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My daughter (4) is a big fan of games by Orchard Toys because they're brightly coloured and engaging, while I like them because they're made of incredibly tough and durable wipe-clean cardboard - I guess that we just have different priorities! This game is a little different from most of the others - it's not really a memory game, although there is an aspect of this (see below) or a board game. I bought it for £9, which is quite steep for a game that is basically just cardboard: however, I anticipate that it will last for a while, because the pieces are durable and there are ways to extend the game to appeal to different age ranges.
The rules are quite simple. You get 40 ducks, each of which has a number between 1 and 10 (so 4 ducks of each type). These go face down on the table, and that's all the setting-up you need, so it's quick to start. There is also a spinner provided, which will select a number between 1 and 10. Each player spins the spinner, and then selects a duck from the table and guesses whether the duck's number will be higher or lower than the number on the spinner. They then turn the duck over to see the number, and if they were right they get to keep the duck, otherwise it goes back face down (and a canny player will try to remember where it was). If the duck has the same number, you put it down again and select another. At the end of the game, the person with the most ducks is the winner. You also get a little card for each player with the ducks 1-10 lined up, but it doesn't have any function - it's just for little children so that they can see, for example, that '3' has more numbers higher than lower!
This probably isn't the most exciting game that Orchard Toys puts out - a full game takes quite a long time, and unlike board games it can be very hard to tell who's winning so interest can wane. It has lots of good points, though. Firstly, I think it probably does help small children make sense of numbers: when my daughter started playing, it was real news to her that if the spinner gave '2' she was more likely to get a higher duck than a lower duck, but she's got the hang of it now! Furthermore, it can be extended: in the instructions, they suggest that for older children you might like to change the game so that they can continue to guess higher/lower after they've picked up the first duck (so if they get the first one right, they then pick up another duck and guess higher/lower, and so on), which might speed up the game. For younger children, you can use the ducks for a game of pairs or snap. The ducks are, by the way, attractive and carefully worked out so that each has a personality: a fairy, a king, a surgeon..(a quack doctor? ;-) )
We enjoy it, and I'd recommend it.
Lucky ducky is an Orchard toys game we have borrowed recently from the Toy Library. My son is struggling with learning his numbers and counting and I think he may have inherited his mother's dyslexia! I had thought this game based around the numbers one to ten may help him and he liked the look of it as he found the cute ducks appealing but it hasn't really lived up to my expectations.
What is it?
The game is for children aged 4 and above and is for 2- 4 players. The 40 duck cards are all spread out face down on the table. Each player takes a duck board, and the first player starts by spinning the mother duck spinner. You then have to decide if the number on the duck you are going to pick will be higher or lower than the number on the spinner. Each player has a duck number guide to help them decide whether to go higher or lower. The number guide has the not only the numbers on but above it a duck for that number such as 4 and the pirate duck. If you guess correctly you can keep the duck; if not, it goes back in the "pond" face down. Play continues until all the ducks have been taken from the pond, and the player with most ducks at the end of the game is the winner. I have to say the higher and lower concept always makes me think for Bruce's "Play your cards right"
The game as with all Orchard toys game is made with durable recycled board that can be wiped clean. As it is a toy library item it does get a lot of rough and tumble and goes through a lot of houses and the robustness of the item is clearly demonstrate by the fact that all of the items are still in good condition with no marks or scuffs bar on the box.
The ducks are all brightly coloured and patterned and because of this are very cute and appealing to my son and all his friends who have played this game. They all seem to get a favourite my sons is the king and the pirate and he gets a bit disappointed if he can't get these ducks.
The duck number card that is to aid picking higher or lower could be a bit better designed. The reason I say this is as the numbers are done on a horizontal and this seems to confuse my son when we are talking about higher and lower as he sees them all on the same level. If the numbers were done vertically this problem would be eradicated and would cause a little less confusion. As using the terms higher and lower seems to confuse my son we talk and refer to will the number come before or after the number on the spinner. Doing it this way seems to make it a lot clear for him and we can then use the duck card to help him seem if there is more or less duck numbers than the number on the spinner.
The game seems to be a bit frustrating for my son he finds all the numbers still a bit confusing and gets easily frustrated at not recognising the numbers even with the help of the spinner and the duck card. He also finds it odd that he can't try to get the number of the duck he wants and would like to pick for example the king duck and then find it and add it to his collection. We have often abandoned the game rather than playing all the way through as he has got bored or upset that he hasn't got the ducks he wants.
My hopes for this game improving his number recognition and counting seem to be falling a bit flat due to it not holding his attention that well. I think for a child that can count to ten then maybe it would be a good aid to help them recognise the numbers and what is higher or lower but given my sons number difficulties it doesn't seem to be helpful.
We have tried playing this game as pairs and him learning to match the numbers on the ducks and he seems to enjoy this more and is start to recognise both the number 1 and 4 by doing this. At the end we put them in order to count using the duck number card to help him count them in order to ten and this has been more successful for us.
Overall and recommendation
This has proved the least successful of all the Orchard Toys we have played and I am not sure how much is down to the design of the game with the duck number board being horizontal and confusing in regards to higher and lower. I don't think it is helping my son learn his counting and number recognition in the correct way of playing it. However other children who have played this on visits to us who can count to ten have loved the game and I think if your child can count to ten then it is probably a good game for recognising what the numbers look like and introducing the concept of higher and lower. I am only going to give it 3 stars for how helpful we have found the game and as my son gets frustrated by it. However it is well made and enjoyable for other children hence it can't be a one star game. At between £9-10 from Amazon it is a good buy but I personally prefer other Orchard Toys games to this one.
Orchard Toys Lucky Ducky Game is quite expensive at almost £10 from most retailers (including the official Orchard Toys website), but it's also a nice idea that's been well designed and made to last.
The idea of the game is that you place all of the colourful glossy cardboard ducks face down on the table to begin with. There are around 40 ducks in all, and each duck has a number on it from 1 - 10 along with a different rubber ducky design (pirate, princess etc).
There's a ducky spinner with the numbers 1 - 10 on it, and each player takes it in turns to spin the spinner and see what number they land on. Then they guess if the ducky that they're going to turn over will be higher or lower than the number on the spinner. For instance they might land on a six and guess that their ducky will be lower (so numbers 1 - 5). If the number is what you guessed it would be (higher or lower) then you keep the duck. If it's not what you guessed, you put it back. If the number is exactly the same (eg you span a six and picked a six) then you put it back and pick again.
There are also four glossy cardboard strips with numbers on them in the box, which are a visual aid for younger players to use as a reference guide during play. It helps them to work out whether they should be guessing higher or lower, and the first time I played this, I found it helped to cover up the numbers above and below whichever number was spun and ask the grandson to look at which option would give him a better chance. These aren't an essential part of the gameplay, they're just an extra to help younger kids understand how to make an educated guess.
This is a very basic game with no variations to offer which I think is a shame. The game is well made, but it is only glossy cardboard at the end of the day. I like the fact that this is a fun way to teach a child how to estimate, make educated guesses, and understand the concept of higher and lower - but once you've played it a few times, you're finished really. It's not like there are many variables or different results that can come from playing such a simple game.
I'm giving it three stars and going with a middle-of-the-road recommendation from us. It's a nice game, it's an original idea and it's well designed and made. But it is rather limited and I think for the price they could have added a couple of variations to the game to make it better value for money.