Doodlebugs is another Orchard Toy game that we play regularly in our household. My son received this in January for his 3rd Birthday and it has proved popular since.
What is it?
The game consists of 41 circular cards each of these are printed with various monsters. There are 10 different types of monsters ranging from ones that look like the old fashioned space hoppers to others that are similar to a snake. The thing that they all have in common is that they are cute and quirky and not scary at all. The monsters are four different colours red yellow green and blue. Each monster comes in each of the four colours. There is a final card that my son refers to as the bouncing ball as it is a circular swirl of the four colours. This card acts a bit like a joker or wild card. The cards are well made and even after a nearly a full years of play show no signs of damage. They are wipe clean too which is useful if bits of snack have fallen on them during play.
How to play
Each player is given five cards these are dealt out face up so everyone can see what the other players have. The remaining cards are placed face down in a pile in the centre with the top card face up. Turns are then taken to match either the colour or shape of the monster that is on the top of the pile. If you can't match either the colour or shape then you pick up a card from the pile in the centre and then place this face up in front of you. This continues till someone has won by getting rid of all their cards. If you have the wild card/ joker then you can play this at any time but mainly when you can't go as it is to change the colour or monster shape of the game.
The game is very simple to play but is lots of fun too and it is a game that our son asks to play regularly. We have found that it has helped him to learn some of his first colours over the past year. His matching abilities have also developed by him learning the difference between each of the monsters and the differences in the four colours. It has also proved useful to help expand his vocabulary as we describe the different monsters such as curly ears, pointy teeth, swirl shape and other good descriptive words. Whilst all of these learning and education points have been very subtle the game itself never loses any of its sense of fun. As you can see what the other players it has also started to help him learn some tactical playing to make mummy or daddy pick up cards. Now in our household my husband is very competitive and whilst he doesn't mind my son winning he hates it if I do better than him so this always means if its my turn after his he will generally make sure I can't go and have to pick up cards which does make my son laugh. The joker /wild card is a favourite for my son to pick up as he loves being able to choose the colour of play if he is getting stuck and we have to remind him at times not to play it if he can go already. The game during play is often fairly quick depending on how well they are shuffled and often it is a case that we play several games one after another. One of the things my son loves about the game is the cute monsters and he does have his favourite ones which he likes to get if he can, his favourite is the spiky hair monster and he will then often want his hair spiky like the monster too. The game is designed to be played with 2-4 people and this allows for not a lot of waiting in between turns which we find is great if several of his young friends are playing it as they seem to find at times waiting hard. As there are not many rules only that you take turns and match correctly it is very simple to learn how to play. Most of the time if some one new is playing the game with us it only takes one turn each for them to understand how to play which reduces frustration as I find as games that are too complex seem to lose young children's attention very quickly.
The other thing you can do with these cards is play a variation of the pair's game where you can match similar monsters as you turn them over. But obviously they will only match in the shape and not in the colour way and this does need some prompting for younger children.
The age range for this is 3 years plus and I would agree this is a good age range we haven't tried to play it with children much younger than 3 though. As the game can be a bit competitive it does need a bit of adult supervision to help prompt at times who's turn it is and do they match or not.
This is another great game form Orchard toys and a winner in our household as we try to quickly match the monsters to see who can get rid of all of them first. It is good for some communication and matching skills development. The cards themselves are well made and robust and handle well. At around £7 for the game from Amazon I do think it is a great value simple but fun game.
Unfortunately we do not own this game, but it is one I play regularly with the children at work (I am an Early Years Practitioner).
The game consists of 40 round cards, 39 of these are character cards depicting different 'doodlebugs'. The 10 different characters, each one more peculiar than the last, are illustrated in the four primary colours. Then there is one card which is a swirl of the four colours, this is the wild card.
The game can be played with 2 - 4 players, aged 3 and above.
Begin the game by laying all the cards face down on the table (or floor!) and giving them a good shuffle. Then, each player counts out 7 cards and places them face up in front of them. The remaining cards are then placed face down in a pile. The top card is taken off the pile and placed face up in the centre of the table. Players then take turns to match the card in the centre of the table either by colour or shape. This is where children really have to think. Most matching games ask children to find cards that are a perfect match, in this game the 'doodlebug' can be a completely different shape as long as it is the same colour. Or a completely different colour if the shape is the same. For 3 year olds this requires a little more concentration than making a perfect match!
If a player cannot make a match then they must take a card from the face down pile. The way we play if this is a match it can be played - but whether this is following the rules or whether you are supposed to wait for your next turn I am not sure! If someone plays the wild card then they get to choose both the colour and the shape of the 'doodlebug' the card represents. The winner is the first one to play all their cards.
This is a great game for helping children with shape and colour recognition. The shapes are very abstract which makes the game slightly more challenging. The fact that you place your cards face up means that you are able to assist younger children, and it also allows older children to play very tactically!
As with all Orchard Toys products the game is made to last. Both the box and the cards are made of strong, durable card. The cards are a nice size and shape for little hands to hold and the 'doodlebugs' are full of character and very friendly looking.
Ever since we bought our first game from Orchard Toys a year or so ago, we have been looking out for more along the way. Our daughter received Doodlebugs for Christmas last year and we can declare it's another hit among small children.
I have to admit when I first opened the box, I couldn't work out what Doodlebugs was going to be about. The game consists of forty one cards, all circles and all containing different coloured monsters. I have to admit, I had to resort to the instruction leaflet to determine how to play.
Immediately I could see that the cards are well made from thick cardboard and covered well in a clear plastic covering. This appears to be the trait for all the games we have played from the Orchard Toys range, so I am always confident we will receive a well made game.
To play Doodlebugs, the cards are shuffled (as well as you can with a large pile of thick circular cards), before dealing seven to each player. The box recommends 2-4 players, and to be honest four player would be ample otherwise you would run out of cards. It's just as easy to play with two players however which is a relief.
Once the cards have been dealt, then the remaining pile are placed face down in the centre. Each player places their cards face up in front of them. This is ideal when playing with a small child as it makes it easy to help them during the game if required.
The aim of the game is to be the first player to play all their cards and be left with none, but of course to do that you have to play your cards. This is done in a similar way to snap.
Of the forty one cards, we quickly worked out that there are ten different varieties of "bugs" in four different colours.
The first card in the centre pile is placed face up and then the player taking the first go must place a card on top of the card in the centre that matches in either colour or shape of bug.
The pictures of the bugs look more like friendly monsters to us and we give them funny names when playing such as "whirly" monster for the one that looks like a wound up snake, and "space hopper" monster for the one who looks like the top and handles of a space hopper.
Nestling within these monsters is one wild card that is just a circular card the same size as all the rest with a section of each colour. The player who receives this card can use it in place of a monster card if they can't go. They can then choose to change the colour or the monster in play.
If you find you cannot go at any stage then that player must take a card from the cards face down in the central pile. This then on course adds to their cards they must play to be able to win the game.
We play this game once every couple of weeks and usually with just two players. I think it's a simple game for young children, and whilst they may not understand, it's easy to help without actually cheating.
My three year old understands the concept of matching so the game is easy for her. That's not to say she doesn't find it fun though which is a good thing. So often I find when she understands what a game is about then she loses interest too quickly.
You can pick the game up for around the £6-£7 mark on Amazon. We have since bought it for many friends birthday presents as we know the recipient isn't going to receive "tat" but yet we haven't spent a fortune on a present either.
Overall, this is a very simple game, but one that will last through a few years. Whilst the game is marketed for children from age three years, my niece at six has also enjoyed playing.