“ Manufacturer: Orchard / Type: Board Game / Recommended age: 3 years and up „
A few months ago we went to a church fair where they were trying to raise money for charity and there was a stall selling old toys and books. We already have a range of Orchard games and knowing how good they are I was interested when I saw this game on the table for sale and was even more interested to hear they were selling it for only £1, needless to say I bought it. As soon as we arrived home the girls were desperate to have a go of the game.
The box is really brightly coloured like all Orchard games are, they are certainly aimed at children and certainly do attract their attention. The front of the box shows a cartoon character little boy playing with shapes and a beanstalk twisting across the front of the box, it states that the game is suitable for ages 3-6. On the back of the box the contents is pictured and you are told that the game is linked to National Cirriculum Maths, Encourages observation, personal and social skills and it will also develop language and communication skills.
==Inside the box==
Inside the box you get a soft red bag which is for putting the shaped pieces inside, 22 beanstalk jigsaw pieces, 20 shaped pieces, 20 shape boards, a spinner and an instruction leaflet. The instruction leaflet is really easy to follow and come in a number of different languages.
The spinner is a square board with 2 pictures of the giant on it and 2 pictures of Jack holding the golden hen on it, in the centre of the board is a black plastic arrow to spin which end up selecting the winning player.
The shapes that go in the bag are yellow stars, purple triangles, green diamonds, red hearts, lime green semi circle, orange rectangles, lilac circles and pale blue squares, I think it's great that they are all different colours to make play easier and include more than just your basic 4 shapes.
The boards are for putting your shapes on when you manage to pull the correct ones out of the bag and they show the shape in the matching colour to the shape piece on a white background so it stands out well and has the name of the shape written underneath it too.
The beanstalk is built up throughout the game in the way of jigsaw pieces, they are brightly coloured and have little extras on some of the pieces such as a cat, a caterpillar, a bee or some flowers. Each piece has blue sky and clouds in the background behind the beanstalk and then different shapes of shoots and leaves coming from it, I love how detailed the jigsaw is.
==Playing the Game==
Playing the game is done in a 2 stages, firstly you have to place all the shaped cards into the bag and then shuffle the shape boards and deal out 3 cards to each player who place them face up in front of them. You place the bottom piece of the beanstalk on the table and then place all other pieces face down in a pile next to it. Each player takes it in turn to place their hand in the bag and pick out a shape, if the shape matches one of your cards you place the shape down on top of it and pick up a jigsaw piece and place it on the table to start building up the beanstalk, if you don't have the shape then you place it back into the bag and play moves to the next player.
Once a player has all 3 of their shapes on their boards in front of them they spin the spinner on their turn instead of picking a shape, if the spinner lands on the giant they just put a jigsaw piece on the beanstalk however if the spinner lands on Jack they pick up the jigsaw piece which shows the top of the beanstalk and place it on the beanstalk and are the winner of the game.
The game is really easy to play and even though it states that the game is for ages 3-6 my 2 year old daughter plays the game without a problem I just have to keep reminding her to wait for her turn, both my girls will often keep playing this game without me once we have had a few games and they manage to play it well together without adult supervision.
I like that the shape cards not only have a drawing of the shape on them but also the name of the shape written across the board too, we have been using the shapes when we have finished playing to help and teach Emily her shapes as at the moment she only knows circle, triangle and star. We use the names on the cards for my elder daughter to read, she is 6 so is at the stage where she can read the shapes and is really proud of herself when she gets them all correct.
The girls both really love to play this game and the fact that it is a quick game is an added bonus as it means that we can have a few games and hopefully it means both girls will win a game and be happy. The girls really love seeing what jigsaw piece they get and whether there is an extra animal or other item on the pieces, Emily the youngest actually cheers if she manages to add the piece with the "kitty Kat" on it as she has a thing about cats.
The pieces for the game are all really good quality, they are all made of thick cardboard and there is no damage to any of the pieces even though this has been played with loads and we are the second family to own it. The spinner isn't such great quality as it doesn't actually spin properly unless it is on a flat surface which isn't easy to get a 2 year old to do, we have solved this problem by myself holding the spinner and pushing the middle of the spinner up so that there is a small gap between the board and the actual spinning arm so that it is free to move.
We really love Orchard games in our house and this one is by no means an exception, it is fun to play, educational and very attractive to children and for £1 I think we got a fantastic buy.