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Build a Beetle

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8 Reviews

Roll the dice, and put together a beetle body, a beetle head, a nose, eyes, some feelers, and feet.

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    8 Reviews
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      03.12.2011 20:49
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      Lovely game

      I bought this for my eldest daughter last Christmas, who at the time was almost 4 years old. I remember playing a similar game when I was a kid, and I thought it would appeal to her in the way it did to me, and also the bright colours of the beetles (or ladybirds as we like to call them) would really attract her attention.


      ***Build A Beetle***

      Build a Beetle is made by Chad Valley and is suitable for children aged 3 years and above, and can be played by 2-4 players. Inside the box you will find 4 beetle bodies, 4 beetle heads, 4 noses, 8 eyes, 24 legs, 1 dice, 1 storage tray and 1 instruction leaflet. The object of the game is to be the first to build your beetle.

      ***Playing the Game***

      Before you start to play the game you must separate all the little pieces and place them in the storage tray, so you can easily see where all the different bits are. Then the game can commence. To play you must throw the dice, each number on the dice represents a body part of the beetle (these are all clearly labelled on the instructions 1 = body, 2 = head, 3 = feeler, 4 = eye, 5 = nose, 6 = leg), but you can only begin once you have thrown a number 1, and then you can select a body in the colour of your choice, and really you need to throw a number 2 quite soon afterwards for the head, otherwise you cannot add any eyes, ears or feelers; but you can always add legs, providing you throw a 6.

      Each player only has one throw and then play moves onto the next player, so if you throw a number that represents a body part you already have, then play still moves onto the next player. The first player to get all body parts onto their beetle is the winner. Play can continue with the remaining players until everyone has completed their beetles.

      ***Our Experience***

      My children really enjoy playing this game, but sometimes if things are not working in their favour there can be tantrums. The first problem we encountered was trying to throw a 1 for a body to get the game started, so often we will skip this bit and everybody chooses a body before the game starts, and then it is a matter of throwing a 6 for legs, or a 2 for a head, so there is more of a chance of them throwing a number they need.

      I think this was actually the first 'proper' game we have all played together as a family, one where you have to take turns and wait patiently, and where things do not always turn out as expected. The whole idea of the game really appealed to my kids, who were 2 & 3 when we first played it, the hands on aspect of it in terms of building your own beetle is what makes it really fun, and I think the fact that the end of the game is quite an attractive result, they were willing to sit and take turns and gradually build their beetles; their patience skills actually seemed to improve during our games. But it is a game based purely on luck, not skill, and this is what frustrates my eldest - she likes to be in complete control of things, and when the dice is not working in her favour she gets really frustrated!

      The thing that surprised me was that how quickly my eldest daughter memorised what number referred to which body part. When we play I always have the instruction leaflet next to me because I can never remember what I'm doing, but she never has to ask and just reaches for the correct part each time, her memory skills are amazing and I suppose this game helps to enhance those skills.

      I found that the body parts were fairly easy to assemble for young children; my eldest had no issues with attaching the head and then the various legs and eyes etc. My youngest however, when she was just 2 years old could not get the fiddly bits onto the beetle, but now she's older she has much more control over things and can do it quite easily, only occasionally requiring assistance.

      ***Build Quality***

      I was really pleased with the quality of the items within this game, everything is made from strong plastic and so far we have only had one incident where something has broken (my daughter threw her completed beetle, for what reason I do not know, on the floor and the nose broke off and snapped, so now we have one beetle that does not have a nose, we have to use blu-tac instead). But all the items do not snap or give under pressure and unless anything else gets thrown on the floor I can see this game lasting for many years to come.


      ***Any Issues***

      The main issue I have with the Build a Beetle, is not with the game itself but with the lack of provision for somewhere safe to keep all the small parts. Yes it comes with a storage tray which is really handy for when playing the game, but once you need to pack the game away there is a very real possibility that pieces could go missing. I now use a click and lock pot for all the small parts plus the dice, so there is no chance of anything escaping.

      ***Final Thoughts and Recommendation***

      We all love this game in our family; it is simple yet challenging and really tests children's patience and number skills; the rules can be adapted to suit younger children to prevent them from getting too frustrated, so I think it is a really good family game for all ages. My children are aged 3 and 4 and we are at the stage now where we can sit down and play a full game without too many tantrums (depending on if my 4 year old is winning), and although my 3 year old still has concentration issues, she is keen on playing this game in order to get her completed beetle at the end. So I think the game offers a real incentive for children to want to sit still and concentrate.

      I recommend this game for any family with young children; I would say 3 years old is definitely the lower age limit.

      ***Availability***

      I'm struggling to find a new version of this game, but there are plenty on Ebay for varying prices.

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      • More +
        19.12.2010 22:41
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        One to try and get hold of at the right price!

        There are some board games that my children love and bore me senseless and there are others that I enjoy playing but my boys simply aren't interested in. 'Build a Beetle' is one of those little gems that truly lives up to the advertising cliche as a game 'for all the family to enjoy.' My oldest son actually received this as a present from a school friend on his fourth birthday. The fact that this has not only survived (relatively) intact since then - my son is now eight years old- and is actually still regularly played with, bears testament to the quality and fun factor of this particular game.

        The game is a dice-based game centred around four chunky plastic beetles, each comprising of a beetle 'body', head, six legs, two antennae (or 'feelers' as we call them), a nose and two eyes. I find that the most enjoyable family games are those where the rules are really simple and that certainly applies here. Basically, each player takes turns to roll the dice and each number thrown represents one of the beetle's parts so the players gradually create a beetle by attaching the correct pieces. The winner is the first player to complete an entire beetle. As there are four beetles, this can be played by between two-four players.

        Whilst this might sound like a very quick game, it is one that can actually last for quite some time, depending on the number of players and the luck of the dice. One of the frustrating (and compelling) aspects is that you do need to obtain some of the parts in a certain order. Obviously, you need a beetle body before you can start adding any of the other bits and pieces so each player needs to throw a 'one.' I'm guaranteed to spend ages trying to throw a one to get off the ground and then, as soon as I do, I keep throwing them again and again! If you do throw a number corresponding to a body part you already have enough of, it passes on to the next person. Likewise, once you have a body, you need to have the head (a number 'two') before you can start adding things like eyes, nose and feeler. This does mean that one player might start off great guns and rapidly build most of their parts but then get stuck needing just one feeler, for instance, giving the other players a chance to catch up. It really is surprisingly addictive!

        The game is purely one of luck, based entirely on the throw of a dice, with no skill required. As the basic rules are simple too this is an ideal game to play with a younger age group (although they will need repeatedly reminding which number corresponds to which body part.) The beetles themselves are easy to hold and surprisingly robust so easy for little hands to hold and attach the pieces on to with minimal adult help. Whilst the manufacturer's recommendation is that this game is suitable for children aged four and over, my three year old son is fully able to understand and play this game and really enjoys it. The only area that he needs help with is counting the number of spots on the dice, a skill which is also educational as well as fun. The obvious point to bear in mind with younger children is that some of the plastic parts are very small and are the ideal size for choking on or poking up noses, so close supervision would be needed.

        I do think this is one of the best games for early players though as they can grasp the rules easily and, even though it is a game that can't easily be 'thrown' to allow a younger child to win, we rarely have any fuss or tantrums when they don't win - they are just eager to start again. They also enjoy the building element involved in putting together the acual beetle so I think that can distract them a little from the competitive element. (It tends to be the adults that get the most competitive with this!) The other bonus is that setting up time is pretty minimal so less time for kids (and parents) to get bored and lose interest between games. Even better, from an adult's perspective, no batteries are required so the game can be played again and again and again...This really is a classic board game and is one that inevitably gets dragged out whenever we have friends or relatives around, as adults get equally drawn into this as much as our kids.

        The only drawbacks to this game relate solely to the packaging, rather than the game play itself. The game has lots of tiny little parts as there are four beetles with all their body parts - you do the maths! The game comes with a handy little tray, complete with different compartments, so that the parts can be laid out ready for the game. Unfortunately, the tray does not have a lid so, after playing, all the pieces are just loose in the box. As our game is so old and well loved, the box is slightly battered and some of the smaller pieces are able to sneak out of the bottom of the box and make good their escape. I've lost track of the number of times I've rescued random feelers and beetle noses from under the sofa or inside the hoover! At the minute, we've only got enough pieces for three players as we're missing so many legs, eyes and feelers. This would be so easy for Chad Valley to rectify - it simply needs a little plastic lid to go over the tray and all the pieces would be safely contained between games, prolonging the life of the game and making my life easier too! It would be a relatively inexpensive addition so I really can't see why they don't include a lid, to be honest.

        The only other minor irritation relates to the rules sheet. The basic instructions (including the crucial list of which dice number relates to which body part) are printed on a loose sheet of paper which was inside the box. Unsurprisingly, that paper has long since vanished and, although we are fairly confident about the numbering after playing this so often, we do always end up with an argument over whether it's an eye or a nose that corresponds to a number five or so on. (Admittedly, it's usually whoever is losing that brings this up!) To avoid this, I've now re-written the numbers and stuck them to the base of the actual box. Again, this is such a minor and easily remedied issue. We own lots of games where the instructions are printed on the box itself and it just makes things easier for the players (and parents) as it is one less thing to get mislaid. Chad Valley have been going for years - they've actually been producing a version of this game since the 1960's- so surely they could have addressed these simple but irritating issues by now!

        Being a Chad Valley branded product, I thought we might have heard the last of the brand following the demise of the Woolworth's stores. Fortunately, many Chad Valley games are now stocked in Argos. Surprisingly, although I noticed Build a Beetle was featured in the previous Argos catalogue it is not available in the current one. I find that surprising as it was such a fun little game selling for around the £5/£6 mark. Now, I'm struggling to find this on the market other than overpriced sets via a Marketplace seller on Amazon or on eBay. I sincerely hope that this is still being manufactured as it is one of our favourite games!

        Given its limited availability, if you spot 'Build a Beetle' for sale anywhere for a reasonable price, I would recommend snapping it up immediately (and investing in a small lidded box for the pieces.) It really is a game that provides hours of fun for a surprisingly wide age range and comes highly recommended.

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          27.10.2009 21:20
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          Highly Recommended

          Build a Beetle is a brilliant boad game for families with young kids. I bet it's especially useful for families with more than one under five, thanks to how simple it is to learn to play. It's made by Chad Valley, and is available from Argos for only £5.99. I think that's a bargain buy for keeping the kids happy on a Sunday afternoon, and it would be a great idea for Christmas too.

          The aim of the game is simply to be the one to build a beetle first. You get four beetle bodies included in the box, along with a plastic tray full of beetle parts and a dice. Each player rolls the dice in turn, and as soon as they role a number one they can start to build their beetle. There's then a clear instruction leaflet showing you which numbers you have to role to choose which beetle parts next. A number two gets you a head, a three gets you a feeler, a four gets an eye, five gets a nose and six gets a leg. You don't have to role any of these in turn aside from that very first number one to get a body.

          There are no extra rules and there are no game tactics involved here either. It's all about the luck of the dice, meaning every family member stands an equal chance of winning. I like this from the point of view of being able to play in a competitive spirit, instead of us adults having to try to deliberately play badly whilst making the kids think we're really trying hard to win!

          The plastic beetle pieces included are all sturdy and good quality. There are four different coloured beetles included, and the parts are mostly made of bright yellow. I like it when toys make use of bright colours like this as it helps to catch and hold the attention of little ones. I think it would be easier if the body parts were different colours though, rather than all being yellow as it can be hard to tell a leg from a feeler when they're all heaped in a pile.

          Despite that little gripe, you really can't find much to grumble about for £6. This is well designed, good fun and very easy for younsters to play. I highly recommend it to everyone with a child aged four to seven years, and I'm sure slightly older children won't mind playing along with younger siblings as well.

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            24.06.2007 23:42
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            Nice stocking filler

            My daughter turned the grand old age of five years old last week and had a birthday party on saturday with all her friends. She was a very lucky little girl and received lots of presents so that's my next few reviews taken care of!

            One of her friends bought the game build a beetle. I had never heard of this game before it is produced by Chad Valley and can be purchased from Woolworth's.

            I did some price checking and it retails for about £6.99 but currently on offer for £5.99.

            The box contains:
            4 beetle bodies
            4 beetle heads
            4 noses
            8 eyes
            8 feelers
            24 feet
            1 die
            Game storage
            instruction sheet

            The game is very easy to play and the winner is the first to build up a beetle. Throw a one for the body, two for the head, three for the feeler, four for an eye, five for a nose and six for a leg.

            The game is aimed at children aged 4+ and can have up to 4 players.

            ~Summary~

            My daughter and I have had great fun with playing build a beetle although after 3 games we both started to get a little bored. This game is very easy to play but because it is so simple can be a little repetitive and tiresome. Problem would be more fun with more players!

            The price is quite reasonable would make a nice little stocking filler for christmas. There are lots of little parts to the game and will easily get lost in the toy cupboard, I have put them in re-sealable sandwich bags to keep them all together.

            To be honest I have mixed feelings about this game as there are many other children's games on the market which will last longer and be played more. Unfortunately they will also cost twice as much as this one.

            I would personally buy it for a rainy day treat or a stocking filler. I don't think my daughter will play it much because she enjoys a more challenging game.

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              24.02.2006 13:57
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              A popular ,classic game

              Like most children my 3 –year old loves to play simple games with me. He likes it even better when he wins and is a dab hand at finding ways to ensure he does!

              I always buy a few new games for Christmas and this year I bought the game build a beetle. There are several versions of this popular game and all are similar. The version I choose is by Chad Valley and exclusively available from Woolworth’s. I paid £ 3.99 during a promotional offer period.

              What do you get for your money?
              ****************************
              The game comes in a fairly compact square box making it easy to store. Inside the box are 4 plastic beetle bodies, 4 beetle heads, 4 noses, 8 eyes, 8 feelers, 24 feet and 1 dice. There is also a storage tray and an instruction sheet.

              The object of the game is very simply to be the first to build up a beetle. The first player has to throw a 1 to choose a beetle body. Each number thrown represents a different beetle part. For example throw a 6 and you can add a leg.

              The parts are made of coloured plastic and seem very durable.

              The verdict
              ***********
              For the money this game is a real winner. It is simple to play and does not last too long. It is good for teaching early maths and my son can now recognise the number patterns on a dice. It is also good for teaching co-operation, as you have to wait your turn. Any game that is still played regularly several months after it arrives in our home gets the thumbs up!

              The plastic storage tray supplied is useful to store all the beetle parts before you start to play the game. My son enjoys sorting them out into the correct section, another useful early mathematical skill.
              The box states that the game is suitable from age 4. As there are small parts I always supervise my son when this game is out. As he gets older I hope he will continue to play the game with his older brother.

              I would recommend this game as a great addition to any toy cupboard!

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                27.11.2001 22:38
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                Firstly a tip, do not buy this game, like Yahtzee, you just do not need to. Beetle can be bought in fancy sets and they do have the advantage of being colourful but ultimately it is a game which you can play with just a pad of paper and pencil for each player and a dice. The objective is to build or draw the picture of a beetle. The picture to be complete must comprise the body, a head, two antenna or feelers, two eyes, a tail and six legs. Now you will have to agree on your own local rules but basically this is what we do. 1) You must throw a six to start and with it you can draw the body of the beetle, 2) Having thrown the 6 you must get the right number for each subsequent body part, I would suggest a 2 for the head and you must get this before you can add an eye (by throwing a 3 ) or a feeler (by throwing a 4). The tail is gained by throwing a 5 and each leg by throwing a 1. Obviously if you get your 6 first you have a good chance of winning but it is not necessarily so. You can sometimes be frustrated with the last one or two parts you need to complete your beetle. It is a game all ages can play. You can have prizes for playing it at childrens parties. You can play in pairs or more if you have a lot of guests or boys versus girls. It is good fun and really simple to play.

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                  13.06.2001 05:41
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                  Beetle, is the name of the game rowdy behaviour is usually the result! well it is for us on Boxing day. All of the family (which is naturally growing in numbers) decend on my aunties house to play Beetle. We have three stations to play at with an even number of people at each station. A dice is thrown by each player in turn very quickly and each dice reading represents part of the beetle. (it has 1 head,1 body 1 tail, 2 feelers, 2 eyes, and 6 legs) you start on a 6 which is the body, and once this has been achieved the other parts are added as the numbers come up on the dice that correspond with the body parts. You play in pairs opposite each other and the winning pair move onto the next station for the next 'heat' but don't play with each other this time. THE REALLY FUN BIT, as we all get quite wellied! we get louder and louder as the dice gets rolled faster and faster. The great release coming at the amazing yell of Beetle!!! when you have completed a picture.If you need just one part for a while the release of shouting is fantastic. The winner of the night can be pre determined and written down in a hidden place as 'the person with the most tails' for eaxmple so its not necessarily having complete beetles that makes you the winner. This game can be played with very little 'outlay' as you need pens paper and some dice. As long as you agree the form of the beetle before hand. It is a game that children and adults can play together at the same level, and its good clean fun!

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                  • More +
                    21.04.2001 22:52
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                    This is based on beatle drive. The object of the game is to be the first to build your beatle. you collect the various body parts by roling a dice and ataching the body part with the corresponing number. You cant attach feelers until you have got the head to attach them to. this is a good game, but you can have just as much fun using paper and pencil to draw the bodypart rather than fork out for this game. the bodies and heads are of decent quality, and the appendages are bendy and so are hard waring. Unfortunately, they can get lost easily, and there are no spares. This can end up with you not being able to have 4 people playing, where as with the pen and paper version, it's only limited by how many you can fit round a table. if you want to play this game, get the rules off a game site and use paper, it will cost you less, and you can always use the paper for something else if you cahnge your mind

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