DISCLOSURE – THIS ITEM WAS GIFTED TO THE REVIEWER FOR THE PURPOSES OF WRITING THE REVIEW. ALL THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ARE THE REVIEWER’S OWN.
Reviewed by Anita Connor
This game comes in a very sturdy, colourful box with no excessive packaging. The object of the game is immediately obvious as it says “All Aboard! A fun-filled race to the North Pole” on the front of the box. Inside the box there is a large colourful robust playing board, 56 cards numbered one to seven, 14 action cards, 8 character playing pieces, 4 character stands and a complete set of rules. The game is for 2 – 4 players aged 6+, but there is a choice of being Santa, Rudolph, a penguin, a fox, a rabbit, a polar bear, a snowman, or an elf.
Players move along the train track from the Home Station to the North Pole Station. Although the track looks fairly short, it can take a while to complete the journey as you may have to move backwards as well as forwards. The red and green spaces on the track are the colours often associated with Christmas – they also make it easier to count the number of spaces you can move. As you advance along the track you have to watch out for the action cards, Hustle Bustle, the Reindeer Crossings, the Snow Storms and even the naughty elf. However, the Express card can help you move quicker, and Santa can protect you from any of the action cards.
The stations have exciting names including Hot Chocolate Corner, Candy Cane Lane, Snowflake Falls and Jingle Bell Square. Landing on a station gives the player an extra turn. There is a bridge which can be used as a shortcut but watch out as it can also cause you to move backwards 22 squares! The Slippery Slope also needs to be avoided as just as you think you are winning the game, you may have to go back 15 squares.
The rules are clear, but you may have to refer back to them a couple of times when first playing the game. We played this with our 8-year-old granddaughter and her brothers aged 6 and 3. Obviously an adult had to play with the youngest child but the 6 year old was able to read the instructions on the action cards. Both boys are train mad, so this game was bound to be a winner from the start. It only takes a couple of minutes to set the game up so play can begin almost instantly. Although it initially looks a little like snakes and ladders, this is much more exciting as you can choose who to play an action card against. The children all enjoyed sending their grandparents back a few squares, however this could upset some children if they are sent back along the track too often! There is some strategy involved in playing the game as you can choose which card to play rather than the chance involved with the usual dice games.
This is an excellent board game for all the family to play together. It can be played with just 2 players and is obviously quicker, but it is more fun with 4 players. The game is quick enough to avoid younger children becoming bored and the excitement lasts until the end as the person in the lead doesn’t necessarily win. I think this will provide hours of fun in the run up to Christmas and over the festive season. I think the game is of good quality and excellent value for money so I would definitely recommend it to others.
RRP: £22.99 but currently £18.94 on Amazon
This product can be purchased from Smyths Toys here.