Tag Archives: board game

Blogger Board Game Club: My First Bananagrams

I am part of the Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club run by Playtime PR. Each month 50 bloggers are sent a board game to play and put to the test. This month we were sent the My First Bananagrams game to play.

My First Bananagrams is suitable for children aged 4+ and for 1-4 players. The banana shaped bag contains 80 single tiles, 13 combo-letter tiles and a set of instructions. The game is really simple to play. You tip the tiles out and turn them face down, each player picks 15 tiles at random and when someone shouts “split!” everyone turns their tiles over.

Blogger Board Game Club: My First Bananagrams

Each player individually races to arrange their letters in their own word grid. At any time during the game you can say “Swap” and put one tile back face down and take a new one. You can rearrange your grid at any time and as many times as you like, there are no limits to the number of times you can swap tiles. The first person to use all of their tiles, or failing that, the most tiles wins.

Each game is quite short, probably between 10 – 15 minutes and it’s probably about the right level for my son. He can find words without too much of a struggle, so it’s still lots of fun and does stretch him a little bit. I think it’s a nice fun game to help build confidence around finding words from a collection of letters.

It’s a lot of fun to play and really great for helping him to think more creatively about words. He started off with three letter words, but was soon confidently finding five letter words. It’s a bit like Scrabble, but with fewer rules and therefore easier to play.

Blogger Board Game Club: My First Bananagrams

My First Bananagrams is a real winner for us. It’s nice and compact, so you can throw it in your bag and play it anywhere with a flat surface. This will be hugely popular on holiday, I know it!

My First Bananagrams costs around £15.99 and is widely available in toy shops and online.

We were sent the My First Bananagrams game for review for the Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club. All images and opinions are our own.
Find other board game and toy reviews here.

Blogger Board Game Club: Codenames Pictures

I am part of the Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club run by Playtime PR. Each month 50 bloggers are sent a board game to play and put to the test. This month we were sent Codenames Pictures card game to play.

Blogger Board Game Club: Codenames Pictures

Last month we struck Blogger Board Game Club gold with the Timeline British History Card Game. It was easy to set up, the rules were simple, everything fit into a little tin so you could take it anywhere easily. This month we were sent the much more complicated Codenames Pictures game which comes with a 12 page set of rules and instructions.

Ideally you need a minimum of four people to play this game, we tried with just two and it wasn’t as exciting as we suspect it could be. In teams of at least two people, one of you plays the role of Spy Master, the others, are Field Operatives. The spy master has to give cryptic clues and the field operatives have to guess the answer correctly. Innocent bystanders can get hurt or your rival spy team could get the upper hand. Either way, it’s complicated.

Blogger Board Game Club: Codenames Pictures

Codenames Pictures is described as a simple guessing game, but it’s harder than that. The spy master has to give the field operatives a codeword relating to one of more of the picture cards on the board. For example there might be a fish in a glass of water. The spy master might give the clue “gills”; the field operatives then have to touch the card or cards they think they relate to. If this is guessed correctly then the picture card is covered with a red or blue spy card. This depends on what the pattern on the key card is, see, it’s complicated.

I’m not even going to try to explain how the game fully works, there’s a 12 page booklet you can read if you want the full rundown.

Blogger Board Game Club: Codenames Pictures

Codenames Pictures is aimed at people aged 10+. I think once you’ve got a small group of players together and everyone has read the rule book several times, then it could be quite fun. But it is quite complicated and the kind of thing you need to absorb yourself in for a few hours. Each game is quite quick really, it should take around 15 minutes per game. But if you’re going to go to the trouble of mastering the rules, then it’s worth playing a few games in one sitting.

I probably sound quite down on Codenames Pictures, but I’m not really. It’s not the kind of game I would normally go for. I like quick to set up games with simple rules. This is fairly quick to set up, but all the rules are a bit much for me.

Would I play Codenames Pictures again? Probably, but only with a group of friends and with a bottle of wine.

Find Codename Pictures on Amazon today, rrp £15.99.

We were sent the Codenames Pictures card game for review for the Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club. All images and opinions are our own.
Find other board game and toy reviews here.

Board Games: Timeline British History Card Game

I am part of the Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club run by Playtime PR. Each month 50 bloggers are sent a board game to play and put to the test. This month we were sent Timeline British History Card Game to play.

Board Games: Timeline British History Card Game

We took the Timeline British History Card Game on holiday with us over half term. We were staying with some friends in a cottage with no TV; so I packed a few things to help the evenings fly by. We’d not yet played the Timeline British History Card Game, but we are all trivia fans so it felt like it would be a hit with us all.

The card game is pretty simple. It comes in a tin which makes it perfect for taking on holidays. There are 110 cards in the pack, on one side of the card is an historical event, on the other is the date of the event. Each player starts off with four cards. Taking it in turns, each player lays down a card in what they think is the right date order. If you get it wrong then you have to take another card from the pile and keep playing until someone has played all of the cards.

Board Games: Timeline British History Card Game

It can be a really quick game, or it can go on and on, depending on your knowledge of British history. I found I was pretty good with 20th Century history, but a bit wishy-washy before then.

This is absolutely my kind of game. I love a bit of historical geekery and we did get a bit competitive. The Timeline British History Card Game is suitable for ages 8+. Unless younger players have a pretty good knowledge of British history then it’s not going to be much fun for them. For four adults sharing a bottle of wine and a competitive nature, this is excellent fun.

Board Games: Timeline British History Card Game
The Timeline British History Card Game costs around £13.99 and is widely available in toy shops and online.

We were sent the Timeline British History Card Game for review for the Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club. All images and opinions are our own.
Find other board game and toy reviews here.

Board Game Club Review: Ticket to Ride First Journey

I am part of the Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club run by Playtime PR. Each month 50 bloggers are sent a board game to play and put to the test. This month we were sent Ticket to Ride First Journey to play.

Board Game Club Review: Ticket to Ride First Journey

Ticket to Ride First Journey is a board game designed for 2-4 players aged 6+. I played it with my 7 year old son. My son loves maps and geography, so we were really excited when we were setting the game up. The rules take a couple of reads throughs to understand, but it’s actually quite simple to play.

The game consists of a board with a map of Europe on it with key train stations such as Amsterdam, Berlin and Athens. The box contains a set of 72 train cards, 32 ticket cards, 4 coast-to-coast cards and 1 golden ticket. There are also four different sets of coloured trains.

Each player chooses a colour of train to be; I was red, he was green. The aim of the game is to be the first player to complete 6 tickets, or the first person to place all twenty of their trains on the train tracks.

Each player starts with four coloured train cards and two tickets. Each ticket shows two cities, and you need to connect those two cities with your trains in order to complete the ticket. Taking turns, you have a ticket, say from London to Athens and using the coloured train cards you have to plot a route between them using your trains across the coloured paths.

Board Game Club Review: Ticket to Ride First Journey

If you complete a track which crosses the board entirely from east to west, or west to east, then you pick up the East-to-West bonus card, which counts as one completed ticket.

Ticket to Ride seems quite complicated, but it’s really not. Once we had played it once, my 7 year old had really got the hang of it. We’ve played it over and over, which is always a sign he likes playing something. It’s good fun for adults too, I quite enjoyed trying to plot my route from A to B.  It can be quite a quick game to play if you don’t have very long, and it’s great for short attention spans.

Ticket to Ride First Journey is fairly widely available and costs around £28. It’s a well made, quality board game. The board is longer than your standard Monopoly style board. The size of the board is why completing the East-to West route is so coveted. I would say that you get 20 trains of each colour and we have never completed six tickets; we have always run out of trains after two or three tickets worth of travel.

Board Game Club Review: Ticket to Ride First Journey

Overall, we really liked Ticket to Ride First Journey. It’s a really appealing game, especially for train and map enthusiasts. My son really enjoyed playing it, and I really liked that it’s got a nice geography element to it, so you can really start to learn where the major cities of Europe are. It’s a thumbs up from us!

We were sent the Ticket to Ride First Journey game for review for the Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club. All images and opinions are our own.
Find other board game and toy reviews here.

Board Game Club Review: Rory’s Story Cubes

I am part of the Blogger Board Game Club run by Playtime PR. Each month 50 bloggers are sent a new (or new-ish, or at least new to them) board game to play and put to the test. This month we were sent Rory’s Story Cubes, a game I am familiar with but have never played.

Board Game Club Review: Rory’s Story Cubes

Rory’s Story Cubes is a simple set of nine dice. Each dice is different and has a different image on each of its six sides. The idea is simple, roll the dice and make up a story based upon the nine images. It’s small, it’s simple and you can play it anywhere.

The game comes in a small magnetic box which contains the nine dice and a set of simple instructions. The only thing you need to supply is your imagination. The instructions are very easy to understand and include suggestions for developing your stories.

I’ve been waiting and waiting for my son (who has just turned seven) to be old enough to enjoy and understand this game. I was a little concerned he would think it was boring, but actually he loved it. He’s an imaginative little soul, so piecing together a story based on the roll of nine dice really floats his boat.

Board Game Club Review: Rory’s Story Cubes

Rory’s Story Cubes are the kind of game that could spark off a whole raft of really lovely developmental activity. The storytelling can help to develop creative ideas and improve communication skills; as well as give their confidence a boost too.

We really loved Rory’s Story Cubes. This is the basic set, but if you really get into it there are a variety of expansion packs to help you grow your stories. This is such a big hit for us, it’s going straight into the activity bag we take with us when we go out.

Rory’s Story Cubes is widely available from a range of retailers and costs around £12.99. It’s suitable for ages 6+ and would make an excellent after dinner game on Christmas Day!

We were sent the Rory’s Story Cube game for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Find other board game and toy reviews here.

Board Game Club Review: Jungle Speed

I am part of the Blogger Board Game Club run by Playtime PR. Each month 50 bloggers are sent a new (or new-ish, or at least new to them) board game to play and put to the test. This month we were sent Jungle Speed, a game none of us had heard of before.

Board Game Club Review: Jungle Speed

Jungle Speed is a card game created by Thomas Vuarchex and Pierric Yakovenko in 1991 and is produced by Asmodee Editions. It is played with a pack non-standard playing cards. It’s a bit like Snap but more complicated. 

The box contains a deck of cards, a wooden totem and a bag to store the game in. Because there are so few elements and they can be packed away in a small bag; making it an ideal travel game. Jungle Speed is suitable for 2 or more players aged 7+. Each game should take around 15 minutes to play. It has an RRP of £14.99 and is available from a range of retailers including Amazon.

The game revolves around matching cards with identical symbols. Just like Snap, but the pack of cards all have different symbols on, some of which look similar but they’re not. Because some of the symbols are so similar it does make the game more challenging and players are more likely to snatch the totem at the wrong time meaning they have to pick up extra cards.

Board Game Club Review: Jungle Speed

To play, you shuffle the cards and deal them out equally to each player face down. Players take turns playing the top card from their stacks in a clockwise direction. There is a wooden cylinder called a Totem in the middle of the table, when a player plays a card that matches the symbol of another player’s top card, the two players must ‘duel’ to grab the totem. The loser of the duel takes both players played cards, as well as any cards under the totem and so it continues until the winner doesn’t have any cards left.

I explained the rules to the boys, one of which said it sounded boring, so he walked off and didn’t want anything more to do with it. So I played the game with the remaining 7 year old boy. He’s bright and he picked up the rules quickly enough. We played the game several times just to make sure we weren’t missing anything. Maybe we were, but neither of us had anything particularly good to say about Jungle Speed.

I wonder if it is better and more exciting played with more players. There wasn’t much action other than turning cards and even when we matched a card, snatched the totem and gave away our discarded cards to the loser, it wasn’t as much fun as a simple game of snap.

Board Game Club Review: Jungle Speed

After we’d packed the game away I read some reviews on Amazon, most of which were absolutely glowing. I’ve re-read the rules a couple of times since, just to check we were playing it correctly and we were. Jungle Speed is not for us. It’s not exciting, it’s not especially engaging and it lacked the speed and fun of a simple game of snap. Sorry Jungle Speed, we didn’t really like you.

We were sent the Jungle Speed board game for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own. This blog post contains affiliate links.

Find other board game and toy reviews here.

Board Game Club Review: Hey that’s my Fish!

This month we have joined the Blogger Board Game Club run by Playtime PR. Each month 50 bloggers are sent a new (or new-ish, or at least new to them) board game to play and put to the test. We were asked some questions about how old we all were and what our favourite and least favourite games were, then we waited for our first specially picked board game. We got Hey that’s my fish!

Hey that's my Fish! Board Game Club Review: Hey that's my Fish!

I have seen Hey that’s my fish! before in the shops, but hadn’t really looked at it too closely as my son is 6 years old and it’s advertised as suitable for ages 8+. We had planned to meet my brother, his wife and my seven year old nephew for lunch, so I threw Hey that’s my fish! in my bag to keep the boys entertained.

The game is really quite simple to set up and play. Put the fish cards in eight rows. The fish cards have one, two or three fish printed on them, and you need to mix them right up so they’re fairly well distributed across the board. Hey that’s my Fish! is suitable for 2 to 4 players. Each player takes two of the coloured penguins (choose from red, blue, yellow or green) and you place them randomly on the board. When laid out the “board” of fish cards isn’t huge, maybe around A4 size, which means it’s good for playing on small tables in restaurants or even on trains.

Hey that's my Fish! Board Game Club Review: Hey that's my Fish!

Starting with the youngest player first, you can move one penguin in a straight line in any direction, landing on a fish card and collecting it. You can’t move over any penguins which might be in your way, nor can your penguin paddle through the gaps in the ice where other players have collected their cards.

The aim of the game is to collect the most fish, so strategically it makes sense to try to land on and collect as many of the two and three fish cards as you can, then the one fish cards, but it’s not always that simple. Once all the cards have gone, or a penguin impasse has been reached, then you count your fish. The player with the most fish wins. 

Hey that's my Fish! Board Game Club Review: Hey that's my Fish!

The verdict on Hey that’s my Fish!

Hey that’s my Fish! is a good introduction to strategy games. The key to success is thinking two or three moves ahead and trying to block your rival penguins in if you can. The boys, aged six and seven got the hang of the rules really quickly and enjoyed the game. It’s fairly quick to play and was a perfect for playing while we waited for our meals to arrive.

It entertained the adults and children equally well, and it’s the kind of game you can really get seriously strategic about if you want. We kept things light and fun for the boys and it’s something I know they will want to play again and again.

It’s a small game in a small box, so it’s the kind of thing we would take on holiday or keep in our activity bag which I have ready for when we go out with the boy.

Hey that’s my Fish! costs around £10 and is suitable for ages 8+ (though my six year old had no trouble at all with it). It’s available from a wide range of retailers and online.

We were sent the Hey that’s my Fish! board game for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own. This blog post contains affiliate links.

Find other board game and toy reviews here.

Review: Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game

My son is six now and does seem to enjoy doing maths at school and at home. I’m keen to encourage this, especially as I was always terrible at maths myself. I’m a great believer in making learning fun, so when we were sent the Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game I thought he would like it, and I was right!

Review: Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game

The Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game is for ages 5-7 and helps to teach and reinforce addition, subtraction and multiplication. Designed for 2-4 players this is a game my son really, really loves and makes us play every night after dinner.

The game play is really easy to get your head around. Each player chooses one of the four wizard boards, you spread the magic sum cards face down and star up on the table. You also have a selection of spell ingredient cards, deal each player six of these cards, these have a number on one side and a gruesome spell ingredient on the other.

Review: Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game

To play you turn over a magic sum card and do the sum on the card eg 5+2= if you have the number 7 on any of your spell ingredient cards, shout abracadabra and put your gruesome spell ingredient onto your wizard board. If you need to check your answer is correct, rub the star on the back of the magic sum card and this will magically reveal the answer.

Review: Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game

If there’s no match or you answer the sum incorrectly then the other players have a chance to win that card if they get the sum right and have a spell ingredient card to match. The winner is the first layer to fill their wizard board with all six spell ingredients. It’s actually much easier than it sounds.

The horrible spell ingredients include worm-infested cupcakes, brains and bogies. For my son the eye of newt and wing of bat element is something he particularly enjoys.

The game has been designed specifically for KS1 maths in collaboration with teachers and educational professionals. It incorporates a broad range of sums including addition, subtraction and multiplication to offer a challenging game.

The Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game helps to develop the following areas of learning –

  • Develops Number and Counting Skills
  • Supports first multiplication, addition and subtraction
  • Encourages Observational Skills
  • Develops Personal and Social Skills

Review: Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game

I know from playing the game with my son that he is very engaged with it, he enjoys creating the spells and the challenge of doing the maths to get enough of the cards to win the game. For my money, this is probably one of the best Orchard Toys games we’ve had and is perfectly pitched for my 6 year old.

If you do get this game, can I offer a small tip. The magic sum cards are in sets for addition, subtraction and multiplication. I know my son is pretty confident with addition and subtraction; so for a while we just played with these cards to bolster his confidence. Over time we have introduced the harder sums, the multiplication cards etc and he has found those easier to do and has approached them with greater confidence.

I didn’t think it was possible, but this game really makes maths fun for us all!

The Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game is available from a wide range of retailers and costs around £12. For more information, visit the Orchard Toys website.

Review: Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game

Note: We were sent the Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: Orchard Toys What’s the Time Mr Wolf?

This month the small boy started Year 1 and his learning has definitely stepped up a level. One thing his class are starting to look at is learning to tell the time. We’ve been talking about the time all year and trying to figure out what the time is on our kitchen clock, but Orchard Toys have just brought out a new game – What’s the Time Mr Wolf? to help 5-9 year olds learn to tell the time. We were sent one to put to the test, so what did the small boy think?

Orchard Toys What's the Time Mr Wolf?

What’s the Time Mr Wolf? is based on the popular playground game and is for 2 – 6 players, aged 5 to 9. It contains a jigsaw game board, character pieces and stands, time cards (with analogue and digital times on them), a slot together wolf and a large clock face with movable hands.

The game has been designed to help children to learn to tell the time and it is also fun and easy to play. Like many of the Orchard Toys games, it can be played at different levels. First play and learn to tell the time on a clock, once that skill has been mastered you can move onto learning to tell the time on a digital clock.

Orchard Toys What's the Time Mr Wolf?

When you open the box and get the game out, there are a lot of different elements, so it might look more complex than it is. The first version of the game (which is what we are playing, as the small boy is only 5) is pretty simple.

Choose a character counter (I was badger, he was hedgehog), go to the start and roll the dice. Move however many squares and if you land on a question mark you pick up a card from the stack of time cards. Then you read out the time, for example “ten minutes past ten” and without looking at the clock face on the back you move the hands on the big clock to that time. If they match then you can add your card to your collection board (with the matching character on it). The first one to fill their board wins.

If you don’t get the time right, then you have to return the card to the pile and the next player has a go. If you land on the wolf you shout “dinner time” and you must take a card from your collection board and feed it to the wolf. The small boy especially liked the shouting part, but I guess shouting is optional.

What's the Time Mr Wolf?

We played after school and the small boy couldn’t wait for his dad to come home from work to play it with him too. It’s great that the What’s the Time Mr Wolf? game is so enjoyable for him, it really helps with his learning. He’s got the game out most days after school which is really encouraging for me. I do have to watch him, I’m not saying he cheats, but I am saying that cheats never prosper!

I can’t really comment on the other version of the game for older players, as we’re not there yet and we’ve not played it, but it does help to teach older kids how to tell the time on a digital clock.

The What’s the Time Mr Wolf? game from Orchard Toys is made with sturdy recycled board and has a wipe-clean finish. All Orchard Toys games and puzzles are really robust and we’ve still got some which are four years old and have been played to death.

What’s the Time Mr Wolf? is another cracking educational game from Orchard Toys. If you can make learning fun, then it doesn’t feel like learning at all.

To find out more about the What’s the Time Mr Wolf? game, visit the Orchard Toys website.

We were sent the Orchard Toys What’s the Time Mr Wolf? game fore review purposes. All Images and opinions are our own. 

Review: Orchard Toys Christmas Surprises

It’s only been a few days since the small boy turned five, but as soon as the last of his wrapping paper goes in the bin, thoughts turn to Christmas which is only about 6 weeks away now (eek!). To get us in the mood we like to watch DVDs and play games, not least because the tree doesn’t go up until almost the last minute. Over the weekend we all went for a pub lunch, and to entertain the small boy and his cousin I took the Orchard Toys Christmas Surprises game we’d been sent to play.

Aimed at children aged 3-6 years, the grown ups still joined in and enjoyed the game play. The game has enough double sided boards for 2-4 players. There are two different games you can play, the shape game and the colour game. The box contains 4 double sided boards, 24 shaped presents, 24 coloured baubles, 1 shape dice and one colour dice.

The shape game you play with the Father Christmas board, turn all the different shapes over so you can’t see what the presents are, roll the shape dice and pick the corresponding shape, it’s a bit like shape bingo, everyone takes a turn and the first one to fill Santa’s sack with presents wins, then everyone gets to turn over their shapes and see what Santa has brought them.

The colour game is similar and you play with the Christmas tree board. The bauble shapes are colour side up, each player rolls the dice and they collect the corresponding bauble colour, the first one to decorate the tree wins.

Christmas Surprises

The boys loved both games, with one preferring the colour and the other preferring the shape game – lucky there are two games to choose from! This is a nice matching game, where small children can get the hang of standard game conventions such as taking turns and rolling the dice, and importantly, not winning every time.

The Orchard Toys Christmas Surprises game encourages social skills and observations, improves manual dexterity and is linked with early learning goals.

It was certainly a lot of fun, kept us all entertained while we waited for our lunch and sparked several conversations about Christmas. I can see us playing this a lot up until the big day (and probably beyond). Another great game from Orchard Toys!