A few years ago my brother received a game for Christmas called Cranium, which was a really fun game for all the family to enjoy as everyone could get involved and it was a really lively game. My mum noticed a game a few months ago at a car boot sale and the first thing she noticed about it was the Cranium logo at the top so she decided to snap it up thinking that it would be a good one like the other we had.
The game was Balloon Lagoon and being a Cranium game I had quite high expectations! Looking at the box it would seem that this is an extremely fun game as it is brightly coloured featuring the Cranium characters (alien, star, worm and dog (?)) at a carnival. The title of the game is in very large red bubble style text at the top of the game under the Cranium logo. It tells us on the box that the game is "The four in one carnival game for kids" and it is for children age five and above.
Inside the box you will find all the pieces are seperated by a cardboard inner so they all have their own little compartment for easy storage. Setting up the game is simple, the board comes in four curved pieces which slot together just like a jigsaw. The game pieces are set into the board by clipping them in place through the designated holes and the merry go round spinner goes in the centre of the board. Once the board is all set up, each player takes a playing piece and you are ready to begin.
To play the game, the youngest player goes first (that is always the rule in our house!!) and they spin the merry go round and wherever the arrow lands that is the game to play. There are four different "carnival" games to play:
* Red section - this is the Snack Hut and in this game there are six dice with six different foods on such as pizza, candy floss and fries. The player chooses a food they wish to try for. The dice are to be dropped through the top of the snack hut and when they fall out, any that match the chosen food are saved in the hut. The aim is to get all six before the timer runs out. Each correct dice equates to a balloon for your playing piece.
* Blue section - Tumble Tides. This game is a matching game and the player chooses a picture of a character to match e.g mermaid, shark and diver, and spins the wheels on the spinner to match up. Each matching wheel gives you a balloon for your playing piece.
* Yellow section - Letter Lake and this game is a fishing game in which you have a magnetic fishing rod and a list of words to choose to spell. Once the word is chosen you have to fish the letters out of the "pond" to complete the word. Each letter gives you one balloon.
* Green section - Frog Pond. This game is kind of like tiddlywinks in that you have to flick the plastic frogs into their lily pond. Each frog equates to one balloon.
Every time a game is played the merry go round must be pressed and it is the timer for the games, playing a carnival tune and when it stops the game is over. The winner of the game is the player who completes their playing piece with all the balloons required.
We have very split opinions of this game. I absolutely hate it and my daughter and her Grandma really like it. We have played this game lots of times and I think that once you have played the carnival games a couple of times it gets really boring and the tune from the merry go round drives me mental!! My daughter will get the game out quite regularly and of course I play it with her but it is rare that we ever complete a game as she gets very frustrated with the frog game as it is too hard for her at three years old, but the other games are extremely simple and with the exception of the snack hut game are over very quickly.
One thing I do like about the game is that it encourages spelling in the fishing game as it shows the word and a picture of the word so it does aid reading, but there are so few words that you end up completing them several times a game sometimes.
One thing (well one more thing) I dislike about this game is that it is quite hard for a child to put the balloons into their playing piece as they are quite hard to stick in and once there is a few in, the balloons on top of the stick end up pushing against eachother and it ends up really angering my little girl when she can't get them in properly. Of course it is aimed at slightly older children but I do think it would be tricky for them also.
The board is wipe clean, as is standard with most board games, and the playing pieces are all plastic so it is very easy to keep the game clean should little sticky fingers be playing!
You can find Balloon Lagoon on Amazon at the moment and they seem to be all used versions, priced from £7.99 which I don't think is a bad price to pay but I personally would have been quite unhappy to pay a more expensive price. We got the game for just £1.50 from a car boot so I really can't complain with that.
Would I recommend Balloon Lagoon? Not at all, the games are boring, the tune drives me batty and I just think there are much more fun games out there. My mum on the other hand would happily recommend it so it seems to be one of those games you either love or hate! I will give it three stars as I would give it one, my mum would give it five so I'm meeting in the middle!
Thank you for reading my review.
This was our first experience of a cranium game, and was one of those random purchases - I bought it as it looked good value before Christmas for under £8 from The Entertainer. It proved to be a very good buy!
The premise of the game is simple - you spin the central piece, and depending on where the pointer lands you do one of 4 fun activities to win balloons. One zone involves jumping frogs into a "pond", one means fishing for letters, one spinning dials, one rolling dice all timed activities that you complete whilst the music from the central spinner plays. It is harder to describe how to play than to actually play the game - you literally put the board together and can play easily and straight away. The pieces are satisfyingly chunky and well made - unlike more recent purchases like the newest connect 4 which is much more flimsy than the set I had in my youth.
My 5 year old has wanted to play this every day since she got. I think she likes the fact that the game provides a level playing field - we are as likely to win or lose as she is. I think slightly younger children would enjoy the game too.
This is a fun game that would make a fantastic present, it will be enjoyed and is excellent value for money.
Please note following is Hasbros jargon and my review does follow... Hence first paragraph tells you what is should do and second paragraph what it does do in my opinion .
Cranium balloon lagoon is aged at 5+
It claims to develop counting, matching and spelling skills
Product Dimensions: 998g
Boxed Weight Product: 1.8kg
Item Model Number: CRBAL
Step right up to Cranium Balloon Lagoon, a wondrous carnival of fun for kids! The game's exciting sights and sounds make spelling, matching, and counting fun - so kids learn as they play. Spin the colourful merry-go-round to choose an activity, start the musical timer, and jump into one of the four exciting Balloon Lagoon activities; fish for letters at Letter Lake, match treats at Snack Hut, spin a picture puzzle at Tumble Tides, or flip frogs at Frog Pond. With each success, kids collect balloons and move closer to victory.The first to collect 15 balloons wins! Each game lasts about 15 minutes, but kids love to play again and again, making Balloon Lagoon the perfect game for filling a few spare moments or a full afternoon! The rules and assembly are easy, and reading is not required, so kids can enjoy the game on their own, though we guarantee you'll love to play too!
Okay jargon over and my first hand experience of this...... My neice got this for her fourth birthday, I looked at the box saw age 5 and thought I dont think that this is going to be much fun at all! But she pestered me to open it for her and I must say it was very easy to put together and the pieces are large, plastic and bright just as youd expect for a young childs toy. In fact looking at it im pretty sure that perhaps the 5+ age is a bit generous and may be because of a few smaller parts, ie the balloons that act as points and the dice maybe?
I read the instructions and sat the game on the floor as its fairly large and the four games are fairly far apart for short arms. The first game I decided to play to help guide the children, my 4 year old neice played as did a 7 year old and a 3 year old. Picking who we wanted to be caused a few arguments as everyone wanted to be the whale !!(easiest way to describe this is choosing who you want to be in monopoly for example the dog, boot , ship etc)
The pieces are large blue rubber and have holes on top to add the ballons as you win points. The first player pushes the roundabout (like a spin top) and the delightful music starts (the music is delightful until around 3 hours later when youre wishing the batteries would die ha ha ) Whichever of the 4 games you are playing you need to try to finish before the music stops. The frog flipping was a huge winner although I must admit that i found it the hardest of the 4 games! You need to see how many frogs you can flip into the pond in the allocated time! The music is a good idea as if it was timed with a timer I would envisage arguments - there is no arguing with the music!
I have to say the kids picked it up very easily even the 3 year old, although she was perhaps the first to wander off but not before a few rounds of this! it was a huge hit ! To summarise great fun for all the family young and old and I have bought it for my three year old for christmas. Under a tenner at the moment at The Entertainer its got to be worth a shot!
Step right up to Cranium Balloon Lagoon, a wondrous carnival of fun for kids! The game's exciting sights and sounds make spelling, matching, and counting fun - so kids learn as they play. Spin the colourful merry-go-round to choose an activity, start the musical timer, and jump into one of four exciting Balloon Lagoon activities: fish for letters at Letter Lake, match treats at Snack Hut, spin a picture puzzle at Tumble Tides, or flip frogs at Frog Pond. With each success, kids collect balloons and move closer to victory. The first to collect 15 balloons wins! Each game lasts about 15 minutes, but kids love to play again and again, making Balloon Lagoon the perfect game for filling a few spare moments or a full afternoon! The rules and assembly are easy, and reading is not required, so kids can enjoy the game on their own, though we guarantee you'll love to play too!