Newest Review: ... My daughter has enjoyed putting other small toys on it and watching them go around, she likes Lucky Ducks, although at four it's probably a... more
Member Name: noodlesandwich
Advantages: simple, fun
Disadvantages: noisy, ducks prone to go wandering
My daughter was given this game around a year and a half ago. It's one that's been around for a few years and although it doesn't seem to be available in many UK shops at the moment, there are plenty of online stockists; amazon, amazingplush.com, myhobbyplace.com, but the best place for a decent priced version would be Ebay where you should be able to pick it up for under £10. It's made by MB Games/Hasbro and takes 2 x 1.5 v batteries. The battery life seems quite decent, I don't recall having to change the batteries in ours yet.
In the box are twelve plastic ducks and a motorised pond which measures roughly 25cm in diameter. It has a big red button in the middle and is surrounded by blue conveyor belt style 'water' onto which the ducks are placed. The outside is green grass and slightly raised to keep the ducks in. Around the pond are four coloured symbols; a red circle, purple square, blue star and orange triangle - these are the player positions and each duck has one of these symbols on their underside. Once in motion, the motor noise is quite loud, and accompanied by quacks, this can be really annoying, although, as parents do, I usually manage to tune it out..
To play, the button is pressed and the ducks move around on the pond, players take turns to pick up a duck, if it matches their 'home' symbol then that duck is kept, if not it is put back on the pond. We have always played it so that the symbol is seen by everyone, but it could be made trickier if only the player who picks up gets to look at the symbol. The winner is the player who collects their three ducks, (for very young ones a simplified game is suggested where just one duck wins the game).
As well as colour and shape recognition this game could be said to encourage memory skills, children can improve their chance of winning by remembering the position of the duck they need, although it's easy to lose track. As the number of ducks dwindles it gets easier to remember that the duck in question may be - at the front of a group for example.
The start button is very easy for children to turn on and off, but this also means that it can get set off accidentally. The box only needs to be picked up for this to happen, (I set it off twice earlier when I picked it up to check the shape colours), this leads to fun when the time comes to put it away. We once spent three hours on the motorway with intermittent quacks coming from the tightly packed boot. The fact that it's tricky to get all the ducks back into the box easily doesn't help.
The game is for 2-4 players but little ones will happily play with it on their own. My daughter has enjoyed putting other small toys on it and watching them go around, she likes Lucky Ducks, although at four it's probably a bit young for her now, I think she has played with it more on her own than with others. An interesting feature, if not relevant to the game, is that the ducks always turn to face in the same direction; put one on backwards and watch as it rights itself. We've also had our ducks out in the garden in the paddling pool and upstairs in the bath.
Lucky Ducks probably won't have much of a shelf life as it is made to appeal to pre-schoolers, but the actual game appears hardy and should last a long time and be fit to pass on to younger siblings/other children, (ours was passed on from a friend of the family who's children had outgrown it). The best thing about it is it's simplicity, it makes a good first game. The age on the box is 3+ but very young children will pick it up easily, I'd say a bright two year old would be able to get to grips with this. The worst thing about it is the constant quacking and engine noise. On balance I'd recommend it, but only for children with parents who are happy to deal with yet more noisy toys.
Summary: easy first game for young children, but a bit noisy
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