Reviews - Family games (page 3)

We have reviewed a selection of games which have been sent to us. These will help you and your child to have fun - family games are great to enjoy and bring all ages together.

The Which Way Game from OJO

ojo1This new and exciting strategy game for 4-8 year olds is designed by OJO in collaboration with OKIDO. Coding skills are an important part of the curriculum - and an important part of our everyday lives with the prevelance of electronic devices. Now children from the age of 4+ can learn key coding skills with their family and friends; the game is suitable for 1 to 4 players). Who can help Messy (from CBeebies TV show, Messy Goes to OKIDO) to visit all his friends across the map first? The instructions are easy to follow. Spin the wheel and pick your mission; plan the fastest route through and to your final destination;  create your route by placing the magnetic tiles; then scan the path with the 'magic' car to reach all the destinations. Are you the winner? The game is well made and very attractive; it's great fun to play and you can see children's skills develop each time they play the game, as they learn more about how to play as well as possible. The elements of forward planning really encourage children to think about what they are doing and how best to reach the destination.It's great to see a coding game for younger children, as many are aimed at older ones. They will quickly grasp the principles with this simple game, which is easy to play yet has so much learning value.

"OjO is a pioneering educational toy company based in London, UK. We develop fun STEAM-focused activities and games for 2-8 year olds. We have developed a range of Maker Kits and early years learning resources available on our website. Our mission is to promote STEAM education for the next generation of makers and innovators, and help them to prepare for future failure and success!" Find out more here - learnwithojo.com The game can be purchased from late June 2019 from the OJO website.

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Blue Lagoon

Build your very own paradise with this beautifully illustrated game that will transport you into another world. In this game which is suitable for age 8+, players have the opportunity to be the Chief of their own tribe. They will lead their people on an expedition to claim and then settle the different islands of a recently discovered archipelago. It really is a Paradise and there's a beautiful lagoon hidden somewhere between the islands. It's a game of strategy which means that younger players might be a slight disadvantage against older ones, so we found it worked well to start off playing as pairs until they got the hang of it; as the game is for 2 to 4 players, that's not a problem.  Strategically direct your people and build your settlements so you can collect as many resources as possible and become the most renowned tribe on the archipelago. Players need to think ahead and try to out-guess and pre-empt their opponents' moves, so you need to concentrate. With a game time of between 30 and 45 minutes, that's not too hard to manage. The aim is to gain the most points by collecting resources and settling on the islands. the player with the most points at the end of the two phases wins the game. We found the game simple to learn  and having two phases means you can play the first phase, then have a breather to review the rules for phase 2 - great for the first game or two. It's a tile-placing game and players can enter the board from any water space; then tokens are placed next to current ones or in a.water area. Huts can be 'built' too. Scores are calculated at the end of this phase. Then, for phase 2, all tokens are removed from the board, except for the huts. Placing rules are slightly different and the round concludes like the first. We like the two phase format as you could do poorly in one phase and then pick up. It also brings a pleasing variety to the game. It's a beautifully made game, a real pleasure to play and great fun with plenty of strategic thinking needed.

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Dr Eureka Game from Blue Orange

The objective of this fast-moving game is to mix the molecules and master the formula in eccentric Dr Eureka's lab; how fast can you transfer the molecules between the tubes to become an ace scientist? The rules are simple, so none of that annoying hanging around while everyone tries to assimilate a complex set of rules - you can get stuck into the game really quickly. Basically, players flip over cards and then have to match the pattern shown. Be careful - you mustn't touch the balls with your hands! The winner is the first to match the challenge card combination in this pacy fun game that will provide the whole family with hours of entertainment.With 54 different challenges to complete there is plenty of opportunity for different game play every time, keeping interest levels high. The game is ideal for two to four players, age 6+. It's one of those games where age doesn't seem to confer any real benefit, meaning everyone plays on equal terms, which is great. It promotes logical thinking, manual dexterity (you need a steady hand) and quick reactions as well as being a super ice-breaker to get all ages having a good time together. Bound to be a games cupboard favourite!

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7 Wonders from Asmodee

In 7 Wonders each player is a leader of one of the 7 great cities of the Ancient World  The game is for 3 to 7 players - and the more people you can get to play the game, the better we found it. This strategy game has lots of elements to keep interest high - gather resources, develop commercial routes and affirm your military supremacy.  Interestingly, 7 Wonders is played in three ages. The slight downside of this is that the rules are really lengthy, with a large-format 12 page booklet explaining them all, but don't be too daunted, because the game overview is much shorter and gets you going. Each player chooses a civilization to control and at the start of every age receives seven cards from a particular deck... I won't go into more detail here as it all becomes much more clear once the board and pieces are in front of you. It's a super quality game with beautiful artwork to engage the players. It takes a while to get it all ready as the pieces need to be pressed out, so you may want to get it all ready before introducing the players to the game. With fourteen different wonders and lots of strategic options, 7 Wonders is a simple and addictive game the whole family can enjoy. With a game time of around 30 minutes, you can raise your civilization to the mightiest heights, and build the greatest wonders of the world We liked the fact that you really need to plan ahead, giving you real control over the outcome rather then depending on chance (although there are elements of chance too); the more you play, the better you will get at this. The great thing is that it's a game you can play over and over again, as the strategy and outcomes will vary every time - you definitely won't get bored!  It's a great way to generate an interest in ancient civilisations too, as it really raises knowledge and appreciation.

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Smart Games Sleeping Beauty Deluxe

Smart Games are one of my favourite companies! They produce a fabulous range of games for all ages; games that really test thinking and logic skills in a fun and unusual way. And even quite young children can enjoy them - this game is suitable for children age 3 -7 and it really is a game that grows with your child as they will go back to it over the years as their skills grow. Right from opening the box, you know this is a quality product - the playing pieces are found in a separate smaller box and the maze itself is strong bright plastic adorned with flowers. All 60 games - starter, junior, expert and master - are shown in the puzzle book which also includes the solutions. There's also a colourful wordless hardback picture book, which is a great way to encourage children's storytelling skills. The aim of the single-player game is to rescue Sleeping Beauty by navigating your way through the maze to the castle... or play as the dragon for a different challenge, and prevent the knight from reaching the castle! The four maze pieces are placed on the board according to the puzzle book and then the idea is to solve the puzzle by finding the shortest pathway through the maze. Includes 60 multi-level challenges (with and without the dragon) and an enchanting picture storybook. Challenges without the dragon are suitable for children 3+, and with the dragon are suitable for children 5+. This engrossing game will help stimulate many key learning skills, including spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, problem solving and planning. It's a lovely way to link a favourite fairy tale with an enjoyable learning game, beautifully produced and guaranteed to give hours of enjoyment.

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Smart Games IQ Stars

Oh, this is so pretty! Sets of brightly coloured stars have to be placed in position on the slotted plastic tray - and it all comes in a neat clip-shut plastic box, making it perfect for journeys and days out. Can you fit all the stars in the grid and face ever-increasing challenges as you work through the 120 games in the puzzle booklet? Reach for the stars and solve the 120 multi-level challenges, from - starter, junior, master, expert and wizard; the different levels make the game suitable for 6 year olds to adults so there's fun for all the family. The game helps stimulate concentration, problem solving and logical thinking skills - and the answers are included if you get desperate! It's great fun to do and the progressive nature of the game makes it really satisfying as you move up the levels.

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Smart Games Cube Puzzler Go

Another stimulating game from the ingenious people at Smart Games. And it's another one that's perfect for families on the go, with all the pieces neatly stacking into the cleverly designed portable case that expands to create the game board. Recommended for 8+ to adult, the challenge is to build a cube from the seven brightly coloured puzzle pieces. This is an eye-catching puzzle game that will test and extends spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, problem solving, and planning skills. With 80 multi-level challenges - starter, expert, master and wizard, there really is plenty for all ages. Every challenge is set out in the enclosed instruction book and solutions are included if you really get stuck. Another beautifully made game that will give hours of pleasure - leave it out on the coffee table and you can pretty well guarantee that people will pick it up and have a go!

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Ravensburger Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles Game

We all know that Peppa Pig loves jumping in muddy puddles! The objective of this fun game is to help George avoid the muddy puddles and reach Peppa, who is waiting at the top of the hill. Who will be the first to reach Peppa Pig? Each player has three characters and it's up to you whether you start one or more on the journey uphill. All Peppa's friends are here to help and they can boost you one, two or even three puddles ahead... but look out for the deep puddles! When you pick up a Peppa card, you must turn Peppa - if you fall through a puddle you have to start again. The box includes a green hill with Peppa Pig, 12 playing pieces, and 24 colourful action cards. This game is suitable for 2-4, ages 4 years and up. The playing time is 15-20 minutes, and the game is simple enough for children to play one their own once the rules have been explained. Young children love the way the anticipation builds - will they fall into a puddle and have to start all over again? A super game for all young Peppa Pig fans, easy to play and lots of fun.

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Jumbo Zippy Racers Game

Snail racing? Sounds like a contradiction in terms, but this lively game might just make you change your mind about the speed of snails! The really unusual thing about this game is that the playing course can become your whole house - a great way to get moving around when the weather keeps you stuck indoors. The game is suitable for two to three players, and there are three generously sized brightly coloured snails as the playing pieces, which can move in all directions. Each snail has its own colour and number, and can get just as long as the tape measure which forms an integral part of each. There are three ways to play - beginners, classic and racing. Beginners is suitable for children of 4+, and the variations mean the game will be popular for many years. The first snail to collect all their appropriately coloured petals wins the game. Each player throws the dice; counting with the smart tape measure in its shell, the snail is moved from one flower to the next. If you turn a petal over and get a rain cloud, you get to throw again. If you get a four-leaf clover, you go to a flower of your choice. If you get the moon, you skip a turn and if it’s the sun you have to go back to the start line. So there are lots of fun options that add excitement and anticipation to the game. The pack includes 3 Zippy racers (the snails), a starting circle, 18 coloured petals and a rolling dice. A fun and unusual game.

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 #hashtag the game from Jumbo Games

This is a game that's really in tune with today's social media generation! Find out if you are a megastar, celebrity, influencer, popular or a loser as you try to get the largest number of followers by choosing the hashtags with the most posts within the 10 rounds of the game. You can play as individuals or as a team. When the rounds are over, each person/team adds up the followers on its ranking cards and the winner is the one with most followers. To start the team game the players are divided into two teams. The image annd hashtag cards are shuffled together and put in a pile, face down; the hashtag marker goes into the ‘round 1’ slot. In an unusual twist, the team with the players who have the most Instagram followers starts. In each round, a card is taken from the Hashtag Card deck and everyone has to think what could be the highest scoring hashtag - we found it can be surprisingly difficult to think of something appropriate; it's revealing to see the different ways in which people think! The winning hashtag (you do need an internet connection and ideally an Instagram account, although there are ways around this with a little ingenuity) will get the score token relevant to its Instagram post ranking. The round marker is moved forward and the game goes on. The game includes 200 hashtag cards, 30 score tokens, 2 whiteboards, 2 markers with eraser, 1 game board with a spinner, 1 round marking tracker and a 1 minute hourglass. A fun, fast-moving and thought-provoking game for players of 10+, perfect for our modern world.

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Story Chest from Tactic Games

Inside the box, you will find 100 brightly coloured cards, 42 tokens, a tilting deck, 3 base cards and those all-important rules (in 4 languages). The aim of the game is to encourage players to step into the world of stories and to use their imaginations to make up stories, invent characters and devise plots - it's a great way to encourage creative thinking skills and also to give children confidence in speaking and telling their stories to others. Draw two cards and start a new story, while the others guess which card you are going to choose by placing a key token in the tilting Story Chest. The winner is the one who made the most correct guesses. Each card can take the story into all sorts of different directions. There are fantastical beasts, fairy tale characters, strange forms of transport, animals galore and much more, all designed to stimulate the imagination. The game is suitable for 2 to 7 players, age 7+. As players increase in confidence - and their story-telling skills develop - more cards can be used to make the stories longer and more complex. A fun game which enhances a key skill; a skill children need but which does not always come readily. It works well for all ages - children's imaginations can be more vivid than those of adults! Buy from 365 Games.

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