I may have mentioned before that we enjoy board games — we’re big fans of the likes of Settlers of Catan. Introducing our kids to games that are genuinely fun for the whole family and don’t start wars *cough*Monopoly*cough* seems a worthy pursuit. So when I saw there was a game version of the excellent Press Here book, suitable for toddlers but able to provide “hours of entertainment for the whole family,” I figured it was meant to be.
Press Here - The Game
Value for money
This game is ok, but nowhere near as awesome as the book it takes after, and while fun for small children it's not really as family-friendly as claimed. It has plenty of potential for teaching colours, patterns and other useful skills but I reckon you could as easily buy some cheap counters and make up your own games to achieve those goals.
Unfortunately, in the oh-so-common way of off-shoot products, the game disappointed me. It’s almost unrelated to the book, except for the (pleasing) design, and is definitely too advanced for my toddler.
Gameplay is based around a set of boards, which have various patterns, colours and dots on them, with either three or six empty spots for counters. Players take turns to draw a counter from the bag and place it in a way that forms a pattern. This is open to interpretation — so long as the player can explain/justify their pattern to the other players it’s acceptable. Each board has to have a consistent pattern, and the player who puts the last counter on the board (i.e. the third or sixth) claims the board. The first player to collect six boards wins.
It’s not terrible — I can see a lot of potential for learning and discussion for slightly older kids. And counters are fun, so our Little Monkey has already spent a lot of time playing with it. So there’s plenty of merit.
My main gripe is that it is marketed as a game that is fun for everyone. Now, I know that’s a very tall order, but that’s what I was working from. It was oversold. And frankly, it’s a series of printed cards and some cardboard counters. I’m not asking for plastic houses and hotels and fake money like the aforementioned harbinger of doom (okay, maybe that’s taking it a bit far… We’ll save that moniker for Risk), but for $20 (on special!) I expect a bit more.
It is partly my fault. It’s recommended for toddlers, and the promo blurb talks about how it can be modified for younger players, so I assumed that included my toddler. Yep, it does also say “Ages 3+” in big letters on the front of the box. I overlooked that — that’s on me. But even the easy option — using three spots instead of six — is far beyond my two-year-and-four-month-old. He can sort by colour and likes placing the dots randomly but is still fairly abstract in his thinking. I struggle to believe that he’d be capable of understanding patterns and logic, even at a basic level and with intensive support, by his next birthday. I guess there would be some kids who might — my Young Engineer nephew might have managed it. But they’d be the minority.
It’s a clever concept, and I’m sure at some point we will enjoy the game. But I think there are better ways to spend this kind of money — and I reckon the marketing blurb is way off the mark.
Awesome or Average: Average
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