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Saturday, June 25, 2011


The people who usually visit this blog may have noticed that in the description, I talk about traditional and board games... until now there is not a single review that fits this category, but it is only because where I live I do not have any of these items and I cannot take pictures. This is the first vintage boardgame that I’m reviewing, but much more are coming.

The Magic Robot was developed by the british company J & L Randall Ltd. (also Merit) In the year 1950. This company marketed the toy during many years, and licensed it to other companies outside the United Kingdom.

In Austria “Der Magische Roboter” was licensed to Piatnik, the well-known card and boardgame manufacturer; in Spain it was licensed to Cefa, that changed the name to “El Mago Electrónico” (the electric magician); Jumbo released it in Holland, Belgium and France as “Robot”. This game was specially successful in East Germany, were it was released by Schmidt (that also made the release for West Germany) and Gordon. Many different versions of the game were available, as we can see here.

Spanish Cefa releases

The game was sold during many consecutive year (more than 20), and the boxes and papers were updated in most countries each time according to the taste of the time. As an example, you can compare two Spanish releases by Cefa toys. The left one seems to be older (around 1959, while the right one is more recent (maybe 1965?). The robot remained however unchanged, except in the alternate versions, like the sport quiz.

How does it work? In this game there are two rings. In the first one are the questions and the second one are the answers. With the small robot you can choose a question by turning the robot until it points to the desired question. Then you place the robot in the answer’s ring (the surface in which you place the robot is a mirror), and it automatically turns and points to the right question. It is obviously a trick. By turning the robot in the first ring, you are moving and positioning magnets behind the mirror that later position the robot to point the right answer. The effect is absolutely great, and still amazes children and even grown ups.

There are several pages (8 double-sided in the Piatnik version) with question and answers in several school subjects, like history, geography, science, literature…

As it was massively sold during decades, they’re not very difficult to find in one or another version.


  • Year: around 1958 (original: 1950)
  • Company: Piatnik (Austria) / Cefa (Spain) / original: Merit (Great Britain)

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