Product Type: Orchard Toys board games
Newest Review: ... the age of the players. My sons can knock them out in under 2 minutes now, but with a 2 year old it took much longer. This is part of the ... more
Run, run, as fast as you can....
Orchard Toys Run, Run, As Fast As You Can
Member Name: broxi3781
Orchard Toys Run, Run, As Fast As You Can
Advantages: Fun educational, and suitable for a wide range of ages.
Disadvantages: Small parts mean parental supervision is required for very young children.
So when I heard about this game a couple of years back I just had to give it a try. The gingerbread man theme fit nicely with Christmas as well, and this was our Christmas Eve game 2 years ago, when my youngest child was only 2 and my oldest was 5. We have a tradition of giving the children a board game on Christmas Eve. I feel that Christmas Day is so busy with gifts, family, dinner and of course all the electronic toys and big gifts that a board game can often be left to the side, but on Christmas eve it's a lovely way to spend the evening as a family. Finding games a two year can play is quite difficult though - and I honestly wasn't sure if he would be able to join in, but it looked worth a try.
What's in the box?
7 large sturdy puzzle pieces that fit together to form a game board
16 gingerbread man puzzle pieces that form 4 coloured gingerbread men
4 coloured gingerbread man playing pieces with small plastic clips
A baker, a cow and horse playing piece also with plastic clips
A fox spinner
2 dice, one red and one brown.
Before playing the game you must first build the game board and assemble on gingerbread man puzzle for each player. How long this takes depends very much on the age of the players. My sons can knock them out in under 2 minutes now, but with a 2 year old it took much longer. This is part of the fun of the game in my opinion though so I didn't mind the time spent in set up - unlike some games like Mousetrap which I despise. Puzzles are very beneficial for young children and frequent play with puzzles when very young has been linked to higher scores in maths later, as these do utilise the same areas of the brain.
The youngest player is meant to go first, and this is the way we play, but if I had children very close in age - such as 1 year apart I would alter this. The bakery is the start of the game. Each player rolls the two dice and moves his gingerbread man the number of spaces shown on the brown die. He then moves his choice of the cow, the baker, or the horse the number of spaces shown on the red die. He can move them away from his gingerbread man - or use them to chase another player. If he is able to land on the same square as an opponent, the cow, baker, or horse eats one section of the opponents gingerbread man. You can lose up to three sections of gingerbread man and continue play as normal, but you must land on a mixing square and get your body parts back before crossing the river. If you lose all four parts, you must go back to the bakery to be baked again. The object of the game is to be the first to cross the river safely by getting 3 correct spins on the spinner. We play that if you spin across you get to go, but I have since learned this is wrong. It is meant to be that you must spin the water section to cross, but game play is basically the same either way.
The recommended age for this game is 4+. There are parts which would constitute a choking hazard, but I feel that as long as an adult is present and supervising this will not be an issue for most children.
My youngest was very young for this game, but he did catch on very quickly. At age two he did need a lot of help, and I would count the squares with him, and advise him which direction to go at times. He also was upset the first time his Gingerbread's man's legs were eaten, but he soon grew used to this part of the game. It is very easy to get the legs back, but I still remember him asking " Mommy - please don't eat my feet". As much as he wasn't thrilled with having his feet eaten - he delighted in gobbling up anyone else's Gingerbread Man - and we did take this to extremes with gobbling noises and screams of "ahhhh don't eat me!" There are very few quiet games in our house. We have now had this game for two years, and my youngest still loves this. My oldest very rarely chooses this game, but he is always happy to play as well. A normal game usually takes 15 minutes or less. A variation game can take much longer.
I look at game rules as guidelines made to be altered - or broken. If you want a really fun wild game rather than just having the gingerbread man's legs eaten, you can give the children a chance to run for it. Allow a certain amount of a head start for much younger or very old and slow players. The person whose gingerbread man is at risk must run as fast as he can to a designated safe spot with the other player snapping at heels. If he gets caught he loses his piece. If not he gets to keep it. This variation is great for rainy days when the children need to let of some steam.
I was rather surprised when I first learned that playing family board games is one of the three most important factors in a child's home in determining educational attainment. I do have some doubts about correlation equalling causation and believe there may be other factors involved - such as the fact that families who regularly play board games are more involved in general with their children's life, but some of the reasons cited do make sense. Many board games do teach certain skills and they also encourage conversation.
The product description says "Develops strategic thinking. Encourages personal and social skills. Links with National Curriculum Math"* I feel that this is useful for early childhood education because the puzzle build spatial awareness, the dice helps a child learn to count, and the gingerbread man puzzle teaches fractions : 1/4, 1/2, 1/3 and whole. In may also encourage a child's interest in the story itself. Einstein once said:
"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Fairy tales are a special part of childhood, and one I think we need to hang on to as the modern digital age encourages many to send their little ones to bed with a dvd instead of a story. Board games as well are part of my way of holding back the tide of the electronics revolution. Not that I mind video games, but I do not want them to replace the more family friendly board games.
If you are looking for a fun way to spend Christmas Eve, and contain a bit of the excitement - I can not recommend this highly enough. I believe this is perfect for family games nights because it can be played by children with a wide age range. I also have to say that this is an exceptionally well made product. After two years of frequent use it is still in perfect condition, and even the box is still in excellent shape. So many of our game boxes have split and are held together with yards of tape. As an added bonus, this is made of 75% recycled material, and being cardboard could be recycled if it ever became to worn to play. And finally - this product is British made - so supports British workers and is made by adults - not child labour.
* Taken from Amazon.co.uk
Summary: A perfect first board game.
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