University Games Review
Everyone loves a bit of gaming – everyone but my partner, that is! So when University Games asked us to try out some of their games, we sent them off to Tilly, mum to Cordelia and her husband. They love family games, so we thought they’d be the best people to try it out.
The first game we sent them was the Colour Mix-a-Roo from Crayola. It didn’t exactly get rave reviews, sadly. “I'll be honest, “says Tilly, “It bored me from the moment I realised what it was and I didn't think it was going to hold the kids attention for very long. I was half right.”
Colour Mix-a-Roo consists of a plastic board and a pile of study cards. The cards have numbers and pictures on. These pictures are all in different colours. The board consists of a rotary wheel that you turn with your finger, a spinning arrow and a flip-up answer box. The object of the game is simple. Spin the arrow to find out what number you have to play and how many cards you can collect. Make the colour on the card using the handy cheat sheet and by using your finger to turn the dials on the wheel from the appropriate colours and check you made the correct colour.
“However,” Tilly tells us, “While the box boasts that there is no paint and no mess I did actually find this a disadvantage. Yes, it is excellent for teaching kids colour combinations and colour charts. Definitely. Yes, it is clean and tidy. But the instructions were awful and if you have ever sat with two excited kids and a game and their impatience levels rising then you will know how frustrating it was to not be able to just play.”
Having said that, the kids apparently played the game for several hours on several different days. “My daughter has played on her own, with friends, and with us. She did improve in her colour recognition dramatically but she has lost interest. The game becomes a bit tedious once you know the colours - there is no real challenge. It is a good idea, an idea that does follow through to a certain extent, but it could have done with something more to make it slightly more challenging as you got good at it.”
She goes on, “That said, however, the kids LOVED lifting the lid to see the big colour reveal. It’s a big hit. It does need some parental supervision as the wheel has to be dialled just right and that takes a bit of strength and help, and the cards are awkward and need shuffling from time to time. It encourages memory - remembering the colours you have dialled and the order you have done this in - and colour recognition.”
The next thing we sent to Tilly was the Find It Glitz and Glamour Beads. This is a tall, see-through bottle of beads, filled with items such as nail polish, pearls, a mirror, ballet slippers and forty other items. The game is aimed at players 8 – 98, apparently, and the object is to find each item contained within the sea of colourful plastic pellets.
Tilly liked this. She passed it around Cordelia and her friends, and it was a hit.
“Yelps of ‘cell phone’ and ‘ribbon’ were heard. The kids liked this. Aaaah, goodie. I need a clever and small game for the car/plane/train – who doesn’t? It’s an essential item for keeping parental sanity – there’s even an iPod in there.”
Tilly says the game is good. It’s fun and mildly addictive. “Ok so the game is light, addictive, fun and as much fun as the people you are playing with. I left it on the mantelpiece before some mates came around for a bit of a fun evening. It was a test. By the end of the night the game had been passed around and mocked, then the mocking faded as faces became more avid. Then I was asked for the notebook to see if they could tick the items off, then someone took it from them so they could have a turn. It does inspire a measure of amused competitiveness in adults and fierce competition in kids.”
The final game we handed over to Tilly to try was the Smart Ass card game, a quick-moving party game where you don’t have to wait your turn, and when you know the answer you just shout it out. Each question is made up of a series of ten clues which get progressively easier. The first person to shout out the correct answer wins the round.
“This isn’t really a kids game, to be honest, but when we played it with friends, some of us loved it, and some of us didn’t – well, it was the ones who didn’t know the answers that didn’t like it.” The answers do tend to be quite historical and rather American, so if you don’t know about America in the last century it’ll be a bit of a downer.
“It’s a good laugh and made us all rather competitive, but once we’d been through it, it was kind of ‘done’, since we knew the answers then.”
And so, the final thoughts from Tilly on the University Games?
The Colour Mix-a-Roo from Crayola “gets a steady 6 out of 10. I am not enchanted by this game but other reviewers have been so I must be fair.”
“Smart Ass was good fun, while it lasted, and is a fun after dinner game, actually, but you’d really only be able to play it a few times, if that.”