Candy Land Castle
As I’ve mentioned before, my 3-year-old daughter (Samantha) and I are beginning to play more and more games together. And I’ve also been pretty blessed to receive some children’s games from both Gamewright and Out of the Box, so I am trying to catch up a little on doing some reviews for their games as well. None of these games really need a full review of their own, so I’m going to try out a quick-hit review style to knock out a number of them at a time every so often.
Uncredited design (2007)
2-4 players, Ages 3+
5 minute play time
Each player takes a gingerbread man (or lady) board which has spots for 4 colored shapes on its 4 limbs. You then take turns pulling down the little candycane lever thingy, which makes one shape fall out of the castle. It it matches a spot on your board, you keep it; otherwise, you put it back into the top of the castle. Whoever fills their board first, wins.
Obviously, this game is very similar to Splish Splash and Go Away Monster!, in that you’re basically just randomly collecting things to fill up a board in order to win. What makes it cool, of course, is the gorgeous little castle device that spits out the shape tiles. And between it, the colorful gingerbread-man player boards, and the chunky, plastic shape tiles, the game looks fantastic and makes children want to play it.
Clearly, this type of game is aimed at the youngest players and have no real decisions to make. Where this one succeeds (like Go Away Monster!) where others fail (Splish Splash) is in its theme, appearance, and play time. Kids will certainly want to play with the castle thingy, and even though the game could get boring pretty quickly, there’s really no way for it to go on longer than 5 or so minutes, which usually leaves my 3-year-old wanting another game or two before her attention span wears out.
Candy Land Castle
(Unsure of Designer) (2011)
Out of the Box
2-6 players, Ages 5+
5 minute play time
Bug Out comes with two small decks of cards, one round and one square, where each “bug card” (the round ones) has a matching “leaf card” (the square ones). You then spread the bug cards out all over the table or all around the room or wherever you want to put them, then deal out the leaf cards to everyone, and say “go!” Whoever can cover matching bug cards with all their leaf cards first is the winner.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this game. It has some great art, a nice theme, and plays quickly. You can even give younger kids an advantage by dealing them less cards.
However, two things make me a little cautious about recommending it. First is the weight of the cards themselves, which are pretty flimsy. They look great, but especially when handled by excited children running around in a frenzy, I’m really afraid that they won’t last long at all.
The second thing is that this is a game you can play with absolutely any set of Memory cards or tiles (which most of you with kids probably already have). In fact, since Samantha is still a little young for actual Memory, we normally play it this way (or similarly, anyhow) already.
I don’t feel bad at all, however, recommending this game to you if you think your kids will like the art and the buggy theme. For me, though, I would rather have seen this same art on a set of heavier-weight tiles that you could use to either play this game as designed or use to play some Memory variant.
The backs of the leaf cards
= I think that there’s something really special about this game. It either has rather universal appeal or has been exceptionally fun for me and my family. Definitely pick it up!
= This is a solid game, and I would recommend it to most parents, usually with some guidelines about what kind of children I think might enjoy it most.
= There’s something about this game that makes me a little uneasy about it. It may still be interesting or fun for some children, but be cautious in picking this up unless you’re confident that your child will like it.
= This game is broken, stupid, and/or boring; do not buy it!