Designer: Anja Wrede (2010)
# of Players: 2-4
Play Time: 15 minutes
Category: Children’s Game
Take the Cake is about finding the right sprinkles to complete cupcakes. Gamewright was kind enough to send me a review copy of this little gem, and I’ve had a lot of fun playing it so far with my wife and 3-year-old daughter.
Take the Cake comes with 16 cupcake tiles that each need certain sprinkles in different shapes and colors. Four of these cupcake tiles are turned over at the beginning of the game, but more are flipped over from the draw stack as they are claimed throughout the game. The actual sprinkles are cute, little wooden bits that you place into a cool plastic shaker thingy before the game starts.
To actually play, the first player rolls the die (numbered 1-3) to determine how many shakes they get. They take the shaker thingy and turn it upside down and shake it that many times, which usually causes some of the wooden sprinkles to fall out. They then place those sprinkles on the available cupcakes and get to take any that they complete, with unused sprinkles being placed back in the shaker thingy.
Play goes around the table until all the sprinkles are used and all the cupcakes are complete, and the person with the most cupcake tiles at the end is the winner!
3-year-old Samantha counting up her cupcakes (enough to win the game)… and then pretending to eat them!
What I Think…
My little girl absolutely loves this game, and my wife and I actually like playing it a lot as well. The theme is so cute and the components are just fantastic. The cupcakes almost look good enough to eat (especially the pink ones with 3 sprinkles), and the chunky, wooden sprinkles are really cute and easy to manipulate as well. The overall asthetic would probably appeal more to little girls, but since pretty much every kid likes cupcakes, I have a feeling that little boys would be attracted to the look and theme of the game as well.
Clearly, the game is mostly just about the luck of how many sprinkles come out and whether or not the cupcakes matching them are currently on the table. But I was actually surprised that there are a few real decisions to make during play, especially when the child would need to recognize that their sprinkles could complete a cupcake rather than spreading them out over other cupcakes that wouldn’t finish any of them. And when I play, we draw new cupcake tiles as soon as they are claimed (rather than waiting to the end of the turn as the rules say), so there’s a little bit of choice about whether to place a sprinkle before or after completing other ones. Don’t get me wrong in thinking that the game has any significant depth or anything, but I just wanted to point out that there is some level of choice involved.
The biggest negative I see about the game is in the actual execution of using the shaker thingy. For small and uncoordinated hands, manipulating the device and shaking it just the right number of times can be a little difficult. On more than a few occasions, we had to reload the shaker because Samantha went a little nuts shaking it way more than her allotted number of times. But she is technically a little under the recommended age for the game (at 3 years old), so maybe this won’t be a big deal for slightly older kids. It’s also a little laborious when you get down to just 1 or 2 sprinkles in the shaker, because they don’t tend to come out very well, and you may just be passing it around the table until it happens to come out.
Take the Cake is, however, usually very quick and seems to hold even young children’s attention really well. It’s the kind of game that you can easily put away after just one play if the child is done with it, or you can play 2 or 3 times back-to-back if they still seem interested. From a parent’s perspective, even if the gameplay itself isn’t particularly satisfying, the overall cuteness of the game itself and watching your kids play it is plenty enough to make it enjoyable.
Overall, I’ve been very impressed with Take the Cake and expect to play it regularly for a number of years with both my little girls.
Take the Cake is a game that almost any preschool or school-age child would like due to its theme and quick play. There are at least a few decisions to make, and there are even some possibilities for tweaking the rules that could make it even more interesting as the child gets a little older. Unless your child just doesn’t like cupcakes, they’ll probably enjoy it too!
Corinne will be able to play with us before long!
* I’m changing the way I rate children’s games, since I don’t think it’s fair to compare them in almost any way to adult-weight games. Go here to see more detail about it.