviTrax Power Extension: The Most Important Things for Fans and Newcomers

"To use the GraviTrax Power Extension elements, they must be equipped with batteries"

For the new GraviTrax Power elements you need batteries

Power is the key word that reveals the great innovation of the GraviTrax Power Extension. This refers to electronic, i.e. battery-operated power, which makes it possible for the ball builder to send signals to the bricks via the controller. In addition, the bricks communicate with each other and influence each other. The interaction that has always existed is thus raised to a new level.

Important: There are 10 bricks in the GraviTrax Power Extension Interaction, one of which is the remote control. If you are scared off by the high price – list price 159€ – but have nevertheless tasted blood, you can also buy the Lever and Elevator elements individually and there are also new starter sets with Power elements.

What’s New With the Gravitrax Power Extension?

"The GraviTrax Power Extension Interaction includes the controller as well as transmitter and receiver elements and autonomous elements that can be installed compatible with all previous GraviTrax components."

10 new components comprise the GraviTrax Power Extension Interaction, including 2 new action bricks.

The biggest innovation with Power is that a completely new form of interaction is possible. You install the new elements in a ball track and can then set three colour channels (red, blue, green) with the controller at the touch of a button. On the elements themselves, you press the coloured LED to change the colour. It’s super easy: just keep pressing until the LED lights up in the desired colour.

The bricks connected via radio by the builder in the same colour channel now communicate with each other and the dependencies created by the builder come into effect. Receivers that are set with other colour channels are not affected. So you can switch the turnout or start more balls by another trigger etc.

The new elements can be divided into sender elements, receiver elements and autonomous elements.

  1. Transmitter elements: The controller, the black hexagonal stone with the coloured buttons, takes on a special role. With it, the designer can send a signal to a receiver stone at any time by pressing a button. Dome starter, trigger, target trigger and controller send out a signal as soon as they are activated by a ball. Depending on which receiver stone they communicate with, they trigger an action there.
  2. Receiver elements: Switch (turnout), target arena and the action brick Lever receive the signal of the respective coupled transmitter stone or from the controller and are thereby activated.
  3. Autonomous elements: The Elevator and Lever power action bricks function autonomously and are not coupled but activated directly by the ball. The Lever can be used both as a receiver and autonomously.

The Power Extension Interaction also includes two 3-1 bricks, which cannot communicate and can only be used as special bricks.

Which Gravitrax Power Sets Are Available and What Are the New Features?

"Lever and Elevator are the names of the new Power Action bricks"

Hotly anticipated by the fan community: 2 new action bricks that move balls upwards

The GraviTrax Universe: Previous Starter Sets, Extensions and Action Bricks

The GraviTrax universe includes many extensions and even more action bricks. Especially for beginners, it is not necessary to buy as many as possible. In my experience, however, a “normal” starter set and 3-4 action bricks are not enough to keep the game fun without tearing it down, as the building possibilities are limited by the still small number of components and become redundant. My tip: buy 2 starter sets (or even better, a core starter set and a pro starter set to be able to build creatively upwards) as well as selected action pieces that accelerate the ball (e.g. hammer and gauss cannon) so that inclines can be built in. The Pro Action bricks are more for advanced builders with an extensive building arsenal.

Starter Sets

Extensions

Action Bricks

Evaluation and Conclusion

"The controller and the start dome communicate with each other via radio with the GraviTrax Power Extension"

At the touch of a button, you can switch between three color channels on the controller

New possibilities, especially for building more complex tracks: the GraviTrax Power Extension brings significantly more complexity to the GraviTrax universe. With the electric cascade (Lever) and the electric lift (Elevator), two new action pieces come into play that automatically move the ball back up: this feature was certainly not only longed for by me but also by the fans and is super usable!

Rating

Idea
Equipment
Fun
Instruction
Price
Total Grade
very good

Pros and Cons

Skillfully build a clever track and screw with it until you have an absolutely cool track. Most of the time (from PRO at the latest) it went downhill. The two new action bricks now bring the ball back uphill and are a great addition to the GraviTrax universe, as they work autonomously, even without a power transmitter and receiver.

To get the full fun out of the new components, the tracks have to be built skilfully. This means that one should know how to use the “normal” components and action bricks in one’s own possession (CORE & PRO) to achieve which effect, so that one can fully enjoy the new attraction at Power: automatically changing track courses and constructing track sections in such a way that they can be ridden several times. To get an overview of all the new possibilities, I will definitely have to dig deeper. Ingenious!

GraviTrax Power Extension brings new possibilities and even more variety, complexity and action, especially for fans and advanced players. New crazy variations are possible and Ravensburger will certainly bring out even more delightful Power Action pieces in the future, which will increase the appeal of manual control by the controller even more. Dear GraviTrax developers: How ingenious would it be if the hammer would electrically return to the starting position after the ball passed through it!

The price of the power extension is definitely steep at a whopping 240€-280€ (depending on the offer). For true fans, however, it’s a must-have.

Is It Worth Buying the Gravitrax Power Extension Interaction?

More complexity, new possibilities: For real fans and advanced GraviTrax players who already have a basic stock of GraviTrax starter sets and action bricks, the Extension Interaction is an absolutely brilliant, worthwhile purchase! You definitely need some time to get to grips with all the possibilities, but then you can construct crazy combinations.

Beginners should rather start with a normal starter set and familiarise themselves with the marble run system. The Launch Power starter set has fewer power elements (1 power starter, 1 power target, 1 power target arena, 1 power controller) than the Extension Interaction, but it contains a complete starter set and you can start immediately. Unfortunately, the Gauss Cannon, one of the best action pieces of all, is missing from the Starter Set Launch. If newcomers are just taken with the new dimension of power or programming, it is more worthwhile to buy a normal starter set and the Extension Interaction. Only with the Extension Interaction are there enough elements to play with the new possibilities in a varied way and the two Power Action Bricks included are definitely worthwhile even for beginners!

Conclusion

New possibilities, especially for building complex, cool tracks: The GraviTrax Power extension is an exciting addition that provides even more interaction and action. A must for all GraviTrax fans!

Have you already had a look around our board game tips? There are regularly new games to discover. From the unknown interactive temple building game Menara to free game guides of great game classics like Whist. Life is a great game and we are the protagonists! Abenteuer Freundschaft is all about filling your time with great memories through leisure activities with children, friends and your partner. Carpe diem!

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*This article contains affiliate links. This means that if a product (e.g. from amazon) is ordered through it, we receive a small commission without changing the price for the buyer.

 


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