Thursday, May 6, 2010

Parts of Speech Challenge

Subject: Language Arts
Category: Grammar
Ages: 10 to 14
# of players: 2 to 4
Time to play: 30 to 45 minutes
Mechanics/Game Type: Roll and move

Ratings (1 to 5)

Educational Value: 5
Gaming value: 1
Aesthetic value: 3
Price value: 1
Ease of play: 5
Younger adaptability: 1

My comments: Like a lot of educational games on the market, this is a poor excuse for a board game designed to practice parts of speech.  You roll the die, move along the perpetual board (there's no end space) and do what it says on the board.  The four corner spaces have printed on them the definition of a part of speech in a question form and you choose the correct answer.  Why bother with the question?  Most of the spaces have you pick a card and guess the part of speech of the underlined word in one of three sentences (the board tells you which sentence.)  When you get a correct answer you place a chip on that part of speech in the center of the board and when you get 4 chips in a row you earn points.  The instructions even have a variation to play without the board!  The only thing you are getting here of any value is a deck of cards with the sentences and the answer key on the game instructions.  The board is nice enough, though the cards are small while the pawns and chips are cheap stock models.  It is certainly not worth the $20+ price tag. link to this game:

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Subject: Math
Category: Pattern recognition
Ages: 6 and up
# of players: 2 to 4
Time to play: 30 minutes
Mechanics/Game Type: Cards, dice, pattern building

Ratings (1 to 5)

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

My comments: This is a fun game to play with your young kids that can handle a hand of 3 cards.  The game comes with a deck of cards and 25 dice.  The cards have ice cream cones on them with a variety of numbers and flavors (colors) of scoops on them, plus 3 special play cards.  The dice include one black "flavor of the week" die plus 24 white dice with cones and various colors of ice cream scoops on them.  Each player starts with 3 cards and 6 dice.  The object of the game is to get 5 matches, or "scoops."  On your turn, you roll one of your dice and choose whether or not you want to roll the flavor-of-the-week die.  Everyone then tries to match an ice cream cone on your card to the combination of colors on the dice and saying, "Scoop!"  Do that 5 times and you win.  The game starts slowly since only one player die and the flavor-of-the-week die are rolled, but each round a die is added and the scoops get easier to make.

I really like the compact packaging of this game--great for travel and storage.  The cards are a nice size, easy to read, and colorful.  Lots of dice always appeals to kids, too.  You keep track of your scoops using a handy card and scoop markers rather than keeping track of cards.  The only reading you need for the game are the 3 special play cards, but they are distinct enough that your child will be able to recognize them once they learn what they do.  There's not a lot of thought or strategy, just a light, fun game of chance.  The list price is high at $15 but you can pick it up for less than $10 at some outlets--well worth it at that price. link to this game: