Friday, September 25, 2015

{Review} USAopoly: Wonky & Tapple

We've always had difficulties convincing our now 13 year old daughter to play games which were obviously learning games. It isn't that Amber is adverse to learning, but she often found the games forced or too heavy on the learning portion to enjoy it. She would have preferred we simply called the activity what it was - school.

Recently we had the opportunity to try out a couple of fun family games from USAopoly which just so happen to qualify as learning games as well. Both Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game and Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone provide hours of family fun while encouraging hands on learning.

For the purpose of this review we received both games, Wonky and Tapple. These are old fashioned, play-together-at-a-table family games without any digital components at all. Both games are rated for ages 8 years old and up, and need at least two people to play.

Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game
Wonky reminded us of a crazy, confused stacking type game. There are three sizes of blocks in three different colors. The goal of the game is to be the first one who uses up all their cards before the tower of blocks falls.

The game is played by selecting a Wonky Card from the cards dealt to you at the beginning of the game. Each card indicates a size or color of block that needs to be played. There are a few special action cards too that can be quite useful at times - like skipping yourself in the current round. If none of your cards match up to the available remaining blocks, then you must take your luck drawing from the stack.

Decisions, decisions. Making her placement, then smirking when I failed to complete my turn.
The kicker to this game is the shape of the blocks. They are not perfect squares and instead have some flat sides and some rounded sides. This means depending on how nice the first player is, you could topple the stack by the second block - which I did.

Amber absolutely loved Wonky. She whipped me every single game and was none too bashful about her victories either. I've never enjoyed any stacking game, but Wonky had just enough of a twist to make it entirely different. Amber, on the other hand, has been stacking blocks and other toys since she was a baby. She's always loved these types of games. Clearly, I need to spend a bit more time stacking.

Ready to start another game, and Amber celebrating her victory. She was out of cards almost immediately due to a bunch of special action cards.

Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone
In contrast to the crazy Wonky game, Tapple is much more orderly although it is a fast paced game. To win at Tapple you must be the last one who has not run out of time to come up with a needed word during their turn.

The game uses a couple of batteries (not included) to run the timer portion, but the rest of the letter buttons are mechanical. The game also comes with category cards one of which is used per round. The cards have easier categories one one side and harder on the opposite. Each side lists two categories for the players to decide between before game play starts.

Pouting like her dad when she lost, and other game play.
During their turn, each player has 30 seconds to come up with a word which matches the category and fits a remaining unused letter on the Tapple wheel. The player must say the word, push down the corresponding letter, and hit the red button in the center to restart the timer. If this is all completed before the buzzer sounds, play immediately passes to the next player. 

If you win a round of Tapple, you keep the category card next to you. The first player with three earned category cards, wins the game. 

We had quite a few rousing games of Tapple at our house. Amber and I played several times, just the two of us. Thankfully, my vocabulary is still larger than hers and I was able to win a few games, but she still got a few over on me too. 

Family play. They are doing their identical smirks because I was eliminated, giving them a chance.
We  also played as a family one afternoon with some hilarious results. Fred is simply not as competitive as Amber or me nor was he terribly concerned with answering quickly the first few rounds of play. Eventually he caught on and even won an entire game, much to the chagrin of Amber and myself.

If you're looking for a couple of unplugged, family games that happen to include a little earning, then both Wonky and Tapple from USAopoly are the perfect fit.

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