Monday, September 26, 2016

Pete the Cat Groovy Button Game (review)

Still looking for some board game ideas? Check out the Pete the Cat Groovy Buttons Game by Briarpatch (University Games). The game is fairly quick, so if you need a game that takes little time, this is a good choice. Likewise, if your kids prefer to play more than one game in a row, this is a great option to not take up too much time!


Setting the game up is super easy, and it also includes my new favourite feature: an in-board spinner! (Check out my Kids onStage review to read why!) The down side is that you do risk the child(ren) leaning on the board to reach the spinner when they first start playing, and that will knock your pieces over. Once they get used to not pushing or leaning on the board with all their weight, it works quite well!


The buttons all go in a pile to the side of the board, and each player gets a button jar. All the pieces are cardboard (spinner arrow and stand for your game piece aside) and can easily be stored in a single sandwich bag.


To play, you select your game (Pete the Cat character) piece and place it in any of the green circles on the board corners. Movement is clockwise around the board (the number of spaces that your spinner lands on), and youngest player goes first. If you land on a green button, you take the number of buttons shown on that spot from the button pile and put them on your button jar. If you land on a red button, you place that number of buttons from your jar onto Pete the Cat in the center of the board. If you land on a blue space, you can switch your button jar with any other player’s button jar (getting all their buttons). The goal is to have the most buttons when the button pile is gone.


You have the option of going through the center part of the board (towards Pete the Cat) from either direction. If you land directly on Pete the Cat, you get all the buttons that are on him (from people landing on red spaces). This encourages planning ahead since they need to decide if it will be worth going that way due to all the red buttons and how many buttons are sitting on Pete the Cat.


When the button pile is gone, any buttons sitting on Pete the Cat are divided evenly amongst the players. When our first game ended, however, Bobble had only a handful of the 40 buttons, so we just gave all of them to him (he still had the least number of buttons). The person with the most buttons wins!


This game encourages counting skills the most, but it also encourages colour recognition (and having to remember what those colours mean in the game). It also encourages basic strategizing in giving the option of moving towards the center of the board or not.

 

My kids loved this game right off the bat because: Pete the Cat. The game play, as I mentioned, was pretty decently paced, so it wouldn’t be frustrating if the kids want to play more than once.Since it’s just counting, it’s not really boring for the older people playing like some children’s games are. If you’re looking for a fun, decent-paced game for a younger child, Pete the Cat Groovy Buttons Game is a good option!


You can find the Pete the Cat Groovy Buttons Game for around $20. Don't forget to check out AreYouGame.com to find games for all occasions and all ages!


Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff was sent this product for review in exchange for my honest opinion. This did not influence my opinion of the product in any way. All opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Kids on Stage (game review)

I previously mentioned the Super Why ABC Game, by Briarpatch (University Games), and how educational and fun it is. I am pleased to be able to review some more of their games, as they have offered me some for review! First up: Kids on Stage

I'd like to state, in advance, that my camera could not focus on the card and the action at the same time, so I'm sorry for slightly out-of-focus cards... but they are clear enough to see what the person should be doing!


I was excited to try Kids on Stage before I even opened it because the box said there was no reading required. This meant I had a much better chance to play them successfully with the kids since Bobble can sight read a few things, but Squiggle is still working on her alphabet. I also liked that it was for 2 – 6 players. It’s nice for when the kids have some friends over, or for larger families.


The setup is really easy, and you can start playing pretty much immediately after you put your piece on the board and set up the spinner. The spinner, by the way, is attached to the board. I cannot tell you how nice this is. Aside from not having to worry about it getting left out of the box and then stepped on (and broken), or a kid being angry and throwing it (or hoarding it), it’s always there when you want to play. I love the spinner being part of the board!


As far as actual game play, the rules are very easy to understand. You spin, you move that number, and you draw a card with the colour that matches the space you are on. Red cards are action cards, green cards are object cards, and blue cards are animal cards. Some of the cards can be challenging for things the children haven’t been exposed to. One example would be sewing. My kids weren’t sure what to do for that one. Others were difficult for them to not give away because they know many of the American Sign Language (ASL) signs for animals, objects, or actions on the cards.


You guess until you get it right. If they are having trouble guessing what you are acting out, you can make noises to help give it away. Fake snoring made the red “sleeping” card a bit too obvious, though! There is no counting who got however many cards right, you just play until you all get to the end. Quite simple, and takes away the frustration of not winning for the kids.


I honestly wasn’t sure how well Squiggle, having just turned three, would grasp the concept of acting something out without saying what it was. I was pleasantly surprised that she understood quickly, I just reminded her at every turn to “be/do this without saying it”. The only time this didn’t work was when she was sleepy. Then she just threw herself against the couch, giggling, and saying what she should act out. So, sleepy times aside, it worked really well.


Bobble, who is now 5 ½, really loved it. I was actually surprised at how much better Squiggle was at acting the things out, and how quickly she guessed things correctly compared to Bobble. However, Bobble has always been a bit slower on pretend play. I think this will be really good to encourage him to use his imagination, and that’s a great thing.

 

I liked that the spinner went all the way up to 8, as that could make the game go really quickly (which is sometimes a welcome relief, am I right?!). The one thing I didn’t like was that, should the game be a moderately-paced game, you might go through all the cards for a certain colour and then they would be too easy because the kids remember what did and didn’t work for acting that one out. That also makes it less fun to play twice in a row.


I’d love to see more cards available for this game, or even blank cards that were added with it so you can create your own. I think 10 more cards of each colour could really make a big difference.
I highly recommend this game for anyone looking for a present, or simply for a fun new addition to their game shelf. It encourages creative thinking, requires action, doesn’t require reading (though the word/words are on the card), helps with counting to 8, and colour recognition. 

You can purchase Kids on Stage for around $20, so head on over to Amazon.com or AreYouGame.com to check out this game (and many others)!



Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff was given the game in exchange for an honest review. This did not sway my opinion of the product at all. All opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sorry about that!

Sorry for the disappearance, everyone! Many of you know I'm in grad school, and now I'm in the last couple of months. Basically, I'm really, really busy working on my master's thesis.

Never fear, though! While I don't have a tremendous amount of stuff lined up to be posted twice weekly like I had been (until my accidental disappearance), I do have a handful of game reviews coming in the near future.

If you're looking for gift ideas, you'll want to be sure to keep an eye out in the next few weeks!