Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bucket Brigade

Subject: General
Ages: 7 and up
# of players: 3 to 5
Time to play: 30 minutes
Mechanics/Game Type: card game with board

Ratings (1 to 5)

Educational Value: 2
Gaming value: 5
Aesthetic value: 4
Price value: 4
Ease of play: 5
Younger adaptability: 1 (card holding)

My comments: This is a quick, fun, and interesting game to play. The game board pictures a burning building with a ladder against it, and 4 wooden firefighter meeples. Each rung of the ladder has a point value, starting at -1 for the first several rungs up to 3 points at the top. The cards picture firefighters in each of the 4 colors walking (move 1 rung) or running (move 2 rungs) as well as wild cards than can move any color either 1 or 2 rungs.

When a firefighter gets to the top of the ladder the game is scored based on all the cards left in your hand. The player that brings the firefighter to the top gets 6 points. Wild cards are worthless, and the other cards are scored based on where that color firefighter is on the ladder.

What is so fascinating about this game is the incredible advantage to using either one of opposing plays. You want the color that you have the most of to get to the top yet you don't want to use up those color cards to get that piece there. You want the versatility of the wild cards but you don't want to have any at the end of the game. The higher up your preferred color gets, the less likely other players will move that color. "Move 1" cards are worth little in scoring alone, but in pairs they are very valuable. You'll see what I mean when you play.

All the cards are dealt out to play, making this game difficult for little hands. Also, your child has to understand that players don't pick just one color and race that one to the top like a typical game might be played.

The board and meeples are well-made, and it is all packaged in a handy 6.5" x 9" inch box with a compartmentalized plastic insert that holds the parts in place. At well under $20 this is a nice game to have. link to this game: (the older Honeybears version)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Number Chase

Subject: Math
Category: Arithmetic
Ages: 6 and up
# of players: 2 -5
Time to play: 15 minutes
Mechanics/Game Type: Deduction/cards

Ratings (1 to 5)

Educational Value:
Gaming value: 4
Aesthetic value: 4
Price value: 4
Ease of play: 5
Younger adaptability: 3

My comments:

Number Chase is basically 20 Questions in Numberland. It is played with a nice quality set of cards and a pencil and paper which you supply. One person chooses a number between one and fifty while the other players try to guess what he chose by asking yes or no questions. What makes this fabulous is that the players do not choose their own questions but have to ask the questions that come up on the cards, which is where the educational value really comes in. Number Chase is a fun game for kids in the early grades who are learning math terms and symbols, number patterns, counting to 50 (you can easily tie in some mental computation) greater than/less than and number ranges as well as the art of narrowing things down in order to make an educated guess.

I bought this game for my son's 6th birthday and the age category is right on. I was able to include my 4yo (and she did better than I expected) but she really didn't understand some of the math concepts. So a younger player who doesn't understand ideas like odd and even numbers would need a partner to help them along with answering the questions. Although this game is ideal for the 6 - 9 crowd, it is fun enough for the 12yo to play along with little siblings without getting bored. link to this game: