Board games were a huge part of my childhood. The hours spent trying to thrash my brother at hungry hippos and ‘Feed the clowns’ are some of my most vivid memories of playing at home. Learning to cheat at monopoly, never quite understanding the game of life, and the squeals of laughter as we tried and failed to beat each other at Mouse trap.
Of course, back then we didn’t have the same digital distractions as our kids do now, but I’m still pretty passionate that we should all make time to sit down as a family and play the challenging, competitive, and downright silly games that are the stuff childhood memories are all about. In fact, the more help I can have to lure the kids away from their screens, the better.
So when Tomy Games offered to send us some Games to review as a family, how could I refuse? The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as we hit the last bleak wet weekend of January, with nowhere to be and the fun budget being pretty much non-existent.
Screwball Scramble age 5+
Now this one is nothing new to Dad Muddling Through or I, and I’m pleased to say that the 2018 version of this classic hasn’t deviated from its original format. After all, if it ain’t broke, it don’t need fixing. The only difference from the screwball scramble of my childhood, is that the two metal balls weren’t missing, and I swear it’s got harder?!
We were all lining up to have a crack at beating the clock, but it’s safe to say if two adults with a combined age of over seventy couldn’t complete the course, our five and three year old didn’t stand a chance. Not that they didn’t love trying though. Even the littlest family member enjoyed hitting the buttons and trying to complete some of the simpler parts of the course.
It all comes right back to you, as you push and twist the knobs and buttons to get the ball across the rickety bridge, and stick to the twisting magnets. The tunnel maze still drives me crazy, and even when you get to the last part (with, ahem a little creative license) ringing that bell still takes some mastering!
But practice makes perfect, and with determination and ferocious competitiveness in the household, we won’t be beaten by Screwball Scramble yet.
Greedy Granny age 5+
Deciding to take a rest from the frustrations of screwball scramble, we cracked open Greedy Granny. With just a click together of two simple parts, the game is set to go.
All the biscuits are loaded onto Grannys tray, and her teeth popped in as she reclines in her chair. The rules of the game were a little too complicated for the Mouse to understand, but she was under the reccommended age, at three. Tigs on the other hand had no problem getting into the spinning the wheel, collecting the different types of biscuits from her tray, and pressing the button the required amount of times per the spinner wheel.
Ultimately, the girls had a great time when Granny leapt forward, throwing her tray of biscuits in the air, and losing her teeth in the meantime. Mummy won, obvs, but I think the actual game concept was far less interesting than just seeing who would make Granny jump up.
Fizzy Dizzy Hippo, age 4+
Finally, the last game to keep the girls entertained on our soggy Saturday evening, was Fizzy Dizzy Hippo. With a simpler concept and a younger age bracket, this one was far more appealing to the Mouse (age 3.5).
After some simple set up (a few stickers), and the insertion of 2 x AAA batteries, Fizzy was good to go.
The aim of the game is to take turns spinning the drink umbrella to get the number of times you press the fizz can. Each push causes the hippos tummy to grow and grow – the winner is the player who presses the can and makes the Hippo belch and spin. The game can be repeated to assign an overall winner, but the girls loved the silly singing and voices, and a bit of burp humour goes a long way with kids, doesn’t it!
When I asked the girls which game they liked the most, Tigs voted for Greedy Granny, and The Mouse was too busy making the hippo burp again to pay much attention.
They do say though that actions speak louder than words, and given that Tigs was trying to master Screwball Scramble until well into the evening (as were every visitor to our home that weekend), I think the classic has to take the crown as everyone’s favourite. She’ll get there, even if it takes another thirty one years…
Think you can master Screwball Scramble? Well Tomy are offering one of you a game of your own, and you can enter by heading to my giveaways page and adding your details to the rafflecopter widget. Tell yourself the kids will love it, then see them not get a look in while you try and nail that course!
Disclosure: We were sent all the games to review, however all opinions are our own