Best of Lists Bunk

This post originally appeared on my old blog: PinkMeeple

Best Children’s Games

Now there’s a topic I have an issue with. Just because Gulo Gulo or Loopin’ Louie are excellent children’s games doesn’t mean either of them are best for all children. I know this sounds like a “no-brainer” but it irks me just the same.

I made it clear when I started this blog that my gaming choices for my 5 year old daughter Natalya would be age appropriate. As she ages those choices will mature and change as well. My daughter loves Animal Upon Animal which is marked as 4-99. [You can read another of my blog posts about it: here] Now, would my 16 year old son like it? I suppose if he was playing with his little sister but it won’t be his “go-to game.” We’re looking at the start year here folks. I know it all sounds obvious but making a Best Children’s Game video, or podcast or geeklist is ultimately flawed.

Best Children’s Games need to be broken down into sub categories of Best lists. They should be broken down more like this:

Ages: < 3, 3-5, 5-8, 8+, 10+, 12+, 16+

Part of the problem is the gaming industry itself. Hobby games for the 8 and under crowd are hard to find and get even harder as the child gets younger. We all know Parker Brothers has an answer to this with their caucophny of children’s game like Loopin’ Louie, Cooties, Ants in my Pants, Candyland et cetera. Not that these are bad games (well they might be), they are not the usual choice for hobbyists like ourselves, the parents. However, there are two companies that come to mind that can come to our rescue. Haba and Gamewright. Haba has a huge line of beautiful, wonderful and cute little games for the young ones. Haba is hard to find in this country. There are a few on Amazon, but the majority of them are not available in the United States, at least not easily. Your best bet would be to seek out a specialty toy shop or maybe your FLGS can score one. Gamewright games on the other hand are much easier to score. Many of their games are small card-based games. (Granted I am a little partial to them as their headquarters is about 30 minutes from my house.) Go to their web site and check out some of the great offerings.

I think it’s ok to have lists broken down into genres like Best Party Game, Best Area Control Game, Best Worker Placement game, et cetera. But dumping all children’s game into one big box is not going to work. Now considering I am only starting at the low end of the curve here, I am sure a few years from now I will say this entire age-based break down is junk. But for now I think it works. Ask me again a few years from now.

Viel Spaß!

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I am not an Animal!!

Animal upon Animal BoxThis post originally appeared on my old blog: PinkMeeple

Natalya got Animal Upon Animal from Santa this year. He really knows his toys and games. Components are excellent as is the norm for all Haba games.

Game play is simple. The crocodile goes in the middle of the play area. In a two player game, each player takes one of each animal (7 each) to form his/her supply and returns the rest to the box as they will not be needed. Youngest player should always go first. Roll the die.

* If you get a one or two, balance that many animals of your choosing from your supply onto the crocodile.

* Roll a hand and give one of your animals to the other player for them to place.

* If you roll a “?” then the other player has to tell you what animal to place on the crocodile. If you roll a crocodile you may place one of your animals at the crocodile’s head of tail. This gives you more space to balance your animals!

If one or two animals fall while placing an animal then that player takes those two into their supply. If two or more fall, then that player takes two and places the rest back in the box out of the game. If the entire stack collapses, two animals go into the player’s supply and the rest go back to the box and you start over again.

First player to stack all their animals is the winner!

Placing a snake on top of the stack of animals

Natalya’s doing pretty well here placing her snake on the animals.

A stack of animals

After a few minor setbacks, Daddy places the penguin. Not sure if that was a good idea.

And the animals fall over

Nope, it wasn’t.

Animal Upon Animal comes with 29 wooden components. Four of each animal: snake, sheep, penguin, toucan, monkey, kangaroo (at least we think it’s a kangaroo), lion (again, we think so), plus one crocodile and a nice chunky wooden die. You also get a multilingual rule book. According to the box, the game is for ages 4-99 and is for 2-4 players.

This is a fantastic little dexterity game that plays in about 10 minutes. Great fun for the whole family. Roar!

Viel Spaß!

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