Reviewed by Jenny Bray
Orchard Toys produce educational board games and puzzles for children. Most of their products are aimed at pre-schoolers. All their products are bright and fun looking.
This board game came in a spooky looking purple box with ghosts, a witch and frogs on the front. The pictures on the box are really child friendly and appealing. The item is particularly seasonal with Halloween fast approaching!
The game arrived from their UK offices. I love that their games are all designed and produced within the UK as there aren’t many all UK companies anymore. The item has minimal packing and is made from strong recycled cardboard, which is great as it saves the environment.
Upon arrival my 5 year old was keen to open it and declared that he knew exactly what to do as they have it at school! (This was news to me. What goes on in school normally remains in school, despite me questioning him lots about various aspects of his day!). He then helped unpack it and put it all together for us to play. The game is easy to set up and the instructions are straightforward. He and I then played it… several times! When his younger brother got back he also insisted on playing it.
The concept of the game is that you pick a colour frog to be and then move around a spooky house, which has four rooms, in order to be the first to reach the cauldron and get turned back in to a human. There are no dice with this game. Instead, there are cards with different numbers of steps on, from one to three, spider and ghost cards. All cards are turned face down before you start. The youngest player starts and when it is your turn you choose a card at a time until you decide to stop. If you pick a spider card then you have to stop and can only move as many steps as you have collected at that point. If you pick up a ghost then you need to move backwards however many steps you have collected instead of forwards. There are six ghosts and a special ghost board to put them on as they are found. This means that you can check how many have been found and calculate the risk of how many are left amongst the remaining cards to help decide how many cards to pick up. Once you reach the cauldron you have to spin a spinner which has both frogs and human pictures on. In order to win the game the spinner has to land on a human.
I love the educational aspect of this game. Although the guidance is that it is suitable for ages 4+ my 3 year old was also keen to play it and enjoyed it. It took a few games and some guidance to encourage him to stop picking up cards before finding a ghost or spider each time, so he actually got to move around the board a bit more, but he loved joining in. The game helped them both with their co-ordination, strategic thinking and counting.
The only thing I can find fault with is that it says, ‘With educational guide on the base’ on the front of the box. I checked the base of the box and all the parts of the game before finding it on the back of the box and not the base.
All in all, this is a great, fun board game that has the added bonus of being educational too.
Available to buy from Orchard Toys here.