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Gamewright’s GUBS & City Square Off

December 12th, 2011

We are huge fans of Gamewright games in our home. (For past reviews of Gamewright games, click here.) My favorite thing about these games is they’re fun for everyone to play. I can find Chutes & Ladders and Candyland a bit tedious, but I rarely tire of Dweebies and Take the Cake. The same goes for our latest two favorites, GUBS and City Square Off.

GUBS was definitely a game for 10 and up. It had a lot of different types of cards, and we had to refer to the guide quite a bit throughout the game. I’m not sure we’ll ever have everything memorized, but once we got the hang of it, we enjoyed the strategy and scheming. It’s definitely hard keeping those little GUBS safe!

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As for City Square Off, this was by FAR our most favorite game…probably are most favorite game of Gamewright’s to date. Even George, our six-year-old, loved it! Granted, he didn’t quite of the strategic forethought as the older kids, but he totally understood how to play. Think of it as Tetris meets urban planning. We played this one constantly over Thanksgiving break. It’s definitely a must-have for the kids.

Gamewright City Square Off

Both games are award-winning (as usual for Gamewright) and both are extremely fun to play. And both need to be under your Christmas tree this year. (At least make sure City Square Off is!)—Emily

FlipOut keeps you guessing… {giveaway}

June 14th, 2011

...and switching and swapping and flipping! We are already fans of Gamewright games thanks to their Take the Cake and Dweebies games, so when they asked us to review their new FlipOut game, we said, “Heck, yes!”

Gamewright FlipOut

FlipOut, which has already won six awards including the iParenting Media Award, Parents’ Choice Gold and Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence Award, is geared for children ages 8 and older and can handle 2 to 5 players. The object of the game is to get at least four of the same cards in a row by switching, swapping and flipping cards (your own and those of your opponent(s)). It gets a little tricky because each card is double sided, so what you see isn’t necessarily what your opponents see, and they may take the exact card you were hoping to keep!

The game claims “easy-to-learn rules,” but I will say the first time my girls took it out to play, they gave up after only getting through half the directions. Fortunately I don’t give up that easily when it comes to board games, so we gave it one more shot, this time with me reading through the rules with them. And I will admit, it took me a couple run-throughs to understand all the different options (aka “actions”) you could do each turn and how the whole process worked. But once we got going (and reread as we played), we finally got the hang of it and had a really great time thwarting each other’s efforts to line up four of a kind.

Don’t let our little struggle with the directions make you shy away from Gamewright’s new FlipOut. It really is a fun game and I love that children and adults can play together (kind of like Dweebies!), plus it teaches children visual discrimination, strategic thinking (my favorite part) and color identification. That’s a Gamewright game for you: learning and fun all wrapped into one!—Emily

*** Giveaway! Gamewright is giving away one copy of FlipOut! ***

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:

•    Visit Gamewright.com and leave a comment telling us which other games you’d love to try.
•     “Like” Gamewright on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
•    Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.
•    Update your Facebook status with a link to this giveaway and leave a comment telling us you did.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: June 28, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Dweebies are our new best friends! {giveaway}

June 23rd, 2010

home-overA few weeks ago I reviewed two new games in Gamewright’s collection: Take the Cake and Can You See What I See? Bingo Link. Perfect for the younger group, my littlest ones really enjoyed these games. Of course, their older siblings were good sports and played along, but they were really biding their time until they could review the two other Gamewright games included in the samples sent for review: Dweebies and Rory’s Story Cubes.

Dweebies was first to be tried and tested by Madison, Lauren and me. The concept is fairly easy; you collect Dweebies—by far the cutest creatures ever printed on playing cards—by matching cards on both ends of any row (horizontally or vertically). Yes, the concept is easy but some of those Dweebies are super sly and will be gone before you can pair them with a match. We learned this the hard way a few times! You win by having collected the most Dweebies once the game is over—or those Dweebies are at a standstill.

Dweebies

Madison’s comments: “I think it’s cool how each card has its own personality. I think it’s also cool you can see how many there are of each card. I love this game!” (Note: Each card has a small number telling you how many matches that Dweebie has…yes, there’s a little strategy involved.)

Lauren’s comments: “It’s fun. It’s really easy to learn and all the Dweebies have different personalities and the game even gets your brain working.” (Good to know someone’s brain is working during summer vacation!)

My comments: “I actually really, really loved playing this game. I was the one begging for ‘just one more game, please!’ The Dweebies are super cute, the games aren’t too long and it’s seriously fun!”

The next game we tested was Rory’s Story Cubes. What I love about this game is it’s one of those you can actually play by yourself AND doubles as a great non-messy travel game. The tiny little box contains nine cubes, all with a variety of different pictures on them. All you do is roll the cubes, throw out a “Once upon a time…” and you’re on your way! You can play however you’d like: roll all nine and take turns building a story using all nine pictures; divide up the cubes, roll and then take turns building your story. The possibilities are endless! We divided the cubes among the three of us and each took turns rolling one, adding to the story as we went—a story that included a scarab beetle, lightning and a letter addressed to a padlock.

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Madison’s comments: “I like it because it’s funny how people make up the stories as they go and you don’t know what they’re going to say.”

Lauren’s comments: “I really like them because you can tell your own story.”

My comments: “This is a really great game for me because I have very little imagination. Just ask my girls how well I do playing Barbies or Polly Pockets. I suck. But Rory’s Story Cubes got my storytelling juices flowing by supplying the images and letting me run with it. I think this would be an awesome travel game too!”

Both Dweebies and Rory’s Story Cubes are award-winning games. After testing all four games from Gamewright, I’m convinced this company is the way to go when it comes to fun, educational, imaginative games. We’ve seriously loved every one!—Emily

*** GIVEAWAY! Gamewright is giving away one game, winner’s choice! ***

NOTE: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway:

•   Visit Gamewright.com and leave a comment telling us which game you’d most like to try.
•   “Like” Gamewright on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you joined.
•   Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.
•   Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL to your blog post.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: June 30, 2010 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

  • Congratulations to Nadia P., the winner of the Gamewright giveaway! Thank you to everyone who took the time to read the review and add a comment. Keep reading the Daily Dish for your chance to participate in more giveaways!

Gamewright children’s games “take the cake”! {giveaway}

May 28th, 2010

Though our game closet isn’t as stocked as my aunt’s (I swear they buy a new game every week), we do have quite a good selection of children’s games. You’ll find classics like Battleship next to some sort of Disney princess game. In our closet there’s something for everyone!

home-overOf course board gamers like us are always looking for fun, new games to try (and add to the shelves) so I was excited when Gamewright sent us four of their games for the family to try out and review on the Daily Dish. Today we’ll be sharing with you our take on Gamewright’s Take the Cake and Can You See What I See? Bingo Link.

First up is Take the Cake, an award-winning game that’s focus is the ever popular cupcake. (I was sold when I first saw the name of this one!)

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The game is for ages four and up and has you shaking a sprinkle shaker full of colorful miniature wooden shapes. If any shapes match a cupcake on a card, you add them and when completely “frosted,” the card is yours. That’s it! Shaking the shaker helps with fine motor skills and shape and color recognition.

Gamewright_TaketheCake

Now, Livi is only two but she does know her shapes and colors so we gave it a shot. She and Madison had a great time playing this little game, although it was hard to keep a two-year-old focused on shaking, then matching, then waiting for Madison to take her turn. (Hence the four-and-up guideline.) But even so it was still a great game for reinforcing Olivia’s knowledge of colors and shapes. I love the simplicity of the game and the dang cute cupcakes, shaker and “sprinkles.” Plus it’s one I could handle playing over and over again, which is a good thing because that’s what we’ve done since we first opened Take the Cake!

Next is Gamewright’s Can You See What I See? Bingo Link game. We love Walter Wick’s Can You See What I See? books and we love a good game of Bingo, so we couldn’t wait to try out a game that featured both.

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Though designated for ages six and up, George was able to play with just a little coaching from Mom. Each board features the same 61 objects but in different places. The goal is to create a linking path from one color to the same color on the other side (red to red, blue to blue, etc.). You call out an object and everyone must find that object on their own board. That’s it! Sounds almost too simple to be fun but it really was—even after playing multiple times.

Gamewright_BingoLink

Can You See What I See? Bingo Link is also an award-winning game and helps with spatial relations, fine motor skills and visual discrimination. (I need work on that last one; I could never find those dang objects!) And actually, this is a great game to play with kids of all ages because it kept Livi entertained (she loved placing those little pegs wherever her heart desired) while I played with the older three. And it never gets old—I swear those objects move around the board when you’re not looking!

I can’t wait to review the two other games from Gamewright. The girls are super excited to crack them open. Look for another Gamewright review and giveaway in a few weeks! I think these next two are going to be great travel games perfect for summer vacations, so stay tuned!—Emily

*** GIVEAWAY! Gamewright is giving away one game, winner’s choice! ***

NOTE: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway:

•  Visit Gamewright.com and leave a comment telling us which game you’d most like to try.
•  “Like” Gamewright on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you joined.
•  Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.
•  Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL to your blog post.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: June 4, 2010 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

  • Congratulations to Tina R., the winner of the Gamewright giveaway! Thank you to everyone who took the time to read the review and add a comment. Keep reading the Daily Dish for your chance to participate in more giveaways!

Say hello to Tag Junior, the newest member of the LeapFrog family

July 6th, 2009

if you’ve read my past LeapFrog reviews then you know I’m a big fan of the Tag reader. My three-year-old loves using the Tag reader to hear the dinosaurs in T. Rex’s Might Roar really roar and the critters in Ozzie and Mack chatter away. The only problem is, he’s still a bit young to truly get the idea behind using the Tag for more than play, and perhaps that’s my fault for not spending more time with him. Then again, I’m all about learning through play so it’s been a great experience so far!

Even so, in the back of my mind I thought it would be nice if there were a similar product for the slightly younger set, of which I have two in our family. Not surprisingly LeapFrog had the same idea and now you can find the Tag Junior on store shelves. This cute, chunky, perfect-for-little-hands reader uses the same technology as the original Tag but its library is made up of board books (yay for board books!) and is designed for children ages two to four. Little ones can hear stories, sound effects and music every time they place, or “stamp,” the Tag Junior on the pages of a Tag Junior book. And the library includes everything from ABC’s to Dr. Suess to Winnie the Pooh.

We received the new Tag Junior for George to review, but alas, we had issues…and not with the reader itself. First we didn’t have any AAA batteries, and then I bout AAA rechargeable batteries but the charger wasn’t working. We finally got the charger working and then couldn’t find the Tag Junior. Found the Tag Junior and then couldn’t find the accompanying book, If I Were…—and we still can’t find the book. But I will say the Tag Junior is still a hit without the book. My almost-two-year-old loves the sounds it makes and its perfect even for her little hands. I so totally love our original Tag I am desperately looking for If I Were…. My little ones (and my older ones) are just as anxious as I am to see this little guy in action!

Like the Tag, the Tag Junior also lets you track your child’s progress with LeapFrog’s Learning Path. Learning Path lets you see what skills your child is learning and find related articles and activities to help them refine those skills. It is truly an awesome product and awesome program. And with weeks still left in summer, the Tag Junior is a great way to mix things up when it’s 100+ degrees outside and Blue’s Clues is no longer cutting it. The Tag Junior starter set is only about $35 for the reader and the book; additional books are only about $10. (Note: As of right now you can not use the original Tag on Tag Junior books.)—Emily

The Chore Board: It’s Mary Poppins meets Hasbro

May 19th, 2009

The Chore BoardTo quote the famous nanny: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and ‘snap,’ the job’s a game.” Though I have yet to find the element of fun in scrubbing toilets and mowing the lawn on a hot summer day, there is something to be said for making your children’s household jobs fun. The Chore Board: A Helping-Around-the-House Game from Chronicle Books takes Mary Poppins’ wisdom to heart—and to your fridge:

Even the most reluctant household helpers will be clamoring to clean with The Chore Board. Parents just pick a reward for each child, and then every well-done job moves the helper one step closer to the desired prize. A little motivation goes a long way!

The Chore Board set includes a magnetic board about 15 inches long by 9 inches high, 8 playing pieces (my favorite is the Dust Princess) and a dry-erase marker so you can change out the list of jobs and the rewards. The kids excitement upon receiving The Chore Board was a good omen—maybe, just maybe they would actually want to help around the house so Mom wouldn’t have to play the martyr for the rest of her life!
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The Chore Board
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We quickly read through the directions and set up our Chore Board. You’d think Mary Poppins’ spirit were hovering in our home with how excited the kids were to do an odd job or two (we limited it to two a day) so they could move another space toward their goal. The girls had jobs that worked well for their ages (tending the little ones, vacuuming, dusting, doing dishes on Mom’s dish night), while George had “jobs” best for his age (brushing teeth before bed, taking a nap, cleaning up his toys). George made it to the end and was able to pick out a toy (dang that super-cheap light saber!), Madison made it and picked out her flower seeds for her planter and Lauren eventually crossed the finish line for her daddy-daughter date, which Dad still has to make good on.
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The second time around The Chore Board has lost a bit of its “newness” and those little magnetic playing pieces are moving at a snail’s pace, but the authors mention this might happen. The trick is to put the Chore Board away for a while and then bring it out for another round. That’s probably what I’ll do once they cross the finish line. (This trick works well for toys, too!)

For those of us who can’t afford Mary Poppins and are out of ideas for encouraging our children to help around the house, The Chore Board is a wonderful way to turn grumbling into gaming!—Emily

*** Giveaway Chronicle Books is giving away one copy of The Chore Board! Please leave a comment with a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: May 26, 2009 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

  • Congratulations to Melissa S., the winner of The Chore Board giveaway! Thank you to everyone who took the time to read the review and add a comment. Keep reading the Daily Dish for your chance to participate in more giveaways!

A DS game that exercsies your brain…

November 28th, 2008

Zenses...all while soothing the senses. No karts, no alien creatures, no spastic background music. The Game Factory has debuted two new Nintendo DS games designed for the growing number of female “casual gamers”—women just like me who aren’t serious gamers but enjoy a little break from reality once in a while.

ZensesThe two new games are Zenses Ocean and Zenses Rainforest, which allow players to “escape from the stress of daily life while challenging the mind, body and spirit through relaxing puzzle games, soothing ambient sounds and authentic rainforest and oceanic visuals.” Sounds pretty soothing already, doesn’t it? Well, my girls and I have tested both Zenses Ocean and Zenses Rainforest and the verdict is in: we love them!

pay someone to do your assignment

Okay, I was only able to play Zenses Ocean. My daughter started playing Rainforest, her favorite of the two, when the battery ran out on her DS. We couldn’t find the charger so Rainforest has sat in the DS waiting anxiously for someone to play it—and I’m anxious! I enjoyed pretty much every game on Ocean and the crashing waves in the background were rather soothing. I had a little Zensestrouble with one of the games, and I will admit, a couple truly tested my brainpower, but a little cerebral exercise is a good thing especially when you have sand between your toes!

I can’t wait to charge up the DS and check out the Rainforest game. It’s already a favorite of my daughter’s and if it’s even better than Ocean I know I’ll love it. I’ll never be a hardcore gamer—not enough time and not enough interest—but I do enjoy a little reprieve from the daily grind and The Game Factory’s new line of Zenses games is perfect for the casual gamer like me.—Emily

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