Jumbo Games Fireman Sam Spin And Rescue Game And Night Before Christmas Jigsaw Puzzle Review

6 December 2011

It's the night before Christmas ... well thankfully it isn't! I'd be in a blind panic right now not having actually got half my presents. But that's the name of the gorgeous jigsaw puzzle that Jumbo Games sent me. I also got to try out its Fireman Sam Spin and Rescue Game.

One big problem about buying presents, especially for kids, is that you're never really sure what you're going to get. That why we're focussing on the top items that people generally like to buy for review this year. And what is more Christmassy than sitting around doing a jigsaw puzzle on Christmas eve?

How did these potential gifts work out? Well read on and see!

Fireman Sam Spin & Rescue Game

I was a bit excited to get the Fireman Sam Spin & Rescue Game 9.79 at Amazon, delivery free with Amazon Prime). Not because I've some weird obsession with the Welsh fireman, but because it reminded me of a high tech version of a game I had as a child. My game was based on the Skippy television series (remember that? Skippy the bush kangaroo?) and I loved it.

You can play this game with 2 to four players. You spin the Fireman Sam character around, to the sound of Jupiter's siren, and when he stops you listen to what he says. The goal of the game is to find all five rescue cards that pertain to your character. So if you're Tom you have to find all of Tom's rescue cards.

As we had four boys playing the game, there was a fight over the characters that I resolved by getting them all to choose from a pack of playing cards. Then we had about ten minutes of teasing and laughing as one lad ended up with the pink counter.

The rescue cards are placed face down, then Fireman Sam is spun around - hard. The player whose marker he stops next to has to do one of three things. If Sam says "Okay, lets get busy!" then there's one ring, you get to turn over a card. Keep it if it belongs to your hero, turn it back over if it doesn't. If there's two rings, you turn over two cards. If you hear "Quick Sam, get me out of here", you have to put one of your rescue cards back - one of the other players puts it in the circle while you're not looking.

That's it really. Our four six year olds played the game quite happily a few times before moving on to something else.

One thing to keep in mind is that you need two AAA batteries, and these aren't included.

Falcon Christmas Puzzle

Or to give it its full name, the Falcon de luxe 1000 puzzle The Night Before Christmas by Steve Crips jigsaw puzzle (£9.99 at the Jigsaw Puzzle Outlet).

This puzzle has a lovely sweet picture! Snow covered house. Baby and small child fast asleep in their rooms. Dad pulling out presents from under the bed, mum baking in the kitchen, grandparents sat by the tree in the living room. The dining room is set for a magnificient feast. All the rooms are very well lit. And on the roof is Santa with his sack, and the reindeer pulling the sleigh.

The pieces appear to be made of a good quality cardboard, which is handy as my son decided to 'help' me out. This seemed to mainly consisting of making sure the pieces were really well mixed up while I was out of the room - on the floor in the lounge. At least we didn't lose any pieces.

There's enough difficult zones to keep most people happy, such as the starry sky. However my mother in law, who is a bit of an expert at doing jigsaw puzzles, wasn't so impressed. What took me several evenings over the course of a week she reckoned would have only taken her a couple of hours.

She thought the picture on the jigsaw was just lovely though. And so did I.

One nice touch, for me at least (as you can tell, I don't usually do jigsaw puzzles) is the small image of the picture on the side of the box. This means that even if you've only got space to prop the box up you can still see the picture without having to crane or bend over.

And Finally ...

As a parent, I was disappointed with Fireman Sam Spin & Rescue Game. It costs a bit at £10, and I didn't think there was a lot of gameplay to it.  The rescue cards are quite small, and I had rather expected to hear more of Fireman Sam than you get. For me, Skippy is still the winner.

Overall verdict: 6/10

As someone who does a jigsaw puzzle maybe once a year during that quiet time in the winter holidays when it is too cold to go outside, I really liked the Falcon Christmas puzzle. The picture is sweet enough with stacks of detail to keep my interest, and it is challenging without really taxing the old noggin.

Overall verdict: 8/10

TOPICS:   Toy Store   Christmas

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