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Jenna Duetzmann

Publisher: Gamewright
Genre: Trivia Party Game/Card
Players: 2 or more
Ages: 10 & Up
Time: 15 minutes
MSRP: $9.99

Over/Under – The Game of Guesstimates consists of a sturdy box holding 200 cards with 600 random trivia questions, and a rules pamphlet. Unlike most trivia games, this one is not about your ability to recall inconsequential facts. As the title suggests, it is about guessing! While playing the game a player may learn some random trivia, but the actual focus of the game is on teaching estimation.

Game play is extremely simple. The object is to collect the most cards by the time the stack is depleted. Play starts by taking a pile of 20-40 cards to start the game (choose shorter or longer stacks to adjust the length of the game). The person who last walked under a bridge becomes the first question master. The question master picks one of 3 questions on the first card and reads it aloud to the other players. The players confer and choose an answer. The question master then decides if the group’s answer is over(higher), under(lower), or spot on(exactly

correct) of the actual answer on the back of the card. If the question master is successful in their choice, they keep the card. Play passes to the left and continues until the stack of cards is depleted.

This game is a decent family game that can be played with a both a small group and a large group. It’s small and portable with no extraneous pieces that can be easily lost, which makes it a great waiting game to bring to restaurants and other appointments. The recommended age of 10 and up is fairly accurate because the game requires fluent reading skills and basic fact knowledge. We found that younger players gave some really absurd answers to the questions which added an element of silliness and humor to the game. The game has a unique social aspect that makes is more cooperative than a traditional trivia game, and really helps to give it the party game feel.

Overall this is a decent party game, but their are better party games to add to your game closet that may be more exciting than this one.

Disclosure: A review copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

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Created by: StartUp Games, LLC
Players: 2-4
Age Range: 9 & Up

The object of the StartUp game is to complete your Corporate Headquarters. The Corporate Headquarters is built in 5 levels, with each level paid for with cash. Players make money by succeeding at business, by selling ownership in their Company, and through other game activities. The first player to complete the Corporate Headquarters wins the game.

This Monopoly-like board game was created by a New Jersey banker and his family while they were stranded during Hurricane Sandy. They designed the game to teach basic financial and business concepts. It also encourages young players to use their addition and subtraction skills. StartUp reinforces basic Mathematics concepts such as use of a table to look up data, basic probability, and strategic thinking.

This is a high quality educational tool when it comes to the basic design. We particularly enjoyed the extra sturdy peg boards. Our board game savvy players wished the typical Sorry!-style pawns were wooden meeples. All of our play testers liked the added fun of the colorful headquarter building blocks. The 2 biggest complaints from players of all ages were the very busy game board and the length of play time. But, there are rules for short gameplay versions within the instruction booklet which will solve at least one of these issues. Players will need the instruction booklet readily available as they play through. They’ll need to reference it often until they learn what each space does.

During gameplay we found that quite a bit of terminology and business basics need to be explained before starting to younger players and non business savvy individuals. Dollar amounts are large and can be tough for some kids to read if they have never been exposed to them. The various cards required pauses for explanation or an extensive amount of reading comprehension for younger players. Calculations, reading and definitions of business terminology sometimes got in the way of actual play strategy for younger players. However, these issues presented no difficulty for our 12 year old or older players.

There are also a significant number of manipulatives in this game, which can be distracting, but may also help to keep a kinesthetic learner engaged. Despite these challenges, everyone seemed to enjoy the game.

Almost anyone playing the game will be drawn to make comparisons to Monopoly. These comparisons are sound because of the high level theme (making money), but they fall apart pretty quickly. These are very different experiences. StartUp’s biggest strength is that each players turn will result in a different activity, some of which involve multiple players. For example:

  • Networking Events are a great bluffing exercise and give an opportunity for role playing.
  • Business Opportunities give players the chance to choose their level of investment based on their business’s level of expertise.
  • Playing the Market gives players the chance to choose between aggressive or conservative investment strategies.

Our favorite element of StartUp is that on two spots on the game path the player is forced to stop, choose one of two paths and reroll the dice. These alternate paths are each very different and a savvy player will consider their needs and the risks they might have to take on each path carefully. As I said in my StartUp unboxing video, games that require players to make strategic choices are a good thing.

Overall, it might not be the most “fun” game in your family game closet, but it’s certainly a great learning tool. We would highly recommend this to any Educator or Home School Family. We can easily picture this as an awesome addition to many lesson plans because of the realism and relevancy of the game.

The $39.95 price point makes it hard to justify adding it to a family board game collection, but we think this game is a MUST HAVE for schools or children’s libraries. It is a great gift idea for a teacher, especially if they are looking to expand their lesson plans.

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Gamewright Games

Ages 6 and Up 2-6

Players 20 minutes

Card Game

Flip, stack, slap! Slamwich is a fast-paced, silly, and energetic card flipping game reminiscent of Slapjack, War, Uno, etc. The game comes with 55 playing cards that are die cut to resemble bread and illustrated with various sandwich fillings and toppings. Some of the special cards have artistic illustrations of people.

We love Gamewright games at EFG and were very excited to find this on sale at a local big box retailer. It looked like a great, somewhat goofy game that would appeal to my 5 year old son. Slamwich has an MSRP of $9.99, but if you look on Amazon, you can find it for less. Gameplay starts by dealing out the deck as evenly as possible.

Taking turns, each player takes the top card of their deck and flips it onto a center pile. If a set of criteria is met, players race to slap the pile. The combinations are easy to understand. A Double Decker-If the flipped card is identical to the card directly underneath. A Slamwich– If two identical cards have exactly one card in between them (like a sandwich). Special cards like a Thief or a Muncher add unique criteria and help to make winning more random. If a player runs out of cards, they are out of the game. Whoever collects all of the cards wins.

We’ve played through the game many times with children of various ages. My 8 year old says it’s silly and fun and very easy. My five year old says it’s gross and fast and he usually ends up in fits of giggles because of the unique food combinations. My husband doesn’t like that the kids are faster than he is. But, adults can play all out and not be guaranteed to win (which is always a great teaching by example opportunity).

While not as complicated or thought provoking as some of Gamewright’s other games, it is still entirely playable. We liked some of their other choices for early gamers better than this one, but it’s a good game to have on hand for younger children that requires no reading or number recognition.

Is this game worth running out to buy immediately? Perhaps not. But, it’s a great stocking stuffer or add-on gift for your young gamer. Overall, this is a simple and fun way to reinforce early literacy skills such as pattern recognition and sequencing. While kids are flipping and stacking cards, they’re actually learning how to recognize a series, make combinations, and anticipate what might happen next.

Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

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Gamewright Ages 8+ 2-4 players 15 minutes Strategy Game COMPETITIVE

Choosing! Pulling! Sliding! These are all fun words to describe one of Gamewright‘s newest strategy games. Pyramix is a three-sided, clever, and easy to learn strategy game with a unique Egyptian look and feel. The pyramid shaped base and hieroglyphs on the cubes are a nice touch. We recently received this game to review from Gamewright and when we first opened the box, the game set up looked intimidating. There are a LOT of small wooden cubes and a complex looking base all organized into a cute pyramid shape inside of the box. But, don’t be fooled! It is far simpler to set up and play than it looks. The base itself keeps all of the cubes under control! We appreciated that convenience and thoughtfulness in design right off the bat.

The game comes with 56 colorful cubes, a base tray, and a cleverly folded rulebook. While the triangular folded shape of the rulebook fits nicely with the theme, it will make you slightly crazy if you’d like to keep it folded exactly as it was when you received it.

Game play starts with the player with the most triangular nose. This might start a fight, so be careful about those not so nice nose comments. (In our household, I will always go first.) Each player removes one cube per turn (following certain rules) from the base until all that remains is a single layer on the base. The cubes slide down and fill in the openings all on their own. At the end, you use the scoring criteria to tally points. Whoever scores the highest number of points wins. (As an aside, our eight year old son picked up on a cute little trick the first time we played. The ankh has one ‘leg’ and counts for one point. The crane has two ‘legs’ and counts for two points. The eye has three ‘legs’ and counts as three points. The cobra has no ‘legs’ so it isn’t worth anything. We think this is a great way to keep track as you go along.) The cubes on the base layer are divided based on who controls the most of each color ankh.

This game has some unique tensions when playing that are fun and much less heart pounding than Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert. A lot of the tension comes from choices made along the way. Do you play aggressively to rack up points in the early game, or do you play a slow and steady game that might earn lots of bonus points at the end?

We’ve played through the game with a few different groups since we received it. One group was a mix of adults and children, one group was all adults, and one group was all children with an adult supervisor. Overall, it was a much more challenging game with adults than with children. It was easy for the children to get caught up in collecting ankhs and missing out on what was on the base of the pyramid. Adults were much more competitive, which meant that overall points at the end of the game were VERY close. One disappointment is that it is very easy to take an early lead in the game. Once that happens, and other players see a clear winner, the game quickly goes downhill.

In the end, we really enjoyed the way this game teaches strategic thinking, visual discrimination, and pattern recognition in a way that is appealing to tactile and visual learners by including pieces to touch and pull and bright, colorful graphics. Our youngest players also enjoyed the clacking sounds that the cubes made when sliding into the base.

At a MSRP of $21.99 this Mensa Select award winning game is another solid strategy game to add to your collection.

Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

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Gamewright
Ages 10 and Up
2-5 Players
Playtime: Approximately 45 minutes
COOPERATIVE

“Gear up for a thrilling adventure to recover a legendary flying machine buried deep in the ruins of an ancient desert city. You’ll need to coordinate with your teammates and use every available resource if you hope to survive the scorching heat and relentless sandstorm. Find the flying machine and escape before you all become permanent artifacts of the Forbidden Desert! ~ Gamewright”

 

Forbidden Desert is a cooperative game for two to five players which pits a team of adventurers against a sandstorm in a burning hot desert. The sandstorm threatens to block players from successfully locating the parts to a flying machine that they need to escape the all of the sun and sand.

It sounds a lot like another game we reviewed, right? Forbidden Island, perhaps? Well, it is similar in a lot of ways, but it is MUCH more complex.

Much like Forbidden Island, the game “board” is actually a series of 24 tiles shuffled and laid out to form a 5×5 grid with a hole in the center. That hole represents the eye of the sandstorm. Orientation of the tiles to form the grid is VERY important. Read the rules. Seriously. If it is set up incorrectly, it will really confuse gameplay. Also, unlike Forbidden Island, where the tiles just look pretty, these tiles actually do something! They’re pretty, too. But actually interacting with the tiles beyond just moving them around or flipping them over adds to the sense of adventure and makes you really feel the archaeology/Indiana Jones aspect.

The game also includes 31 storm cards, 12 equipment cards, 6 adventurer cards (these determine a player’s role in the game), 48 sand markers, 6 pawns, 6 meter clips, 4 flying machine parts (propeller, engine, solar crystal, navigation deck), 1 flying machine model, 1 sandstorm meter, and 1 sandstorm meter stand, and a rules booklet.

Much like Forbidden Island (or any cooperative game), gameplay consists of a sequence of turns. First, the adventurers take their turn. Then the environment takes its turn. On their turn, each adventurer has a series of 4 actions that they can complete. Adventurers can Move, Excavate, Remove Sand or Pick Up a Part. If an adventurer is on the same tile as another player, they can Share Water or Pass Equipment. After each adventurer completes their actions, the environment gets a turn. The adventurer draws storm cards (which increase as the game goes on) that direct the storm to move one to three spaces in a given direction. The tiles move to fill in the hole where the storm was, depositing sand and possibly cutting you off from water or your team members. The complexity in this game is more significant than Forbidden Island, because in addition to the sand cutting you off, you also have to deal with the burning sun from the storm card deck. Add in the need to find wells, gear, location clues, tunnels, and mirages and you end up with a myriad of decisions to make each turn that can cause your group to win or lose the game.

Players WIN when all adventurers get to the Launch Pad! Once you have the four necessary parts, all players must find their way to the Launch Pad tile where everyone can insert the parts into the flying machine, start the engine, and escape for the win. Remember: The Launch Pad tile MUST be unblocked in order to enter it and/or take off for the win.

Players automatically LOSE if ANY player reaches the skull and crossbones symbol on their canteen. Players also LOSE if they get Buried (If you need to add a sand marker to a tile but there aren’t any left in the supply). Players LOSE if they get Swept Away (the sand storm meter reaches the skull and crossbones symbol).

Is the game any fun? Of course it is! The atmosphere is cool. Who hasn’t dreamed of exploring and finding buried treasure? The mechanics are complex, but after a play-through, simple to learn. And, most importantly, the play is challenging and requires thoughtfulness, cooperation and decision making. Being a co-op game that really relies on teamwork, this can be a great break from other more cutthroat games to get the family working together.

Gamewright recommends ages 10+ for the game, and we think that’s spot on for independent play. We played through with 1 adult, a 9 year old and two 8 year olds and it felt like barely controlled chaos. We also played through with a group of very overtired adults and kept confusing the direction of the storm movement because of player orientation around the table. It is probable that younger players certainly can grasp and enjoy the game when playing with the help of adults, but they probably wouldn’t be able to “lead” the team to success as their are too many variables to keep track of.

At a price of $24.99, Forbidden Desert is a great deal and a fantastic second step in the co-op board game genre. Just like Forbidden Island, the randomness of the tile layout as the board leads to huge variety and replay value, as does the multiple combinations of adventurer play styles (especially in combination). The difficulty can be scaled to all abilities based on the sandstorm level set at the beginning of the game, and even at the easy setting can provide a decent challenge for some of the most experienced gamers. This is another win from Gamewright!

Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

Love cooperative games?  Check out our other reviews here!

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Mayfair Games

Ages 6 and Up

2-4 Players

Playtime: Approximately 30 minutes

Ahoy, matey! Catan: Junior is a pirate themed game designed to introduce young players to a modified version of the grown up game called The Settlers of Catan.

The game comes with a very well designed rules booklet, a stationary map on a board, cardboard ‘resource’ cards, plastic pirate lairs, plastic pirate ships, a very pretty die, a plastic ‘Ghost Captain’, and cardboard ‘Coco tiles’. It also contains cardboard ‘building cost’ tiles that will serve as cheat sheets during gameplay.

The cardboard pieces are very sturdy and will hold up well to use by little hands. The plastic pieces are fairly flimsy, and should be kept away from fidgety children who might like to bend and play with their game pieces.

The double sided map consists of series of islands where 2 to 4 players control pirate ships, build lairs, and avoid Spooky Island (where the Ghost Captain lives). Each island on the map generates a specific resource: wood, goats, molasses, swords, and gold.

Each player starts with two pirate lairs on different islands, one pirate ship, and a few resources. Players role the die on their turn to determine which islands produce resources (with a twist that enables players to move the Ghost Captain). Players can then use the resources they acquire to build additional ships, lairs, or get aid from Coco the Parrot. By building ships, they can expand their network. The more lairs they build, the more resources they can receive. The ultimate goal is to be the first player to control seven pirate lairs to win the game.

Gameplay is fairly simple. The game requires no reading, and only the barest concept of counting. It is the mechanics and strategy hidden within the game that make it a game for players 6 and up (or a 5 year old who is board game savvy). There are rules that can make the game more challenging for more advanced gamers.

We’ve played through the game many times with children of various ages. My 8 year old loves it, and likes to switch his strategy each time he plays. Sometimes he focuses on resource collection, sometimes on manipulating the marketplace, and sometimes he focuses on the Coco cards and Ghost Captain. We attempted a few adult supported playthroughs with our 5 year old and he got bored very quickly. The myriad of steps in each round frustrated him and he gave up. However, a friend’s 5 year old LOVED the game, but he is a very meticulous child. He enjoyed the resource collection and steps to build his network.

Some of the 6 and 7 year old children we played with did need adult prompting on each round, but a group of 8 yr old and up children played through successfully with no adult interaction at all. While the game is not quite as engaging to an adult as the original Settlers, it is still entirely playable and not boring.

Overall, this is a great introduction to the series and Euro style games in general. It has a high replay value and is a great game to play WITH your children (There are even some advanced rules to graduate to as they grow!). Catan: Junior is well worth the price. 

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Iello Games

Ages 8 and Up

2-6 Players

Play Time: 30 minutes

Attacking Aliens, Rampaging Lizards, Giant Robots, Mutant Bugs, and Ferocious Gorillas: this game has them all! King of Tokyo is a European style game that combines a board game, a dice game and a card game. You play as one of the aforementioned monsters whose main goals are to destroy Tokyo and battle other monsters in order to become the one and only King of Tokyo!

The game comes with a clear & colorful rulebook, a game board, 6 monsters each with their own control boards with spinning wheels to keep track of damage and victory points, 6 cardboard monster figures with plastic stands, 8 dice to roll each turn, 66 cards you can purchase to give your monster special abilities, 50 tiny plastic cube energy tokens, and 28 round cardboard card effect tokens.

All of the pieces are sturdy and well designed. The energy tokens are a choking hazard and very tiny and easily lost. But, we found that this problem can be solved by giving players a tiny bowl to store them in during gameplay.

Gameplay can be fairly complex. There are 4 steps involved in each turn, and the game requires basic reading and an understanding of simple strategy. We think the recommended age range is spot on.

At the beginning of the turn, each player rolls six dice. The dice show the following symbols: numbers 1, 2, or 3 (representing Victory Points that can be earned), a lightning bolt (representing Energy that can be earned), a heart (representing Healing), and a claw (representing Attack). The player with the most Attack dice goes first (the fiercest).

The player then starts the turn by rolling 6 dice. Over three successive rolls, the player can which dice to keep or discard in order to advance.

Each turn consists of 4 steps: rolling and re-rolling the dice, resolving the dice, buying cards and using their effects, and the end of turn decision.

The fiercest player will occupy Tokyo, and earn extra victory points, but that player can’t heal and must face all the other monsters alone! When you add in cards that can have a permanent or temporary effect, like growing a second head, body armor, nova death ray, etc., you get a VERY exciting game.

In order to win the game, one must either destroy Tokyo by accumulating 20 victory points, or be the only surviving monster once the fighting has ended.

This game fits so perfectly into our household of comic and cartoon obsessed boys, that it has eclipsed all other games that we own. My oldest son LOVES it, and often chooses this game when he has friends over. He tends to play for Attack and cool card abilities, while his more cautious friends play for Victory Points. My 5 year old was begging to try, and we gave it a few attempts, but he got bored very quickly. While he liked to roll the dice, the strategy and steps in each round frustrated him and he gave up playing, but stayed to watch.

 

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By: Jennifer Duetzmann

Publisher: Days of Wonder

Players: 2-5

Ages: 8+

Play Time: 30-60 minutes

Price: MSRP $49.99 (we found it on Amazon for $36)

Ticket To Ride contains 1 nicely designed heavy cardboard map of North American train routes, 225 multicolored train cars, 144 really tiny cards, 5 wooden score markers, and a rules booklet that is very simply organized. It takes up a lot of space, so you’ll need a big table to play on. Since pieces are tiny and easily lost, you’ll want to save the bags that the pieces come in and make sure you keep uncoordinated little hands out of the way when you’re putting things away.

During gameplay, players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout the United States.

It only takes about 15 minutes to learn the game. One of the nicest things about Ticket To Ride is how deceptively easy each turn is. On each turn you can only take one of 3 actions:

  • Draw Train Car Cards (you need specific colors to match up with routes)
  • Claim a Route between two cities on the board (you earn points based in the length of your route)
  • Draw additional Destination Tickets (you earn extra points if you connect the two destinations by the end of the game)

The object of the game is to score the highest number of total points.

It sounds simple and almost too basic, right? Think again. Each round allows for players to plan, think strategically, and make tactical decisions. Do you try to claim as many long routes as you can to earn the most points? Do you choose to risk negative points and collect and fulfill Destination Tickets to get your points in big chunks? Do you attempt to build the longest continuous route? Or, do you attempt to block your opponents from scoring points?

When playing the game with a mixture of adults and children, we found that the 8+ age range seems to be spot on. Maybe an advanced 7 year old could play, but the strategy would be completely overlooked by younger players. Also, fine motor skills would be a problem due to the tiny cards and pieces. Since the map is fairly geographically accurate, we found that adults with a knowledge of North American cities had a slight advantage over the children who didn’t know their geography. The children had to give away some of their ‘secrets’ by searching for or asking an adult to help them find their cities. Also, children needed to talk through their actions, while adults often made their plays quietly.

During gameplay, a few interesting things happened. It seems that when adults took their turns, the tension was higher. I know for me the tense feelings came from choosing between greed (picking up more colored cards or wild cards) and fear (keeping an opponent from claiming a critical route). Also, another adult player actively tried to block opponents routes, which led to frustration. The children who played either focused on achieving Destination Card connections, or making the longest route. Most of the children seemed to take the possibility of taking the longer routes in stride when they got blocked off. I’m guessing it was because they were unaware of the time management part of the game and were simply enjoying the playing. Every child seemed surprised when it was time for the game to end (based on a mechanic in the rules) and tally up points. Another aspect that the children overlooked was the point deduction from not achieving Destination connections.

Overall, Ticket To Ride has a high replay value. We don’t see it getting boring any time soon. And, because the game has expansions for other geographical areas (Europe, Asia, India, etc), we can add to it later on to keep things fresh. We love the fact that this game includes opportunities to learn counting, patterns, color matching, planning, and geography without actually seeming like it’s teaching.

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Robot Turtles: A Game for Little Programmers

By: Jennifer Duetzmann

1-4 players (plus one adult)

Ages 3-8

Thinkfun (Dan Shapiro)

$25.00

Robot Turtles is a family board game created to teach kids computer programming.  It is simplistic and super fun.  The goal is for kids to is to place directional cards on a board to get their turtle to a matching colored jewel. It starts out easy, but as your child learns, you can add obstacles to make it more complex.   The children get to be the programmers and take control by playing out cards.  The grown-ups act as the computer, following commands and making all sorts of goofy noises as they play. The key is that the computer has to follow the commands exactly as entered by the kids. For example, turning left and moving forward twice is different than going forward twice and turning left. It is a sneaky way to instill in children the importance of the order of operations in programming.

You might have heard about this game in the news.  Maybe you’ve seen someone who has it.  Maybe you’ve seen it reviewed on a website. But, you’ve looked everywhere for it. It appears it was only released on Kickstarter and there might be a few copies left online. But it’s crazy expensive. Guess you will never have a chance to get it for your family, right?

Guess again.  Here is some wonderful news direct from Dan Shapiro (the game’s creator):

Thinkfun, one of the top publishers of kids educational games, is releasing a shiny new version of Robot Turtles this summer. And for anyone who preorders, they’ll include a really cool expansion pack.

Check out the link here:

http://www.thinkfun.com/robotturtles/

We really enjoyed playing as a family.  The biggest draw has been the scaling difficulty. It lets my sons play together despite their vastly different abilities. My 4 year old loved the basic game, and was super excited to have a robotic turtle with lasers.  My 8 year old liked coming up with 3 card at a time moves in advance, and my 20 something year old brother-in-law liked writing his entire program up front (he was even able to experiment with function commands) .  The game uses simple concepts to sneakily teach computer programming concepts and kids enjoy it.  From an educational standpoint, it doesn’t get much better.

We definitely think it’s worth preordering a copy for your family.

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By: Jenna Duetzmann, staff writer

Created by:

Steve Jackson Games (yep, the same person as the Munchkin series)

Publisher:

Edge Entertainment

Pegasus Spiele

Steve Jackson Games

Published in 2010

Players: 2 − 99 players ages 10 & Up

Braaaains! Grr! Zombies are THE in thing right now, and Zombie Dice  capitalizes on that. Play time is on average 10 minutes, making this a great warm up game or ice breaker, much like Tenzi, which I wrote about earlier. The concept is simple: You are a zombie hungry for “BRAAAAINS!!!” and you’re searching for victims. The victim can flee, defeat you with a handy shotgun, or get their brains eaten.

Sounds gruesome, right? Nope, not all all. The game comes in a cool dice cup filled with 13 dice and an instruction sheet. The picture on the cup is a little creepy, but nothing a 6 year old can’t handle. The dice aren’t gruesome at all. They are black six sided dice with simple graphics of an explosion, some running feet, and a cartoonish brain. The dice are supposed to be the ‘victims’ that zombies will be chasing. The dice are three different colors, which indicate how difficult it is to catch a victim. Green is easy, yellow a slightly bigger challenge, and red is difficult.

Here’s how the game is played:

The player with the most terrifying “BRAAAAAINS!!!” sound effect starts the game (usually my 7 year old son). To play the game, players will shake the dice inside the cup and draw three dice from it without looking. They then roll those dice. If the player rolls brains, they move those dice to the side and save them until the end of their turn. Brains are good! If the player rolls shotgun blasts, they move those dice to the side and save them until the end of their turn. Shotguns are bad! If the player rolls footprints, nothing happens.

After the first roll, the player can choose to either keep rolling or stop and tally the brains they rolled (one brain = one point). If they choose to keep going, they draw more dice from the cup to replace the brains and shotgun dice that were moved off to the side. If a player rolls three shotgun blasts, their turn is over and they score nothing for that round, no matter how many brains they may have collected.

Each player takes turns until one person reaches or exceeds thirteen points. At that point, every other player takes one final turn in an attempt to score as many brains as they can. The winner is the person with the most BRAAAAAAINS at the end of the game.

Zombie Dice is very easy to play and can be handled by children 6 and up, even though it is suggested for a slightly older audience. Our guess is that they labeled it for 10 and older because zombies are scary. But, if you have kids in your house, you know that zombies and gross things are fascinating to kids 6 and older. Since there is no necessary in game reading, we decided to introduce it to our boys and it didn’t take long for them to understand the rules.

We found that the “press your luck” mechanic and strategy part of Zombie Dice (the dice being coded with three different difficulty levels) is a bit complicated for younger players, but it is a big part of what makes the game interesting. One of my children was super cautious and the other was a HUGE risk taker. It was surprising and fun to see how each player responded to the dice rolls.

Overall, gameplay in Zombie Dice is fast and fun. The game requires you to make a decision each turn, which will keep players actively engaged. This is another portable and fun addition to our family game night. Our only complaint is that over enthusiastic shakers can shake the bottom right off of the dice cup and dice will go flying everywhere. But that’s hardly a real complaint, right? All in all, we love it and can’t wait to try out the expansions!

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