Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gaming With Grandma - 99

Saturday morning at our house means family time playing games together, mostly board games and card games with myself, my mother (Grandma) and seven year old daughter Maddie. This morning we decided to try out some games my wife had picked up at a garage sale last weekend.

Our first game of the morning was Wanted! which is a quality card game from Ravensburger. In this game the deck is dealt equally face down to all players with any remaining cards put aside. The winner is the first player to get rid of all their cards. The cards depict the four main characters; a police officer, a judge, a bank teller and a burglar. Each character has a main specific card where they are shown doing their profession. For example, the police officer is holding up a badge, the judge is shown in court with a gavel in his hand, the bank teller is in the bank and the burglar is coming out of a window with a bag of jewellery. These are called 'action cards'. Now the catch is that there are also cards showing these four main characters doing the other characters' professions. For example, there will be cards with the police officer burglarising a residence, or the burglar sitting in the bank, or the bank teller holding up a police badge.


On your turn you turn over the top card of your deck and quickly play it to the middle of the table. If it is not an action card the next player will quickly turn over their top card and play it on top of the card played by the previous player. This will continue, the tension slowly rising, until an 'action card' is played. That's when the fun really starts. If it is a police officer action card then all players must grab one of the police badge cards (there is always one less than the total amount of players). If it is a judge action card all players must bang their fists on the table and shout "Guilty!". If it is a bank teller card all players must slap their hand onto the action card (or over other faster players' hands already on the action card). If the action card is a burglar card then all players must put their hands up in the air. The slowest player to perform any of these actions takes the cards on the table and adds them face down to the bottom of their deck. If a player makes an incorrect action then they also share the cards with the slowest player.

All in all this is a simple, fast and fun game which adults can easily play with children. I suspect it would also be a fun little filler for an adult game group. We played two games with the results being myself 1st, Maddie 2nd and Grandma 3rd in both games. This one is a keeper.

Our second game of the morning was Haunted Castle, another game from Ravensburger. This is a fun and quick memory/observation game with lovely artwork. Essentially it's flip a card showing seven characters and be the first to spot the missing eighth character. First player to correctly guess keeps the card. Final winner is the player with the most cards when the deck is exhausted. We really enjoyed this one as well and ended up playing two games. Final scores of the first game was me 14, Maddie 10 and Grandma 9. The final scores of the second game were me 20, Grandma 8 and Maddie 5. We all agreed this one was also a keeper.

Haunted Castle

Our final game of the morning was Right Turn, Left Turn which was published by Playroom Entertainment. This game was designed by Reinhard Staupe who also designed Sherlock (AKA Der Plumpsack Geht Um which we all enjoy) and it is easy to see the resemblance between both games. Whereas Sherlock is a memory game, Right Turn, Left Turn is more of a puzzle.

Right Turn, Left Turn

When a card of the central face down deck is turned over, all players must then follow the directions on that card and mentally calculate the final destination card. The direction card will state which traffic officer card you will start at by showing a symbol. You start directions at the traffic officer card with the matching symbol. Then you must move so many right and left spaces following the perspective of the starting traffic officer. You'll notice that some of the traffic officers have their backs turned and some are facing the front. The left/right perspective of each of these will of course be different. The first player to correctly identify the final destination card gets to keep it. If you guess incorrectly then you must give back a previously claimed card. The first player to collect 6 cards is the winner.

We only played the one game. Final score was me 6, Maddie 1 and Grandma 0. There are ways you could handicap older players by having them close their eyes and only open after the other younger players have had a chance to follow the instructions for say, a count of 5. Even so, the game felt like more of a chore than a fun time. There was little player interaction and we all thought it just wasn't that much fun. We agreed that this was not a keeper.

Overall I hadn't had high hopes for any of these kids games. I was pleasantly surprised by both Wanted! and Haunted Castle and I can see these games being played a lot more, especially when Georgia (who is currently three and a half years old) gets a bit older.

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