Product Type: Orchard Toys board games
Newest Review: ... card and taking turns to collect the items shown on their cards. As with many of the Orchard Toys range, there is some scope for the rules... more
Orchard Toys have Cooked up a Great Game!
Orchard Toys Crazy Chefs
Member Name: jo1976
Orchard Toys Crazy Chefs
Advantages: Simple to play, robust cards and box, rules can be modified to accommodate younger players
Disadvantages: One of the recipe cards is very pink and feminine
Since discovering the British made Orchard Toys range of board and card games via positive reviews, I've grown to love the brand and have come to own a number of different games for my children. 'Crazy Chefs' is our latest acquisition, currently available for £7 on Amazon.
Aimed at children from three up to seven years old, this game is a fun combination of a classic 'memory' style game with the added interest of collecting the ingredients and cooking equipment necessary to create specific meals. Up to five players can join in each game, making it great for large families or nursery type settings, with five potential meals to create. The choices are fairly well balanced, ranging from family favourites such as shepherd's pie and pizza through to more exotic fare like kebabs and a seafood dish (which my children refuse to choose, even though they know they haven't really got to make and eat the finished dish!) There is even a rather feminine looking card featuring some fairy cakes for pudding, although again my boys refuse to choose this option, with my five year old son insisting that this (pink) card is just for girls! That aside, this game should appeal equally to both boys and girls within the target age range.
The rules to the game are pretty straightforward and easy enough for even very young children to grasp, with each child choosing a meal card and taking turns to collect the items shown on their cards. As with many of the Orchard Toys range, there is some scope for the rules to be adapted slightly to accommodate the needs and patience of the child(ren) playing.
I did try and remove the slightly tricky 'memory' aspect of the game, to include my two year old son, by placing all of the ingredient/utensil cards face up so there was no need to remember where the different cards were positioned. Instead, I utilised the spinner from the onset of the game and each player was allowed to select a necessary ingredient whenever they landed on a smiling child's face. This method was a lot quicker than the official version although not as challenging or as much fun for any older children.
I think the recommended age range of 3-7 years is fairly accurate. At five, my middle son is happy to play this but it isn't complex enough to hold the attention of a child much older than seven. My two year old son doesn't as yet have the patience to sit through an entire game of this, without the game being heavily modified as described above - although he does find the spinner pretty entertaining. (Kids seem to find taking turns with a spinner much more fun than using a standard dice.)
My youngest son has also tested the quality of the cards to their limits, by sinking his teeth into one of the ingredient cards. Fortunately, one of the reasons that I like Orchard Toys products so much is that they are really robust and can withstand regular play and mistreatment. There are quite a few separate playing pieces within this set, so there is the potential for items to go missing, but the box supplied is pretty durable and very compact, so everything should really be kept secure between uses.
Like the majority of the Orchard Toys range, the game manages to balance being fun, suitably challenging and entertaining for very young players whilst also subtly introducing lots of educational aspects within regular game play. Here the focus is on observation and social skills as the base of the box confirms. I also feel that the game opens up the potential for a much wider discussion around topics such as food groups, balanced diets, cooking methods and dishes enjoyed by other countries, amongst others. All of this can be managed fairly easily without losing a child's interest, simply through the use of a few card pieces and a colourful spinner!
Whilst this isn't my or my five year old son's favourite game, it is one that is played with regularly and combines fun with unobtrusive learning opportunities. For anywhere around the £5-£7 mark, this makes a good value and long-lasting gift for children around 3-6 years old. I've repeatedly purchased this particular game as birthday party gifts for my son's friends. and can wholeheartedly recommend this and the Orchard Toys range in general.
Summary: An excellent quality game from Orchard Toys
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