On October 19, 2008 I made the bold declaration that Roger von Oech’s Ball of Whacks is “the greatest fidgety widget of all time”. I invited readers to comment on favorite fidgets or perhaps suggest something better than the Ball of Whacks. Since no one said anything I’m free to assume that I have revealed one of the great universal truths of our time, that when it comes to fidgeting, the Ball of Whacks is the only way to go. Imagine my surprise and excitement when offered the opportunity to play with the follow-up to the Ball of Whacks, the X-Ball.
Obviously this wasn’t going to be any ordinary review. Roger von Oech’s X-Ball was going to have to go head to head with the Ball of Whacks. It seemed simple enough, what ball was the better fidget? Ready, set, fight! Oddly, comparing the Ball of Whacks to the X-Ball is a bit like comparing apples to oranges.
The Ball of Whacks is simple in design. You can mindlessly fidget with that bad boy for hours (ask me how I know) without it even registering. The X-Ball on the other hand, is made up of little x shaped pieces. This allows for a much wider range of designs and also causes you to think more when playing with it. Just like the Ball of Whacks, the X-Ball comes with a 96-page booklet loaded with creativity exercises and examples of the things you can construct with the X-Ball.
After hours of play and passing it around to my friends I feel I can say that both balls are great fidgets, but the X-Ball requires more thought and, in my opinion, that probably makes it a better fidget for inspiring creative thought. Of course, when it’s just me sitting around, working my way through the shows recorded on the DVR, it is, and will always be, the Ball of Whacks that I fidget with.
Why choose? Get them both.