Game provided by the distributor
If you have young kids, and especially if you have at least one young girl, chances are you know the entire Frozen soundtrack off by heart whether you want to or not (and it’ll probably be ‘not’). At least it’s actually a pretty good film. And what to get the Frozen fan/s in your life this Christmas? You’ve already got the movie, the soundtrack, the bedding, the curtains, the toys, the potato peeler, the toilet paper… so how about the 6-in-1 game set?
The games in question are: Go Fish & Crazy 8s (one shared deck of cards), Bingo (one side of a four-piece board), Four-In-A-Row (the other side of the board), Dominoes, and – what we can only presume was named after literally seconds of thinking – “Matching”. The first thing to jump out at you will probably be the amount of cardboard involved. Everything is made out of cardboard including, disappointingly, the dominoes. The only exception is the plastic arrow on the spinner, which I’ll come to soon. I hasten to add however that not only is the print quality excellent on every single piece, everything – with the expected exception of the cards – is tough enough to resist accidental (though certainly not intentional) damage. One of my girls is three years old; she’s taken a strong interest in much of the contents of the box over the last few weeks, and yet it all still looks brand new.
Instructions are provided for each game, should you or the little ones need them. Chances are that little explanation will be needed for bingo, dominoes, the enigmatically-named Matching (that thing where you turn over two tiles at a time, for the avoidance of doubt), or Go Fish. I have to confess that for my part, Crazy 8s is one of those things that I’ve often seen mentioned, but never had any understanding of. Now, finally – thanks to a game set intended for kids – I know.
I’m 35 years old.
Anyway, speaking of the cards, none of my kids (3, 6, and 10) had much interest in the games that they’re actually intended for. Yours may well be different, of course. For our part however, their attraction was simply the fact that they had the names and pictures for characters and places from the movie. It also helped that all of the pictures are “proper” Frozen pictures.
Now, don’t misunderstand – this game is 100% officially licensed, and every last image is official and directly from or approved by Disney. In my eldest’s eyes, however – and I mention this because surely some other kids must be of the same opinion – only CG images taken directly from the movie models are ‘proper’ Frozen characters. To be fair, I can see what she means, and I’d probably have said exactly the same thing at her age. Not only because the hand-drawn images are, well… hand-drawn, and the movie is of course computer generated. For some reason, the officially sanctioned non-CG characters all have rosy cheeks and odd eyes, which make them look drunk. My words there, by the way, not my daughter’s.
So, yes; outside of the deck of cards, you’ll find a mix of Frozen characters happy because that’s how they were programmed, and happy because they’re inebriated. In theory mixing styles like this helps in Matching at least, because it helps kids remember the differences between tiles more easily.
Back to the four-piece game board, which fits together like the world’s simplest puzzle. One side is the game board for bingo and, in case you were wondering, all the pictures are hand-drawn but without the rosy cheeks (but with lots of vaguely Frozen-related symbols in addition to character faces). Bingo is, y’know, bingo. On the other side is the Four-In-A-Row board. This gives you a 4×4 grid of (drunken) character faces, each against a shaped background. It’s not a case of taking it in turns to place a counter on whichever place you like; things are a little more interesting than that.
This has proven to be the most popular game with all three of our girls. With the board constructed and counters dished out, the two players take it in turns to spin the arrow on the spinner. If it lands on a character, you may place your counter on any one of those characters on the board. If it lands on a shape, you may place your counter on any of those shapes on the board, irrespective of the character. If you land on ‘take 1 away’, you can nick one of your opponent’s counters. There can only be one counter on a space at a time, and the objective is to get four counters in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Simple.
While one of the six games has an interesting twist on what you might expect, the other five are simply age-old games in Frozen fancy dress; but there’s nothing wrong with that. If you have a young ‘un obsessed with Arendale, this is a good way to keep them occupied with games they probably wouldn’t otherwise consider via official, well-constructed merchandise. The prevalence of cardboard is a shame, but it in no way feels cheap – and the games that they’ve chosen to adopt are, in part or in whole, ones that you’ll know yourself and can help teach your kids.
Not to mention the fact that you might finally have found something you can beat them at with secret glee.