I got some new children’s games to try out. Couple of them were instant hits (Zoowaboo doesn’t look like it’s really hot with two, so it’s still waiting) with Nooa.
Mouse Carousel has six tubes and seven mice with different colours. There’s some cheese cubes on the middle of the tubes and to get to that cheese, you need to push the seventh mouse to one of the tubes, making another mouse appear. If the colour of the mouse matches the cubes, the mouse eats the cubes and you get another go. If you fail, it’s next player.
A simple memory game, then, but remembering which mouse is where is bit of a problem, especially if the game is played fast enough. The constant switching of places can be a bit taxing and takes some proper concentration. However, the idea is simple enough that a three-year old can figure it out and actually play competitively. Just minimize all distractions — one games was totally ruined by a TV that was on at the background, Nooa was so distracted his playing was completely random.
The game looks gorgeous, but has some usability issues. Red and orange cheese is nearly impossible to tell apart in weak light and at least my copy has blue cheese cubes matching to a mostly purple mouse. The mice are marked with small stickers, which may or may not last, but at least the game comes with a set of spares.
Kids of Carcassonne simplifies Carcassonne for four-year-olds. It’s simple enough that Nooa, three years and five months now, can play it correctly. He doesn’t really have a clue of strategy, but with some practise I’m sure it’ll come to him.
This one also looks gorgeous (and is, like Mouse Carousel, illustrated by Rolf Vogt). The tiles are extra large, as are the meeples. Every tile fits everywhere, as all have roads leading to every direction. Players try to complete roads (which is easy, as there are terminals on most tiles). Whenever a road is done, players get to place their meeples on the road, each non-terminal road piece has a picture of one of the kids. Just fill up with correct meeples, very simple. Winner is the player who first gets rid of all eight meeples. No counting involved!
Kids of Carcassonne is a winner, because it works so well with kids and adults can enjoy it, too. Actually, once we got the kids in bed yesterday, we played three quick games with Johanna. She likes the game, more than regular Carcassonne. I think it’s charming, too, but I don’t think I’d take the game to a game club, even though it’s a nice five-minute filler with adults. Regular Carcassonne can be played almost as fast and is more rarely decided by the tile draws. Still, this is a top-notch children’s game.