I used to enjoy playing games very much. I remember fun game evenings when I was a student, complete with dinners and a tipple, too. These days, I play rather less. We go through phases of playing lots and then not at all. Some children's games are so boring that I am reduced to tears just thinking about them. I particularly dislike the in-your-face educational ones. We have a game called 'Magic Cauldron', which is a sum guessing game with a touch of (terrible) magic. You have to guess and match sums. The 20 odd sums in the game are very quickly memorised, even by the littlest ones and the positive effect on (my) children's number skills are negligent.
There are a few games that do not bore me to a near catatonic state and I thought I'd tell you about them today.
An all time favourite is Labyrinth by Ravensburger. This game was around when I was little and I remember many a game with my brother. We were quite competitive Labyrinth players. There are a several versions, a junior one and a Disney Pixar one (eek). If you can, get the original version, it is the best one. Don't bother with the junior version, it is so simple, your three year old will be bored after a few play sessions. The aim is to find treasure in an ever changing maze. The maze is moveable and composed of small square cards that have part of a path on (see photo). Of course, your 'adversaries' are also trying to navigate their way through the maze and may well ruin your plans. It requires a good deal of spacial thinking and forward planning but I found that with a little help even my little ones can manage.
Recently, we have discovered Dobble. I am not sure who to attribute this game to. It is a snap game with a twist. There are a number of symbols and pictures on each round card and the aim is to win the card from the stockpile by matching a picture from your own card to the card in the middle faster than anyone else. It is a loud games if played with little ones and even older children shout exitedly. Dobble is very compact and comes in a round metal tin, perfect for wet camping or when you have little space in your holiday luggage.
We also like Uno by Mattel. It is a game that we all can play without getting bored or overwhelmed. The only difficult part is being able to hold all the cards in your hand. Uno a compact card game that travels well, too. You start of with 7 cards and the aim is to get rid of them all first. The cards are colour coded and numbered. The cards need to be discarded by either matching the colour, number or symbol. If this is not possible, the player has to pick up a card from the central pile as a punishment. Additional fun is added by special cards like 'skip', 'wild cards' and 'take 2 (or 4)' cards.
Staying with card games, one that we also like but I haven't played in a while because the older ones are 'too old' (more like too cool) and the little ones are not quite there yet is Rat-a-tat-cat by Gamewright. This game is good for memorising and basic maths AND it is fun. You get 4 cards that you are placing face down in front of you. There are cards with high numbers (rats) and cards with low numbers (cats). The rats look mean and the cats look sweet. The aim is to get rid of the rats and keep the cats. But you are only allowed to peek under the two outside cards... the values of the inner cards can be revealed by swapping with the top (visible) card from a central pile. It is a gamble because you may think you replace the card with a good one but the hidden one might be even better. You need to keep a bit of a tally of your total if you can and when you are sure your score is as low as can be, you call the game and everyone reveals their cards. The one with the lowest score wins.
Lastly, I would love to share the game Fettnapf by Amigo. It is a game I bought in Switzerland hence the German name. The phrase 'ins Fettnäpfchen treten' is translated as 'put one's foot in it'. It is another math card game. There are 30 island cards, numbered from 1 to 30. Each player gets three of them to begin with. The other set of cards have numbers from 1-9. The players take turns to put the number cards down, adding up sequentially. When 30 is reached, the numbers are subtracted instead, until 10 is reached. The tricky part is that you are not allowed to say the number on your adversary's island cards. If you do, you get a punishment card (the Fettnapf). This means you have to remember what island cards they have and you have to be pretty smart with your numbers, too. As you add and subtract between 30 and 10, each time the boundary is passed, the player who did can have another island card. It is more and more tricky to avoid those darn islands and you accumulate those Fettnapfs very quickly. Once you get four you are out It is great fun but still a bit tricky for James and Alistair.
Do you have any favourite games? Do tell please (Christmas is not so far away). Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend. x