Snap Circuits Jr review

Here is a product that will help a youngster get into electronics in a fun and easy way. Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit is a great hands-on tool for building working models of a flashing light, a siren, and a photo sensor, among other things. With easy-to-follow instructions, children can learn how circuits work, and have hours of fun too!


Snap Circuits Jr kit

PRODUCT FEATURES:

-from Elenco

-can be used to build over 100 projects

-#1 Best Seller in Early Development Science Toys

-Frustration Free Packaging (plain brown wrapper)

-2 “AA” batteries included

-over 30 snap-together parts

-manual included, with clear, easy directions

-dimensions: 17.4” x 9.8” x 1.8” – 1.7 lbs

-ships to the US and selected countries outside the US

-made in China

POSITIVES:

Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit can help introduce a young child into the world of STEM. Recommended for ages 8-15, this kit allows boys and girls to create working circuits like those in television sets, radios, and other electronic devices. The projects include a musical doorbell, a voice-controlled lamp, a sound-activated switch, and many more. The pieces (snap wires, slide switches, an alarm circuit, a music- integrated circuit, and speaker) are color-coded for easy identification, and they snap together on a plastic grid. There is no soldering required. The Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 doesn’t have a lot of little pieces which can get lost, and it’s safe for young children. Even a bright 5-year old can use this toy to learn problem solving: how to put things together, and make them work. The variety of projects can keep him busy for hours.

 

NEGATIVES:

The company’s claim that this toy teaches “all about electronics” is a stretch. It contains only one simple resistor, no capacitors, and no transistors.  The only IC is in a sealed, opaque box, where kids can’t see it, and there is no description of what other circuitry might be inside. Of the “100 projects,” many are similar to each other. A child may complete all the projects in a few weeks, and then lose interest – although there is an upgraded version available with more projects.

One of the biggest drawbacks of this item is the lack of  a “why.” Why does the unit light up when the wires are connected?  Why doesn’t the sound play if different pieces are used? The consumer is told vaguely what a circuit is supposed to do, and there is a picture of it, but there is no explanation of why it should work as planned, or what each component does.

This toy may be compared to electronic Legos. Left to himself, a child can figure out how to connect the pieces without understanding electricity. This may not make him more creative.

SUMMARY

The Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit has won an award for Dr. Toy’s Best Children’s Products. It’s fun, colorful, and educational for small children, although older ones may want more.

Click Here to get the Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit

pie face game

The PIE FACE GAME is a fun-filled, silly family board game that anyone can play. This colorful plastic game involves turning the handle on a “hand” which is filled with whipped cream (not included), and the tension mounts as no one knows who will get slapped in the face next. New in the US this year, it’ll make great holiday entertainment.


Hasbro Pie Face Game

PRODUCT FEATURES:

– for 2 or more players

-recommended for ages 5 and up

-pie throwing mechanism can go off at any moment

-points are scored when players turn the handle without getting splatted

-includes one pie thrower, one throwing arm, two handles, chin rest, splash guard mask, spinner,   and sponge

-no batteries required

-dimensions: 3.2”x 10.5” x 10.5” – 1.2 lbs

-made in China

-ships within the US and to select countries outside the US

 

POSITIVES:

Just in time for Christmas, Hasbro has just begun to distribute this family fun game in the United States, having acquired the rights from Esdevium Games, based in the UK. The game became a sensation earlier this year because of a YouTube video showing a grandfather and grandson playing it. It’s easy to assemble, and once it’s up, players take turns spinning the spinner, and turn the handle the required number of turns.  The hand slaps at random numbers, so at any moment, someone will get a face full of whipped cream. The Pie Face Game will keep youngsters and oldsters laughing. After the game is over, the plastic parts are easy to take apart and clean. And after the kids have gone to bed, adults can use it as a drinking game!

NEGATIVES:

The Pie Face Game costs less than $20, because it’s cheaply made.  The face guard tends to move around and comes off; it won’t stay on even through one game. It takes a lot of whipped cream to get it slapped onto the face, and when the handle is turned, the whipped cream tends to slide or fall off prematurely, necessitating repositioning. The buyer must supply his/her own paper and pencil to keep score.

This game will get people messy! Kids will need a bath afterwards, and all players will get sticky whipped cream in their hair. It’s advisable to keep a washcloth handy for cleanup after getting splatted.

SUMMARY:

The Hasbro Company has long been associated with quality items of children’s play. The Pie Face Game provides a lot of family entertainment for a low price. It’s colorful and a bit nostalgic. Although it’s recommended for ages 5 and up, even 3-year olds will love it and squeal with laughter as they play. And of course, there’s sweet whipped cream to lick off!

Click Here to get the Hasbro Pie Face Game

lego brick box

The Lego Classic Medium Creative Brick Box is a great toy for any child who loves Legos. It’s marketed for kids aged “4-99” and comes with 484 pieces, so there’s a lot to love! The set has bricks in 35 different colors and many shapes to make houses, cars, trains, figures, and whatever a creative mind can imagine. Builders of all ages will be kept busy for hours.


LEGO Brick Box

PRODUCT FEATURES:

– $29.99, free shipping on orders over $35

-ships from and sold by Amazon.com – gift wrap available

-bricks in 35 colors

-includes 18 tires, 18 wheel rims

-special pieces: base plate, windows with frame, 3 sets of eyes

-imaginative building is encouraged

-yellow plastic box for storage

-endless possibilities

-dimensions: 14.6” x 7” x 7.1” – 2.2 lbs

-ships only within the US and to APO/FPO addresses

-instructions included

POSITIVES:

The Lego Classic Medium Creative Brick Box has something for everyone. Some of its projects are simple enough for a four-year old to complete, with only a little help. Children who don’t like to be told what to build will appreciate the wide variety of interesting shapes, to create things uniquely their own. This set includes, among other items, 10 large tires with rims, 4 medium tires, and 4 small tires. This set is also compatible with older Lego sets, such as those made in the 1980s, so Dad’s and Junior’s sets can be combined for even more possibilities. The box has plenty of room to accommodate large collections. The lid latches on securely, so if the box tips over, the pieces won’t spill out. The set is easy to clean with a damp cloth. There is even a brick separation tool, so you don’t have to use your teeth to take your creations apart!

NEGATIVES:

The “special” pieces are very small, perhaps too small for a four-year old. Many of these are tiny, sstrangely-shaped “add-on” pieces that can’t be used to actually build anything. They also hurt your feet if you happen to step on one without shoes. The lid on the box doesn’t always snap on well, and once it’s on, it’s hard to get off.

This set is good if you already have a lot of basic bricks, because you won’t find too many of those in this box – not enough to make anything substantial, like a house. And there are no Lego people included; they have to be ordered separately. In addition, not all of the ideas are shown in the included instruction booklet: they must be downloaded from online, which can be a nuisance.

SUMMARY:

The Hasbro Company, founded in 1932, is known for its high-quality toys which can enrich a child’s life, and this one is no exception. The Lego Classic Medium Creative Brick Box is a fine toy for “architects” of all ages. It will stimulate the imagination, encourage creative expresssion, and provide endless hours of fun.

Click Here to get the LEGO Classic Medium Creative Brick Box

VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

This item is many things in one: it’s a toy a baby can play with on the floor; a walker to help a toddler on his way; and a colorful educational tool to teach about colors, music, shapes, and animals. Intended for youngsters aged 9 months to 3 years, it will keep a child occupied and out of trouble for a long time. This is one of the best toys for babies or toddlers this year.


VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

PRODUCT FEATURES:

– #1 Amazon Best Seller in Kids Basic Skills Development Toys

– easy-to-open packaging (Frustration Free Packaging means it’s in a plain brown wrapper)

-interactive learning walker, with removable panel

-has 3 colorful spinning rollers, 3 light-up buttons, 3 shape sorters and 5 piano keys

-pretend telephone handset allows child to role-play and encourages creativity

-wheels work on both hardwood and carpeted floors

– 2 “AA” batteries included

-product dimensions: 16.5” x 14.2” x18.1” – 5 lbs

-made in China

-ships only within the US

POSITIVES:

The Vtech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker provides an abundance of auditory and visual stimulation for a young child. There’s so much to do! He can insert shape sorters, press the shape buttons, spin the flowers to hear phrases and sound effects, play the piano keys, and talk on the “telephone.” The walker has over 70 sing-along songs, and colorful pictures of animals. He can open and close the swinging door to play “hide ‘n seek” with the cow. And when the activity panel is used for the walker, the panel is motion-activated to play melodies when the walker is pushed.

The Vtech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker is easy to assemble: attach the legs, and the handle snaps on. The wheels are adjustable, so they can be partially locked on smooth floors to avoid slips, or set to “free spinning” on coarser surfaces like carpet. The walker is sturdy and won’t tip over, unless the child is unusually heavy for his age. He can pull himself up and push it all over the house. There is an auto-shutoff for safety, and after use, the legs can come off by pushing the buttons on the handle – then the unit is easier to store. It will also fit into a small suitcase for travel.

NEGATIVES:

There aren’t too many negatives with the Vtech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker. Buyers should be aware, however, that if a child stops interacting with the toy for a time, it may randomly start playing a song for a few seconds, then suddenly switch to a different song, which can be annoying. Also annoying are the loud noises. The help in learning to walk is somewhat questionable, as the child may push the walker into a corner and wall, then be unable to turn around. In addition, a child may become too dependent on this “crutch,” to where it may actually impede his walking independently.

If you are not sure if you want to get this learning walker for your child, have a look at some of the other popular toys out there such as Action Figures or Dolls.

SUMMARY:

This product is sturdy, colorful, attractive, and stimulates learning and creativity. Youngsters will have hours of fun with it, and become more mobile at the same time. It’s a great product for the price.

Click Here to get the VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

cards against humanity review

Cards Against Humanity is a card game which has been compared to Apples to Apples, but is an adult version. Ranked one of the best Toys and Games on Amazon.com, it makes a great party game for adults (a minimum of 4 players). It is easy to play and will keep the participants laughing hysterically. Expansion versions are also available for more game possibilities.

Cards Against Humanity

FEATURES OF CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY:

  • sold by Cards Against Humanity, LLC, and Fulfilled by Amazon
  • 550 playing cards – 460 white, 90 black
  • can be gift-wrapped
  • countless possible rounds with 6 players
  • includes game rules and alternate rules
  • professionally printed on plastic-coated cardstock
  • shrink-wrapped
  • one deck costs around $25.00

 

PROS AND CONS:

This deck card game is best when played by four or more players. The optimum number seems to be six. If you have eight, the game will still be fun but can drag on. The game is made up of two sets of cards: one is a set-up card which may say something like, “My dog is wonderful at ______ but horrible at ______.” A player would select two cards from his hand to complete the sentence. Possible answers might be “cooking dinner” and “resisting temptation.” The content is definitely anti-establishment and politically incorrect, so it is not for the sensitive or those who are easily offended.

It is also not for children middle-school aged or younger. The box is clearly marked “17 and up.” Teenagers might enjoy it, especially if they enjoy movies like Porky’s and Hangover.   Players must have a sense of humor and be able to laugh at crudity. Ninety-two per cent of reviewers give this game five stars; however, some of the questions and answers are in bad taste, disgusting, and may cause players to be uncomfortable as they laugh at topics like the Holocaust, racism, and cancer.

Buyers might want to be careful about whom they invite to play this game. Although it is not anti-religion, churchgoers may find it offensive.

 

WHO WILL LIKE CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY?

Adults at a party will love this game. It helps if you have a warped, twisted sense of humor or an outright dirty mind; or if you drink before playing. It is downright sick and irreverent, but hilarious.

Click Here to get the Cards Against Humanity

Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots

Young children who enjoy Bots and the best toys will love this. The exciting vehicle races swiftly into adventure, then automatically flips into Chase the Police-Bot. Then it converts easily back to the vehicle mode. It promises hours of fun for little Heroes who want to save the world.


Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots

FEATURES OF THE PLAYSKOOL HEROES TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS ENERGIZE CHASE THE POLICE-BOT FIGURE:

  • number one best-seller in Action and Toy Figures
  • sold by and shipped from Amazon.com
  • $14.79
  • gift-wrap available
  • Chase the Police-Bot converts quickly from robot mode to vehicle and back again
  • Robot figure holds a rescue claw
  • rescue claw attaches to the vehicle in rescue mode
  • the police car fits onto the vehicle trailer
  • for ages 3 and up
  • shipping weight: 9 oz.
  • 7” tall in robot mode; a little shorter in vehicle mode
  • light, colorful plastic
  • wipes clean with a damp cloth
  • no battery included

PROS AND CONS:

Little children have the opportunity to feel powerful with this transforming toy. All they have to do is pull the vehicle to get it started; the vehicle races to whatever emergency is imagined, then it flips into place and is transformed into a Rescue Hero. The transformation takes only seconds, so the Hero is ready for action. The Playskool Heroes Transformers encourage creative thinking as children imagine predicaments for their heroes to fix. It also makes a nice companion to the Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots Energize Heat-Wave the Fire-Bot Figure, and Blades the Copter-Bot Figure.

Parents will like that fact that, unlike some other transforming toys, this one doesn’t have any transforming parts that fall off. The mechanism works every time, making the transforming simple. The figure snaps quickly from robot to vehicle and back. Moms won’t end up with little bits and pieces all over the house. It is great for little hands, and for parents’ sanity.

A few down sides to the product: the arms and legs don’t move at all. Small pins hold the parts together, and may break or bend. The door may not completely close on some models. Overall, however, the toy is appropriate for young children who will play with it for a long time.

WHO WILL LIKE THE PLAYSKOOL HEROES TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS ENERGIZE CHASE THE POLICE-BOT FIGURE?

Little children, ages three and up, who enjoy adventure toys and Bots, will like playing with this Police-Bot transformer. Parents of more than one young son will probably want to buy more than one, so the boys don’t fight over them.

Click Here to get the Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots Energize Chase the Police-Bot Figure

7 wonders game

7 Wonders is a dedicated deck card game that features ancient civilizations. At the start of the game, each player randomly receives a gameboard called a ‘Wonder board.’ Each board depicts one of Antipater of Sidon‘s original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Player lay cards to build a city made of various structures around their Wonder boards. The boards are double-sided; the wonders on side A are generally easier to build, while those on side B grant more interesting benefits.


7 Wonders Game

How is 7 Wonders Played?

7 Wonders is played over three ages, known in the game as Ages I, II and III, using three decks of cards. In each age, seven cards are randomly dealt to each player. The game uses a card-drafting mechanic in which, once per turn, each player selects a card to play from his or her hand, then passes the remaining cards (face-down) to the next player. This process is repeated until five out of the seven cards have been played. At this point, each player must choose to play one of his remaining two cards and discard the other.

Each age card represent a structure, and playing a card means building a structure. To build a structure, a player must first pay the construction cost, in coins or in one or more of the seven resource types, then lay it down by his or her Wonder board. A player lacking the resources available may pay his direct neighbors to use their resources, normally at two coins per resource, if available.

Instead of building a structure, a player may choose either to discard an Age card to earn three coins from the bank or to use the card to build a stage of his or her wonder. The Wonder boards have from two to four stages, shown at the bottom of the board. To build a wonder stage, a player must pay the resource cost listed on the stage, then put an age card underneath the wonder board in the appropriate place.

Types of Age Card

There are seven types of Age card, representing different types of structure, as determined by the color of their background.

  1. Red cards (military structures) contain ‘shield’ symbols; these are added together to give a player’s military strength, which is used in conflict resolution at the end of each age.
  2. Yellow cards (commercial structures) have several effects: they can grant coins, resources and/or victory points or decrease the cost of buying resources from neighbors.
  3. Green cards (scientific structures): each card has one of three symbols. Combinations of the symbols are worth victory points.
  4. Blue cards (civic structures [mistranslated as ‘civilian’ in the game rules]): all grant a fixed number of victory points.
  5. Brown cards (raw materials) provide one or two of the four raw material resources used in the game (wood, ore, brick and stone.)
  6. Grey cards (manufactured goods) provide one of the three manufactured goods used in the game (glass, papyrus and textiles.)
  7. Purple cards (guilds) generally grant victory points based on the structures a player and/or his neighbors have built.

Brown and grey cards only appear in the Age I and II decks; purple cards only appear in the Age III deck.

At the end of each age, military conflicts are resolved between neighbors. This is done by comparing the number of shield symbols on the players’ red cards, and awarding victory points accordingly. Once all three decks have been played, players tally their scores in all the different developed areas (civil, scientific, commercial, etc.) The player with the most victory points wins.

Rules of Base Game

In the base game, there are seven means of obtaining victory points:

  1. Military victories – 1 point for a victory (having the most shields) during the first age, 3 for the second age and 5 for the third age. A defeated player takes a -1 victory point counter regardless of the age.
  2. Gold coins – One point for every 3 coins a player possesses at the end of the game.
  3. Wonder stages – Many of the wonder stages grant a fixed number of victory points.
  4. Civic structures (blue cards) – Each structure grants a fixed number of victory points.
  5. Commercial Structures (yellow cards) – Age III commercial structures grant victory points based on certain structures a player has built.
  6. Guilds (purple cards) – The guilds provide several means of gaining victory points, most of which are based on the types of structure a player and/or his neighbors have built.

Scientific structures (green cards) – Each green card has a symbol on it – tablet, compass or gear. One card of a type grants one victory point, but two cards grant four; the number of points granted is equal to the number of symbols possessed squared. Additionally, each set of tablet, compass and gear possessed is worth 7 points.

Click Here to get the 7 Wonders game

It has been described as “Yahtzee meets Godzilla.” “King of Tokyo” is a dice game in which players are monsters trying to take over Tokyo. The object is to out-last one’s opponents. This is a fun family game with cards that are artistically designed and also contain cliches from classic horror movies. Players aged seven and up will enjoy accumulating points and attacking their opponents.

King of Tokyo Game Review

FEATURES OF KING OF TOKYO:

  • ships from and sold by Amazon.com
  • gift-wrap is available
  • for 2-6 players
  • playing time: 30-45 minutes (more if there are 6 players)
  • designed by Richard Garfield, who also did “Magic the Gathering”
  • appropriate for children aged 7 and up: college students; parents; anybody else

PROS AND CONS:

One of the best features of this game is that it is not complicated; anyone can easily learn the rules. Parents can play with their children. It is similar to Betrayal , where players battle for dominance. The “monster” theme is fun, and there is a lot of player-to-player interaction.

The game is played like a variation of Yahtzee: players roll several dice, and decide which ones to keep. The dice kept determine whether the player will focus on attacking other monsters, healing, resources (buying cards that modify the game), or gaining victory points. “Energy” points allow players to upgrade their cards to give their monsters an advantage over their opponents. Only one monster can be in Tokyo at a time (unless there are five or six players, in which case there is a second area of Tokyo to rule). When a monster in Tokyo is attacked, he can choose to leave or stay. If he leaves, the attacker then takes his place.

Victory points can be gained in three ways: (1) rolling three of a kind on the dice, (2) taking over or staying in Tokyo, and (3) buying cards that add victory points. The game contains many different types of “power” cards, which can be wicked and wonderful as they add to the monsters’ abilities. Strategies include knocking people out of the game, stacking up points, building up a character’s strength, or a combination of these. Players win by obtaining more points than their opponents, or by being the “last monster standing” – that is, reducing the other monsters’ lives to zero. Because of the variety of ability cards, the game is fresh each time.

Some downsides might be the following: although the monsters look different, their abilities are essentially the same. Some cards confer special abilities, but any monster can buy them. Some of the cards can be interpreted in more than one way, causing some confusion. Players who are eliminated early may become bored as they sit around waiting for the game to end. The game also tends to get old quickly, unless expansion packs are purchased. The outcome of each game depends heavily on chance and not so much on strategy, making it fun for children, but adults may tire of it after several times playing it.

king of tokyo game

WHO WILL LIKE “KING OF TOKYO”?

Any gamer who is fond of “knock ’em, sock ’em” brawls will love this game. There is risk involved in deciding to occupy Tokyo, where a player may earn points but cannot heal, and may be attacked by other characters. It is a game of competition, with horror themes sure to appeal to young and old.

Click Here to get the King of Tokyo game

munchkin board game review

The box containing the Munchkin Deluxe Board Game has a picture of a cartoon character with a Viking-like horned hat. He carries a chainsaw. On the box is the caption: “Kill the Monsters, Steal the Treasure, Stab Your Buddy.” This pretty well sums up the game, which the whole family can play in a friendly but cutthroat fashion.


Munchkin Deluxe

FEATURES OF MUNCHKIN DELUXE:

  • sold by and ships from Amazon.com
  • gift-wrap available
  • $20.00
  • contains 168 cards, 6 player cards, game board, rules, and dice
  • for 3-6 players
  • ages 9 and up
  • stand alone game

PROS AND CONS:

This game is similar to Munchkin 1 (the original), except there are more pieces, and a board which makes it easier for players to keep track of which level they’re on. The object is to get to level ten. All players begin at level one.

Players gain levels by defeating monsters and by obtaining certain cards. On each turn, a player will “kick open a door” which reveals a monster to fight, or a card to keep. If the monster is defeated, the player moves up a level and gets some treasure cards, which may be weapons, armor, spells, and more. There is strategy and social interaction, as players form alliances to help each other, or to foil someone else’s plans. A player may ask for help to vanquish a monster; other players may choose to help, or not. The players may be bribed with some treasure. This makes for some interesting twists: one player, off his guard, may think he is about to win; then some others gang up on him and he ends up thwarted. It’s a situation in which children may be encouraged to steal and cheat their parents– all in fun, of course.

The cards are printed with puns and jokes. The humor is PG-13; for example, one card depicts a troll reading porn. Participants will be kept laughing at the amusing and quirky witticisms.

The difficulty level here is easy-to-middle. If players have never played a Dungeons and Dragons-type game before, it may take hours to learn all the rules. There is a 6-page rulebook with which players must be familiar in order to play successfully. After a few rounds, participants will catch on. Some people may find the instructions time-consuming and frustrating. “Newbie” gamesters, especially, may find all the cards overwhelming. Buyers who need help learning the game can go to YouTube and watch Will Wheaton’s review, found by searching “Tabletop games, Munchkin.” The video is somewhat lengthy, but Wheaton explains the basics of the gameplay in the first five minutes, which makes it less daunting.

The game time varies depending on how many players there are, and how competitive they are. Backstabbing, discussing tactics, and “You’re going down!” attitudes can add to playing time. Larger groups of 5 or more may require more time, especially if expansion sets are added. This game can be played in 40 minutes, or take two hours.

WHO WILL LIKE MUNCHKIN DELUXE?

Anyone who enjoys fast-paced, easy-to-play games involving strategy will like Munchkin Deluxe. It’s laugh-inspiring to decide whom to help and whom to “do in.” It is a furious fight to see who will beat the monsters and win the game.

Click Here to get the Munchkin Deluxe board game

Takenoko

If you’re looking for a great family game, not too complex, light on strategy, but fun for all,  Takenoko might be a good choice. Instead of being highly competitive and cutthroat, players in this one focus on caring for a giant panda and feeding it. The farmer has to grow different types of bamboo, irrigate the land, then move the panda around to feed on the plants.

Takenoko Board Game

FEATURES OF TAKENOKO BOARD GAME:

  • Cute panda and trees artwork
  • sold by and shipped from Amazon.com
  • gift-wrap available
  • $36.78
  • for 2-4 players
  • 45 minutes of playing time
  • players will cultivate land plots, irrigate them, and grow a species of green, yellow, or pink bamboo
  • ages 6 and up
  • by the makers of “Seven Wonders”

PROS AND CONS:

Asmodee has created a beautiful-looking game. The artwork is stunning; the bamboo pieces are sturdy and interlock; the land tiles are thick cardboard; the farmer and panda figurines are cute. Even the instructions are in colorful comic book form. The whole thing gives the impression of quality and fun-filled family entertainment.

The game is quick to teach, and plays relatively quickly. There is very little reading involved, which makes it nice for small children. The players build a garden and move a farmer and panda around it, while trying to achieve goals set by the cards drawn. The players’ actions will influence those of their opponents, because some goals may compete with others, adding to the gameplay choices. When one player has achieved a set number of goals, the other participants get one final turn. Victory points (gained by meeting goals) are totaled up at the game’s end to determine the winner.

There are three types of goal cards: (1) panda goals: claiming a certain color of bamboo by having the panda eat it; (2) plot goals: redeemed when certain parts of the farm are irrigated; (3) garden goals: to grow colored bamboo to a specific height. On a person’s turn, the player chooses from the following actions: drawing garden plots, moving the panda to eat bamboo, moving the gardener, laying irrigation pipe, or drawing a goal card. Although the game involves a fair amount of luck, choices do influence the game’s outcome. There are also weather tiles, which for simplicity’s sake, need not be used if small children are playing. It is a good “gateway” game to introduce non-gamers into the field.

One downside may be the lack of balance. The panda cards are too easy to achieve compared to the other cards, so players may choose those and avoid the more difficult ones. This can be remedied, however, by other players using tokens in a timely way to prevent certain tiles from having their bamboo eaten. The lack of competition and suspense may be boring for some people. Veteran gamers won’t be challenged.

WHO WILL LIKE TAKENOKO BOARD GAME?

Families who like games that aren’t too cutthroat will enjoy Takenoko. It doesn’t feel like you’re playing against each other; rather, you are sharing the garden in your desire to please the Emperor. It is nonviolent, easy, and pleasing to look at.

Click Here to get the Takenoko Board Game