Friday, May 31, 2024

ROVE, By Button Shy / Even Toys And Games - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Wallet game 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️    

Recommended age:   8 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Strategy gamers 

ROVE is probably the toughest Button Shy game I’ve tested so far. This is a game that will sure fascinate strategy gamers that love something challenging. Thank you Even Toys And Games for providing this! 

Why I love ❤️ it: 

(1) Solo Game For Strategy Thinkers 

ROVE is a solo game for thinkers! The game starts with 6 module cards laid out in a 2×3 grid. The rest of the cards serve dual purposes as movement and pattern cards. First, reveal a pattern card (which features one specific module icon and several general locations around it where any modules can be placed). Now, move the 6 modules into position to match the pattern. Each module has specific way it moves. You also need to play 1 or more movement cards (5 cards in your hand to choose from) that will give you between 1 to 5 movement points each to move your modules. Each card has 2 numbers: if your modules match the pattern on the movement card, you can earn the higher movement points. The BEST thing? Each module also has a 1-time special power that is super helpful! Once you completed a pattern, discard all used movement cards, and draw another pattern card along with an additional movement card. You win when you’ve completed 7 patterns before movement cards run out. 

(2) One-Time Use Special Abilities 

I LOVE the strategy element! You need to tackle difficult module (such as “Coil” card that can only move when leap over another). Special abilities are super useful, but each can only be used once per game, so - spend wisely! You can swap 2 modules, move any module 1 space, place the crappy Coil in any valid location, and more! 

(3) Expansion Sets Included 

This version from @eventoysandgames also includes expansion sets - in “Fascinating Flora”, you get 6 Movement Cards that refresh spent Module abilities. Fancy something more difficult? Use “Icy” pack to freeze your modules, “Alien” that makes all modules copy a specific Module’s movement, and “Cosmic” with anti-pattern rule. There is also a “Crawler” pack with modules that crawl around other Modules. 

(4) Cool Artwork 

I love the quirky artwork, and how the completed Mission Cards form a cool panoramic image. Each movement card also has handy marks on edges to help us track the movement points. 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this:

Check out my other reviews on Button Shy games: 

Enjoy the video! 

Friday, May 24, 2024

WordXchange, By Prodijeux - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Board game 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 
Recommended age:   10 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Board-gamers who enjoy Scrabble / word games. 

Are you a quick-witted word game enthusiast looking for next-level challenge to unleash your inner competitiveness? Then - “WordXchange” by Prodijeux is THE GAME for YOU (thank you Divisible by Zero for another incredible game!) 

Why I love ❤️ this game: 

(1) Intense Word Game - Stealing Is Allowed! 

At a quick glance, you might think this is just another “scrabble-variant”; Whilst there are some similarities (such as the letter tiles in drawstring bag set-up), I find WordXchange a tougher game - more “cut-throat”, more intense, more unpredictable. The set contains 126 letter tiles (125 letters and 1 joker). The game starts with 5 randomly drawn letter tiles on central board. On each turn, player adds a new tile to the pool, and tries to make words using the tiles before the one-minute timer is up. The catch: stealing is a legitimate move in this new twist of anagram game! For example, if your opponent made a word “OAT, you can steal the word, add a letter “C, reshuffles the tiles and turns it into another word (eg “COAT” or “TACO”). All words must have at least 3-letters long, and we can’t steal a noun simply by adding a “S” and turns it into a plural form. The winner is the first to make and line up 6 words.

(2) Cool & Gorgeous Components! 

I love the mousepad size central board that doesn’t take up much table space. Formed words are displayed on white easels (14 included), facing the central board. It’s like a battle between gladiators, standing guard around an arena, waiting to crush your rivals whilst fighting for the last word! I love the transparent blue tiles. I also like that the letter distribution is printed on the central board for easy reference. 

(3) Joker Tile For Strategy

The joker tile elevates the strategy element of the game! Like Scrabble, it can represent any letter. However, in WordXchange, you can use it to “steal” a word by changing the value of the joker + adding a tile + re-arranging your opponent’s word. We can also replace the joker tile with a letter from the board, and use that joker tile to make a new word. 

(4) Elegant Velvety Black Drawstring Bag 

The drawstring bag is elegantly-done in velvety black. A timer is included, and the 12-page game rules include game strategies to truly master the game! 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: (Australia) (Australia) 

Enjoy the video! 

Wooden 3D Puzzle - Eiffel Tower, By Funyards Australia - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Wooden building kit 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️   

Recommended age:   7 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Kids that love building/ construction set and puzzles 

Wooden 3D puzzle has always been one of our favourite activity sets - it combines problem-solving, concentration, dexterity, and creativity all in one kit. Funyards Australia has a range of 3D puzzle designs that I can’t wait share with everyone in the coming few weeks! Today, allow me to introduce this - “Wooden 3D Puzzle - Eiffel Tower”. 

Why I love ❤️ this set: 

(1) 21-Piece Wooden Building Kit 

The set comes with two wooden sheets with removable laser-cut plywood pieces and a single-page assembly instructions guide. That’s it - no extra gadgets or any other fancy accessories! First, gently push out the laser cut wooden pieces (there is a total of 21 individual pieces - all can be easily popped out without any tools). Next, follow the illustrated guide to snap and connect the pieces together to build your Eiffel Tower model - starting from the four “arched legs” as base, with the structure slowly curves inwards, and finally meeting as a slim, tapered tower at the top. The entire process took us around 15 minutes in total - it was quick and delightful to build, almost stress-free, and gave the kids a sense of achievement! 

(2) Iconic Eiffel Tower Structure

I really love the details of the puzzle structure - it has symmetrical gaps / holes on the “tower” to represent the lattice architectural design which is so iconic of Eiffel Tower. Based on my rough measurement, this model stands around 30 cm in height, and 12 cm x 12 cm for its base. This is a good size - it doesn’t take up too much space, but is sufficiently large enough as a visible decorative item on desk or shelf. 

(3) Laser-Cut Plywood Sheets 

The plywood sheets are laser-cut, precisely done with joints for easy connection between the pieces. No glue is needed for this project, and there is a small piece of sand paper included for the kids to experience the process of smoothing a woodcraft. 

(4) Flat-Pack + Easy-To-Follow Instructions 

I love that the puzzle is flat-pack with minimal packaging. The instructions is clearly illustrated, all pieces are labeled on the guide and are easily identifiable. Our 7 year-old was able to build it independent without too much trouble. According to the information included, this product passed CE and ASTM test. 

# gifted in exchange to review 

Check out my reviews on other similar wooden building kits from Funyards Australia: 

Where to buy this: 

Funyards Australia 

Enjoy the video! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Cluck, Cluck! The Fox! - Pocket Game, By Londji - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Board game for kids 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️  

Recommended age:   4 - 8 year-old 

Who would love this: Kids that love cooperative games 

Londji makes the most beautiful games. Gorgeously illustrated and creatively designed, Londji games are created for kids and kids-at-heart who love a touch of magic. Today, I would love to share about “Cluck, Cluck! The Fox! - Pocket Game” (thank you Antipoda Co for providing a copy). 

Why I love ❤️ this game: 

(1) Mission-Driven: Work Together To Save The Eggs & Chickens

This is a smaller, pocket-version of the “Cluck, Cluck! The Fox” game. I love the mission-driven theme: players work together as an awesome dream team to save the eggs and chicken before the sneaky fox arrives. To set up the game: place 4 egg tokens in each of the 6 “nests”, and slot in a chicken (6 in total) at the side of each nest to protect the eggs. The fox is placed at the starting point of a winding road (that leads to the henhouse where the precious eggs and chickens are placed). Players take turn to roll the dice and perform the indicated action. When the dice shows a single egg, player collects an egg from one of the nests and moves it into an “egg box”. If 2 eggs are shown, player removes 2 eggs from a same nest (not from two different nests). When a “chicken” is rolled, we “save” a chicken when the nest it is guarding is empty (ie if all the eggs had been collected). When a fox is rolled, the crafty fox moves one space forward on the path towards the coop. 

(2) Straightforward Game For Young Kids 

I love how straightforward, non-overthinking this game is - which is quite perfect for kids of the age of around four-year-old ++. But, the game is more than just pure luck. To win this game, our young players need a combination of counting skills, rules-following, decision-making, cooperative work, and a small hint of strategy/ tactical moves. 

(3) Travel-Easy, Pocket Game Version 

This is a pocket game in travel-easy, minimalist format, yet it retains the playfulness of the original game. Londji games are designed and manufactured in Spain. The components are made from sustainably sourced / FSC paper and recycled cardboard, printed with vegetable ink. The set also comes with a cotton bag for easy storage of small items. Londji is a brand that takes pride of its sustainability mission. They are “toys with soul” indeed, where every details is taken care of. 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: 

Antipoda Co (Australia) 

Check out my reviews on other Londji games: 

Enjoy the video! 

Monday, May 20, 2024

Make A Mooove!, by FlexiQ Games - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:           Board game for kids 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Recommended age:   5 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Kids who love speed and quick, fun games! 

“Make A Mooove!” from FlexiQ Games is a speed game that gets your mind working (and twisting) and challenges the inter-connectedness of your brain neurons. It’s a game for all ages! Thank you VR Distribution for another awesome recommendation! 

Why I love ❤️ this game: 

(1) Speed Game That Gets Your Mind Working & Twisting! 

This is a fast game that tricks your mind! Included within are 40 fruit cards (each contains 6 different fruits that appears in different quantities between 3 to 8 times), 4 dice, and a game instruction. In the “Standard Level” rules, we roll 1 of each number die, animal die and fruit die simultaneously. Now compared the dice against the top fruit card, and shout out the fruit that appears that number of times as per the number die. Eg - if you roll a “4”, and you see 4 bananas on the card - shout “banana” to win the card. But, here’s the twist: if you also roll a “banana” on the fruit dice, then instead of yelling the fruit name, make the sound of the animal that appears on the animal die (eg. “moo” for cow). This game needs fast reaction, precision (trust me, it’s not easy to group and count fruits under pressure!), and lightning quick observation! 

(2) Advanced Level Option With 4 Dice 

If you are playing with an older kid who prefers something more challenging- there is a “4 Dice” advanced level option. The game rules are substantially the same, save that now we mix in an extra fruit die. If both the fruit dice show the same fruit, players must ignore the other 2 dice and yell out the number of times that fruit appears on the card instead! This version is hilariously confusing and demands 100% focus! 

(3) Adjust Difficulty Level With Easy Starter Variant 

If all these are getting too overwhelming for your kids - you can also adjust the difficulty level and do a “1-Die” Simple option. Choose either a number die or fruits die only, and get your kids to name the fruit that match the number die / or yell the number of time a fruit appears on card. I’m loving the flexibility and “adaptability” of the game to suit different age groups and skill levels! 

(4) Cute & Adorable Artwork

I’m loving the cute and eye-catching graphics. The animals are fun and silly, and who can resist a game with lots of juicy strawberries and tropical pineapples? Yum! 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) 

Enjoy the video! 

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Cortex Challenge- Disney Edition, By Zygomatic Games - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Challenge game for kids 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️   

Recommended age:   6 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Kids that love a brain challenge / collectors of anything Disney  

There are a few different Cortex versions - fast-paced, with similar game rules, challenge the cognitive brainpower of players, and each with a different theme and target audience. Today, let’s talk about “Cortex Challenge- Disney Edition” from Zygomatic Games (a collectible for any classic Disney lovers!). Thank you VR Distribution for sending this over! 

Why I love ❤️ this game: 

(1) 80 Challenge Cards Covering Multiple Areas! 

This set includes 80 challenge cards, 10 raised touch cards, 6 brain puzzles (24 pieces), and a rules booklet. Cortex is all about being quick-witted and sharp with the brain! Players race to complete a series of 8 challenges. Every time a player completes 2 of the same type, they get to acquire a quarter of a mini brain puzzle. The first person who completes the 4-piece brain puzzle wins the game. The challenges include identifying the matching reflection of a Disney character, the lasso that contains the most characters, the repeated character, an object that appears the most on a card, the odd character, characters joined by a maze, a memory test (naming 4 characters), and a “Touch challenge”. This is a game where players need to think fast, slam quick, and get the right answer in speed (although we did modify the rule so that both the kids get an equal opportunity to win and shine). 

(2) Touch Challenge With Tactile Cards 

The “Touch Challenge” is no doubt the kids’ favourite! They love touching the tactile cards (treasure chest, accordion, compartments of buttons, bowl of spaghetti noddles, etc) and doing a guess within 10 seconds. The challenge is harder than what it appears! 

(3) Classic Disney Theme 

Most importantly, the challenge cards are in Disney theme, covering the classics (101 Dalmatians, The Aristocrats, Bambi, Dumbo, Lady and the Tramp, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, Pinocchio, Lilo & Stitch). As a classic lover, I am all excited about this game! However, the kids are not familiar with these old animated films, and that makes some of the challenges slightly more difficult for them (eg naming the characters, and identifying the odd character). I think Disney is such a cool Cortex theme, and I can’t wait to see a potential new Cortex version in future covering some of the more modern Disney favourites! 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) 

Enjoy the video! 

Creagami - Cat Origami Kit, By CreativaMente - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Craft kit 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️   

Recommended age:   7 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Craft/ origami lovers!  

“Mum! We glued the eyes crooked, and now the kitten looks FUNNY!” - and the kids laughed SO HARD that they nearly rolled onto the ground. 🤦🏻‍♀️😅 As you can see, Creagami by CreativaMente is not just about the outcome. It’s about the building process - the patience, the concentration, the teamwork. Today, I would love to share about another Large Creagami set - “Cat Origami Kit” (thank you Divisible by Zero for sponsoring this set)! 

Why I love ❤️ it: 

(1) Large Cat Model Built With 632 Modular Units

If you have never seen a Creagami set before, it’s essentially an all-in-one modular origami set that involves two-stage paper folding technique. This set includes numerous craft papers with perforated lines, mostly in black and white (and some small sections in red and pink), and a few extra accessories (paper whiskers and eyes). The first stage is probably the most “daunting” and time consuming part. Guide by the perforated lines, we first separated the pre-cut papers into individual pieces, and then we folded them into modular units. To make this cat, we needed 632 of these modules! Once again, I got my two minions (5 and 7 year-old) to help out with the folding. Each unit requires only a few quick folds, and the pre-scored lines make the job a breeze for us! 

(2) Step-By-Step Video Guide 

The second and final stage is to assemble the units into an integrated 3D model. First, scan the QR Code that will lead you to a YouTube video; Now, follow the step-by-step tutorial video to slot and insert the units to build the cat! The boy loves learning the different slotting techniques (normal, inverted, insert, empty pocket etc). It was amazing to watch the cat coming into life, bit-by-bit. This Cat model is slightly more challenging than the previous Owl model I shared - the “neck” section is hard to build, we couldn’t properly connect the tail (we cheated - we used glue to secure it in the end), and we didn’t do the “eyes” correctly. 🤣 But overall, we enjoyed the process thoroughly! 

(3) Made In Italy - Quality Craft Set! 

As usual, we are very impressed with the interlocking technique, the strength, and the flexibility of the model. Creagami set is made in Italy, and nicely packaged in a cardboard box. 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: (Australia) 

Check out my other reviews on Creagami: 

Enjoy the video! 

City Planner Puzzle, By Funyards Australia - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Wooden puzzle 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️  

Recommended age:   7 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Brainteasers/ puzzle lovers 

I am enchanted by this City Planner Puzzle since the first time I set my eyes on it. It’s a 3D vertical artwork that resembles a densely populated urban landscape of skyscrapers and high-rises. It’s abstract, yet strangely beautiful. Thank you Funyards Australia for sending this over. 

Why I love ❤️ it: 

(1) Packing Puzzle With 9 Unique Pieces + City Theme 

This is a classic packing puzzle but with a three-dimensional touch. The puzzle comes with a wooden base with frames at 4 sides, 9 unique puzzle pieces, and a dowel pin. First, place the pin into any of the holes in the base. Now, let’s the challenge begin! Build a “city” around it using the 9 puzzle pieces, arrange them so that each will fit perfectly within the frame. All of the pieces are uniquely carved, with different shapes to create various placement combinations. The key is to observe the base of each piece, and “re-imagine” them as various shapes formed with 2D squares. The aim is to arrange these shapes to fit into a base of 7x7 grid. This is a refreshing and atheistic take of a classic puzzle. 

(2) 13 Challenges & Easy Setting-Up 

I love that there are 13 challenges in this set, and it’s super easy to set it up! Simply place the dowel pin in one of the 13 holes in the base, and get cracking! This is a brainteaser to sharpen critical thinking, encourage problem-solving, enhance visual perception, perfect hand-eye coordination. And if you ever get stuck - fear not! There is a one-page illustrated solutions included for all 13 challenges! 

(3) Stunning Art Piece Of Cityscape 

I am captivated by the beautiful shades of the wooden pieces - some have a natural darker grain, a few with lighter timber colours, and a few towers are painted in stunning red to give the cityscape a multi-layered, artistic touch. The final outcome looks different each time we re-assemble it. 

(4) Long-Lasting Wooden Puzzle With Fantastic Craftmanship 

The craftsmanship is precise and fantastic. Each puzzle pieces are carefully cut in impressive precision, smoothly-finished to high quality. Like other Funyards Australia products - this brainteaser set is lovingly-handmade by local artisans in Thailand. It is built for long-lasting play, durable and solid. It’s both a stimulating wooden puzzle and an artistic display at home.

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: 

Funyards Australia 

Check out more reviews of similar wooden puzzle sets from Funyards Australia: 

Enjoy the video! 

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Numberblocks Rainbow Counting Bus, By hand2mind - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Numberblocks-themed bus 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️  

Recommended age:   3 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Numberblocks fans! 

Numberblocks holds a special place in our hearts; it helps the kids visualise complex maths concepts through adorable storylines and characters, and master number skills in a cute and fun way! Introducing this new Numberblocks Rainbow Counting Bus from hand2mind (thank you Clover Street for providing it). 

Why I love ❤️ it?:  

(1) Interactive Rainbow Counting Bus With 7 Seats 

In this set, you get an interactive Rainbow Counting Bus and everyone’s favourite character “Seven”. Lucky “Seven” has 7 rainbow cubes (from red to violet) and 7 strings of multicoloured hair. He’s joyous, fearless, always ready to help - and definitely your top driver choice for some fun-filled adventures. The sky blue bus has 6 passenger seats plus a driver seat. It doesn’t come with the other Numberblocks characters,  but we can add the figures separately from the “Numberblocks Friends” playsets. I tested it with all the figures from “One” through “Ten” - they all fit well in the bus seats. 

(Apart from "Seven", other Numberblocks characters not included in the set)

(2) 12 Sounds Including Numberblocks Theme Song 

I avoid noisy toys like how my kids avoid broccoli. 😂 This bus comes with songs and sounds - BUT fear not, it is nowhere near the annoying type. The 12 sounds consist of counting from 1 to 7 by the respective character, few lines from the catchy Numberblocks theme song, a “Seven” song from the episode “Just Add One”, some short horn honking sound, and engine noises. There are 2 sound levels, and we can also switch the sound off. 2 AAA batteries are included. It took me a while to find the sound button - FYI:  it’s the press-able rainbow grate on the front of the bus. 

(3) Cute Features Including Fold-Out Rainbow & Hopscotch 

I love the few thoughtful features included in the bus to increase its playability. There is a slider at the top front for the kids to select their destination (eg picnic, castle, circus, seaside etc). The wheels are rollable, and the rear folds out to reveal a full rainbow, and a “hopscotch” area with numbers 1 to 7. 

(4) Stickers To Customise Your Bus 

You will also find a sticker sheet in the set for the kids to customise their bus. The kids had a blast decorating the bus with numberlings, number symbols, rainbow wheels, rainbow plate, backpacks, luggage, and more! Well, what can I say? This is a collectible for any true Numberblocks fan! 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: (Australia) 

Check out my other reviews of Numberblocks products from hand2mind: 

Enjoy the video! 

Creagami- Owl Origami Kit, By CreativaMente - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Craft kit 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️  

Recommended age:   7 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Craft/ origami lovers  

We have done a few Creagami sets from CreativaMente in the past (Dragon, Butterfly, Penguin, Ladybug). We LOVE the wisdom behind the folding mechanism. This time, we challenged ourselves with a LARGE  set - “Owl Origami Kit”. I think I have just found my favourite craft kit! Thank you Divisible by Zero, this is amazing! 

Why I love ❤️ it: 

(1) Large Model Built With 657 Modular Units 

This is the largest model I have ever built with Creagami, and I’m so glad to have my two recruited minions (5 and 7 year-old) helping with this project! The set includes craft paper sheets (purple, green, black, white, yellow), and a pair of paper eyes. The craft papers have perforated lines which can be separated into individual pieces, and be folded into modular units (to make this owl, you need 657 modules). The folding of basic units is probably the most “unexciting” part - it’s repetitive, but strangely, relaxing. Each of the module requires only a few quick folds, and the pre-scored lines make the folding a real breeze! There is an illustrative guide included for this. 

(2) Step-By-Step Video Guide 

Once the individual units are done, the REAL FUN begins! First, scan the QR Code and follow the tutorial video with step-by-step guide for the owl-building / paper slotting process. It’s a test of patience, concentration, and dexterity. It’s also an incredibly therapeutic experience - watching the beautiful purple owl coming into life, row by row - starting from the base, claws, chest, to head, before adding the final touches (yellow beak and gluing the eyes). I love the clever differentiation of colours (white chest and purple back intertwined with hint of black), the distinctive yellow claws and beaks, the almost “heart-shaped” face typical of an owl, and the “feathery” ear tufts at the top that gives the owl a really “smart” look. I’m very happy with the overall outcome. This is a two-day project that gives us a sense of achievement and remarkable bonding time. 

(3) Amazing Interlocking Techniques With Strength 

The interlocking technique gives strength to the paper model and also sufficient flexibility for us to “mould” the owl into the right shape. Creagami set is made in Italy, and nicely packaged in a cardboard box. 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: (Australia) 

Check out my other reviews on Creagami: 

Enjoy the video!