We are a big fan of Orchard Toys board games and puzzles in our house. They are always great quality and fun, with rules that are easy to understand and age appropriate. As hubs is a bus driver he decided we should get Little Man the Bus Stop game to add to our collection.
Bus Stop is a game for up to 4 players and involves picking up and dropping off passengers. Before you can play the game you need to set up the game board by building a simple 5 piece oval jigsaw, which Little Man loves. You then need to pick which colour bus you want to be - you have a small bus which sits in a little plastic holder which you use to move around the board, and a corresponding larger bus with 10 spaces to store passengers as you pick them up. There are 40 different passenger cards to choose from. The youngest player is meant to go first but we usually use the 'whoever throws the highest number on the dice' method, as it is fairer - it also shows Little Man that going first doesn't always guarantee a win!
You play the game by throwing two dice - one white, one red. The red one determines how many spaces you move - there are plus and minus marks on each space to show whether you should pick up or drop of passengers which are determined by the number on the white dice. Unusually the winner is not the person who gets to the bus depot first but the player who has the most passengers aboard when they get there. This was a bit difficult for Little Man to understand at first but he soon got his head around it.
We really enjoy this game - it's great fun and doesn't take too long to play so you can have a couple of games without being there for hours, and you can finish a game without anyone getting too bored. The only thing that strings it out is Little Man deciding what passengers to pick up and let off - he has a favourite one he thinks looks like Santa!! This game is also really good at teaching maths skills - not my boy's strong point! We started by counting out how many spaces to move and counting out passengers onto the bus but have moved onto adding and subtracting how many passengers will be on the bus without counting them and adding the two dice together. I also use the buses with various amounts of passengers on and get him to add them together just as some additional maths practice - he doesn't even realise he is learning and his number confidence has really improved!
The game is made up of robust wipe clean cardboard, and still looks the same as when we bought it. All the pieces fit nicely into the box, which is not that big so does not take up a lot of room for storage. This game is aimed at children from 4 - 8 which I think is about right, although it may become a bit stale for older children. Little Man is 5 and he is not showing signs of tiring of it yet! We got ours from The Entertainer as my sister works there, but orchard games are available from most toy retailers or from Amazon for £7.20 delivered.
Orchard toys are a UK based company who manufacturer puzzles and games which are high in quality and all have a great educational base but are fun.
I spotted bus stop in a second hand store I shop. The box describes the game as a fun adding and subtracting game. It is recommended for the age group age four to eight and I find all Orchard games tend to be accurate relating to cognitive level and my son who is four has just started subtracting so this game seemed ideal.
Setting up the game
To set up the game the board is in five sections and slot together as a jigsaw to create a bus route scene. There are four different colour bus cards with corresponding small bus counters which have a stand so look like they are been driven along. Each player picks their own colour. I am unable to choose blue according to my son as that is boys colour however this is a flexible rule for other households. The game comes with two dice one red and one white. It also has forty passenger cards which are turned face upwards.
Playing the game
According to Orchard rules the youngest player starts first but I do not always follow this rule. My son does mostly play this game with me but he does need to understand he doesn't always get to go first. All player start at the start arrow and throw the dice in turn the red dice determines how many spaces you move around the bus route. The bus route has two lanes one for the buses to stop and the other with either an addition or subtraction sign. If you land on the addition square you add the number of passengers on the white dice however if you land on a subtraction sign you remove the number of passengers shown on the white dice. The bus has card has ten spaces for passengers. If your bus is full you can't add more passengers and you can obviously only remove the number of passengers on the bus. Each player follows the bus round to the bus station. The game does not conclude until all buses reach the bus station.
The winner is not necessarily the first to the bus station but the one who has the most passengers on their bus cards when all buses have reached their final destination.
I find this game is the usual high quality card that I would expect from Orchard. The board is simple enough for a four year old to put together and set up. The card has a plastic type coating which does mean it should be wipe able. Despite having bought the game second hand and it has been played with on almost a daily basis for the duration of the school holidays it still looks like new. The game actually works really well. It is a game of chance. I have gone round the board with just about no passengers and ended up with a full bus at the end. I prefer it this way as due to my competitive nature while some games I do sometimes have to let my son win where this is simply a game of chance. This means that equally older children who are equally as competitive don't simply win as they are better strategists. I have found this has definitely helped my sons counting skills. I told him yesterday I had three items of washing in my hand and another 3 in the basket before I could help him and he immediately announced that is six then. I was very impressed and proud as he has not started school yet. It does also seem to have helped him understand the concept of subtraction. If we weren't playing this game on a daily basis I am sure we would have to look up which dice is for which role. The game itself is while not grippingly exciting for an adult does not drive me insane. The worst part for me is the fact that there are 40 different pictures of passengers it can take a while for my son to pick the particular passenger he wants to get on the bus. He is now so competent at this game he is able to play this game with a friend with no real input from me.
Availability and cost
The bus stop game has a RRP of £9.25 however it is currently available on Amazon for £5.29. I purchased this game for £2.95 second hand which for me is a great bargain.
I do not know how long this game will hold my son's interest but it has done everything I have wanted it to do if he never plays with it again. It has improved his number skills and developed a concrete understanding off addition and subtraction while we have had a lot of fun playing. I would recommend this game to anyone who wants to improve their Childs basic numeracy skills in a fun way so they won't even realise they are learning.
As many of you who read my review regularly will know I am a big fan of educational games for my son and personally I find that the Orchard Toys range of products to be the best. For Christmas my son received a few of the Orchard Toy products and he received the bus stop game from his Auntie and Uncle. The bus stop game is described as a fun adding and subtracting game and so I was looking forward to playing this with my son.
The game comes in a sturdy cardboard box which features a picture of a red bus on the front along with a grassy scene in the background with lots of smiling people both on the bus and waiting for the bus. We are told on the front of the box that the game is a "fun adding and subtracting game. Race to the bus station, picking up and dropping off passengers as you go!" The game is suitable for two to four players and the recommended age range on the box is age four to eight which I would say is pretty accurate.
When you open up the box you will find a board which you need to put together, it is made of four pieces and you fix it together much like a jigsaw. This seems to be the case for all of the Orchard Toy games we own too. You also have four bus shaped boards, four bus counters, four stands, forty passenger cards and two dice along with an instruction leaflet. For the first play there is a little bit of setting up to do as you fix the bus counters to the stands and pop out all of the passenger cards from some cardboard sheets but once this is done the setting up on subsequent plays is minimal and just takes a few moments. All of the pieces within the game feel of very high quality and this is much the same as with any of the other Orchard Toy games we have and so I really do think they are excellent games which last so well.
The game board features two lanes, one of which is plain and the other will feature either a plus sign or a subtraction sign and dependent on which space you land on you will either pick up passengers or lose passengers. To begin you place your counters on the game board at the start and then you also need to choose the corresponding colour bus to your counter. The youngest player should roll both dice and then use the white dice to determine how many spaces they move along the track whilst the red dice determines how many passengers you pick up or drop off depending on whether you land on a plus or subtraction sign. You continue in this way all the way round the game board until you reach the bus depot at the end. The winner is the person who has the most passengers on their bus at this point.
This game is really so simple yet it offers so many good opportunities for learning with your child. The game has links to the early learning goals and national curriculum maths and can really help your child develop their addition and subtraction skills in a fun way. What I really love about these kinds of games is that it is a fun activity for my son and I to do together and so we are enjoying spending time together playing but I know my son is also developing his skills too.
There are just ten spaces on the buses for you to fill as you go along the board and so your child is not dealing with huge numbers and will only be adding and subtracting numbers up to six in reality. However, I think there is scope to ask questions such as "How many more people do you need to fill your bus?" and such like, encouraging more mathematical thinking.
My son has absolutely no problems in playing this game at all although we both sometimes forget which dice is meant to represent what which can be tricky! Sometimes we find it easier to roll the dice separately so that we know which is which! My son also likes to take FOREVER in choosing who should be riding on his bus each time and so each game takes around fifteen minutes which is a perfectly reasonable time in my opinion, and we often play a couple of games in a row too.
As you go along the game you may find you are asked to add people to your bus when you have no room, or subtract people when you have nobody left on your bus! When this happens you simply add or take away what you have room for or have left and then the play moves on to the next person.
What I also like about this game is that whilst there is a mathematical skill needed as you go around the game board there is no actual skill required to win the game and it is simply the luck of the dice. My son and I are on a level par when we play this game meaning it really is pot luck who wins and so sometimes I actually get to win a game with him!
I would certainly recommend this game to people who have children that are of school age, or perhaps those who are slightly younger if you are willing to help them a little with the subtraction. It is a great game, which is fun to play and also helps your child develop too. This game can be picked up for £9.00 on the Orchard Toys website which I think is a good price for a excellent quality game which will be well played with and no doubt passed on to other children when my son has outgrown it.
Thank you for reading my review!
I always look out for Orchard Toys games for my children because they are so imaginatie and have a lot of educational value whilst still being fun.
Bus Stop can be played by up to 4 players and is aimed at ages 4+, though I would say it really suited my daughter's between the ages of 3 and 5.
The object of the game is to get right around the board, back to the bus depot and to pick up passengers on the way.
The board consists of 5 large jigsaw pieces that are easily assembled tp make a colourful bus route that passes a farm, a town, fairground, castle and much more. Each player gets a bus playing piece and a bus mat with ten places for passengers. On your turn you throw two dice, one determines how many spaces you move, and the other how many people get on or off your bus and this depends on whether you land on a plus or a minus sign.
There are lots of passengers to choose from, old and young, male and female, and all kinds of ethnicities.
It's great for children who are learning counting or simple addition and subtraction. There's also scope for a more imaginative aspect, thinking who would get on at the farm or who would get of at the factory, which passengers are friends or family.
What I really like about the game is that we've always played it with two winners. One who gets around quickers and one who ends up with the most passengers. This has proved very convenient with competitive children.
Having said all this I always found that I enjoyed this a game a little more than my children. Maybe it goes on a little too long for them.
It's not my favourite Orchard Toys game (that's Post The Most) but it is superior to a lot of games you will find for this age group.
My son has had various Orchard toys, mainly purchased from car boot sales. So when his birthday was coming up and I wanted some new games for him I decided to go for it. Waterstones at the time had a 3 for 2 offer on, so he got 3 new games. One of which was the Bus Stop game.
The game is recommended for children aged 4-8 and I would say this is a pretty generous expectation. My son has just turned 4 and I think given a year or two he will be bored of this game.
The game itself consists of an oval board, which looks like a street. Each player has a bus board, with 10 windows on, and a bus counter which is used to move round the board.
2 dice are included, one red and one white.
Each player puts their bus counter on the start of the game, and the youngest player rolls both dice. The number on one dice represents the number of squares round the board moved. The player then lands on either a plus or a minus sign. The other dice shows how many passengers to either put on the bus or take off. Play continues like this until every player has reached the end of the bus route. The winner is the player who has the most passengers on their bus.
The game is great for the younger child - encouraging them to use addition and subtraction. My son loves it. And although, on first glance, it appears that the game won't take long at all, it takes nearly 10 minutes to complete.
I would definitely recommend this game for children aged 4 and 5, but possibly not for the older child.
The game is brightly coloured and durable as with all Orchard toys it has a wipe clean surface.
At £8 it is a bargain, and especially when on a 3 for 2 as it was when I purchased it!
My daughter was bought this a couple of years back as a birthday present when we were only just vaguely familiar with the brand Orchard Toys, and although I love their range of games for their vibrant colours and drawings, high quality cardboard and well thought out educational base of their games, I have to admit when this game came out of its box I thought myself "this game won't take two minutes to play". Wrong!
This game is recommended for children aged 4 - 8, and at least two players with a maximum number of 4 permitted. Each player is represented by a small bus mounted on a stand that travels around the board, each player also has a larger bus which has 10 windows (or seats). The board is oval in shape and represents a typical street with houses / trees / park drawn on the board. The cardboard counters painted with the passengers heads on, are all placed in the middle of the board face up.
The object of the game is to get back to the bus station with the most passengers on your bus. The start point of the game (on the board) is shown by a white arrow.
As in most games the youngest player commences play. There are two dice provided with the game you throw both simultaneously. The red die indicates the number of spaces to move around the board, the white die indicates the number of passengers to be added or subtracted from the bus - this will be denoted on the square you land on which will have either a plus or minus symbol.
Passengers are always taken from and returned to the centre of the board. If you land on a plus sign and your bus is full play moves to the next player. Also if you have to set down more players than you have on your bus then you can only set down the maximum passengers you have on your bus, or if your bus is empty then you cannot set down any and play moves to the next player.
The end of the game is denoted by a red stop sign on the board and you do not have to throw an exact number to complete the game. The game is finished when all players have reached the stop. The winner is the player with the most passengers.
The initial squares are cleverly constructed so that passengers are added whilst the latter squares are littered with more minuses making the likelihood of losing passengers greater.
This is greatly enjoyed in our family and again a very subtle way of introducing counting and adding and subtracting.
The Orchard Toys Bus Stop board game is one of our grandson's favourite games. I have to admit at the start though, that this is largely because he is mad about buses! If your child is not big on vehicles, this game doesn't have a whole lot else to offer.
It's reasonably priced at around £8 from various online sellers, including Amazon, which is pretty fair compared the high cost of a lot of modern board games. For your £8 you get a box containing an assortment of very high quality cardboard pieces. You get two semi-circle pieces to slot together for your board/road along with four coloured buses, a dice, four counters, and plenty of glossy thick cardboard squares depicting passengers of all shapes, sizes, colours and ages. I like the multicultural vibe going on with the passengers actually - very inclusive and educational.
Playing the game is straightforward when you know how, but you will have to read the instructions and then translate them for younger players as they're not written out terribly well. Once you get past this though, the game is easy to remember. Just roll the dice and move your bus counter along. If you land on a minus square, you need to take away the number of passengers that was on your dice. If you land on a plus square, you get to add the number of passengers that was on your dice. So if you roll a three, and land on a minus, you take away three passengers. Vice versa for landing on a plus square.
I'm not so keen on having to explain to the grandson that if he has to take away four, but there are only two passengers on his bus, it's okay - he can just take away the two he's got. He's autistic and finds that concept very hard, and I bet he's not the only child who does. Similarly, if your bus is full - you can't add any more passengers to it.
Unlike a lot of board games, this game doesn't end when one person 'wins'. Instead, you have to wait until every player has reached the finish line (the bus stop) and then count up the passengers on everyone's bus. Each bus can hold up to ten passengers, so I'm not sure what you're supposed to do if several people get to the end with ten passengers on board - call it a draw I guess?!
This is a good quality item that's somewhat helpful in introducing pre-schoolers and very young children to early mathematics. It's appealing to kids who love buses and moving a counter around, but beyond that its appeal is limited. I think £8 is a fair price for this, and we do play it every now and again having owned it for about a year now. I recommend this, but I would advise consumers that there are much better board games out there.