I like having a selection of board games in the house when it is the winter months, and we are lucky that we have been bought many different types of games from my friends and relatives for the boys to play.
One which is quite popular is this Yo Ho Ho pirate game from orchard toys. We have a few orchard toys games now, and all are well thought out, well made, and a lot of fun to play. This particular game can be played with 1-4 players, and is basically the game go fish, but with a pirate theme to it.
There are 40 cards altogether, 4 of each of ten designs. The cards are really thick so even young kids can pick them up without them bending and spoiling the game like you can get with a normal pack of playing cards.
The designs go through a map, a treasure chest, a jolly roger flag, a mermaid, a parrot, a rat, a cat, and 3 different pirates. The images are cartoon like and all printed on a blue background. The back of the cards is a dark blue with the words Orchard toys printed many times on the back in an identical way to other games from the brand.
Setting up the game is really easy. All the cards are placed face down so you can't see the pictures. The aim of the game is for a player to pick up 2 cards to see if they match. If they get a pair, then they keep the cards, if they don't then the cards get turned upside down. The next player then turns over 2 cards and does the same thing. The overall winner is the person who has the most pairs.
The games start off quite tricky, and get easier in my experience as some of the pairs are matched and removed from the game area.
This is a game of memory, and not much else. The person with the best memory will find the most pairs. I find myself having to pretend not to remember to avoid winning myself every time.
My boys both love this game as they love pirates, and they both seem to have good memories for the game. An average game lasts between 10 to 15 minutes for us if we are all playing which is a good length for their attention span. None of us get bored, and this is an easy game with few rules to explain and follow. The variety in pictures would appeal to both boys and girls in my opinion.
They have to concentrate quite hard to find the pairs, and they enjoy the challenge it brings. At first my 3 year old found this tricky, but he has got quite good with some practise.
I think orchard toys make lovely games, and this one is great because if need be, my eldest can play it on his own and still have a lot of fun, and you can't say that about too many games in my opinion. I don't get fed up when I play it, and it is a game suitably sized for taking out with us when we go as all you need is a table or bit of floor space to play.
This is game we had out from the toy library for several weeks and it proved to be very popular with my son and his friends when they came round to play.
What is it and how you play
This is Orchard Toys version of 'Pairs', but with a pirate theme, and with a sneaky twist. There are 40 small cardboard cards in the pack with various pirates' mermaids' treasure chests and the like printed on them. These are then placed face down in the centre of the table or in our case the floor. You take it in turns to turn over 2 cards at a time, making sure all the other players can see them. If the cards make a matching pair, that player keeps the pair and has another go till they no longer get a pair. If the two cards turned over don't match, they are turned back over into their original positions on the table, and play passes to the next player. However, if a player turns over a pirate flag card, the player shouts "Yo ho ho!" and can then sneakily take a pair of cards from another player. The winner is the player with the most pairs at the end of the game. The game is recommended for children from the ages of 4 up wards.
My son had been drawn to the game straight away due to its pirate theme and was very keen to get it home to play. As he is 3 years old and slightly younger than the age range I did wonder how he would manage but he did surprisingly well. The first time we played we used all 40 cards and this proved a bit tough I thought for him to try to remember where they all were and he would get a bit frustrated at not getting a match. So till he got used to the game we used just half of the cards and just focused on matching the pairs rather than the "Yo ho ho" twist and he soon got his confidence in playing it and the rules. This use of fewer cards was also easier when he was playing with friends as the game was a bit faster for them. We also found that if 4 players were playing the time between each turn seemed a bit long if they would continue to get matches/pairs till they didn't get one and the longer gap would produce fidgety children. So we again adapted it for our needs and just let everyone have one turn when playing.
After a week to 10 days of using half of the pack we gradually increased the amount of cards we used and he seemed to cope well with this so by the end of a fortnight we were using all 40 cards in the pack. We then started to introduce the "Yo ho ho" twist and I think because he is a little younger he didn't fully understand this twist and that you can only pinch another players cards when you turn over a flag and you didn't need to match it to another flag. Because of this confusion we stopped using the twist and just played the game as a normal game of pairs.
My son seems to love the funny, cartoon-style illustrations with their bright colours as he loves to be able to win the ships cat as he thinks it looks "cool".
We have also used this game to play snap which is also great fun for any competitive pre school child like my son as he loves to shout snap and get his hand over the cards before mummy or daddy.
I think this a great game from many learning points that are quite subtle really. It definitely helps my son increase his concentration as he has to focus on the game and the cards being turned over. He is more than happy to sit down playing this for a good 20-30 minutes with myself or his dad whilst this may not sound overly long it is a good length of time for him to sit and do one game in such a way and I am happy with it. The game is also good understandably for improving the memory and given that my own short term memory is poor due to my dyslexia this is often a game my son can genuinely beat me at as he seems to remember where the cards are better than I do, which also helps his confidence. We have also used this game to help with his vocabulary and getting him to describe the various pirates in different ways such as the one with a peg leg and one with purple trousers or a mermaid with a scaly fishy tale. When counting who has the most cards at the end of the game to determine the winner it is also useful to help with their counting skills though my son still struggles with counting. All of this combined with the well made cards that are typical of Orchard Toys makes it a winner in our household. As this was a toy from the toy library I can also testify that is the cards appear to be very durable and the wipe-clean finish keeps them looking nice and clean. Despite being through several households for play the cards still looked as good as new when we had them with no scuffing on the corners.
The game has proved so popular with my son that we are going to get it for him for either Christmas or his birthday in January.
I would definitely recommend this toy for children especially ones that are pirate mad as it is a great fun game to play, that also helps encourage their concentration and memory. At around £7-8 depending on offers from Amazon I do think it is a good investment that will last a few years. It also can I believe be played by slightly younger children than the recommend age with a few modifications to suit your child's personality and needs.
My 3 year old daughter has had this game for about 3 months now and it is a firm favourite!
Yo ho ho! is a pirate themed matching pairs game with an extra element to make it all the more fun! The game, which is for 2 - 4 players, consists of 40 cards. 36 of these cards depict various images (captain, ships boys, treasure chest, treasure map, mermaid, ships cat, rat, parrot). There are two pairs of each of these cards. Then there are 4 pirate flag cards. Like most matching games all the cards are laid face down on the table, each player takes a turn at turning two cards over to try and find a matching pair. As the game progresses you begin to remember which characters are where enabling more matches to be made. This game, however, has a twist! If a player turns a pirate flag over they shout out "Yo ho ho!" and get to pinch one pair from a player of their choice! Although I can already see that this may cause a few tears as my children get older, at the moment it is a fabulous addition to the game! It means that children who are not yet able to remember where the cards are have an extra chance of winning some cards.
Like all Orchard Toys this is incredibly well made. The box is suitably sturdy enough and the cards are made of nice thick card and are the perfect size for little hands. The pictures on the cards are brilliant. They are nice and bright and the characters on them have nice, friendly, comical faces!
The recommended age for the game is 4 - 8 years. My daughter has been playing this since just over the age of 3 with no problems. You could easily simplify it by playing with less cards. At the moment we lay the cards out in a grid pattern so it's easier to remember where they are. As her capabilities improve we will probably make the layout more random allowing the game to grow with her.
A very simple game to play, this is a version of the popular game of 'Pairs', but with a pirate theme, and with a sneaky twist. There are 40 cards altogether, and these must be placed face down in the centre of the table.Players take it in turn to turn over 2 cards at a time, making sure all the other players can see them. If the cards make a matching pair, that player keeps the pair and has another go. If the two cards turned over don't match, they must be returned face down to their original positions on the table, and play passes to the next player. However, if a player turns over a pirate flag card, the player shouts "Yo ho ho!" and takes a pair of cards from another player. Play continues until all the cards have been taken from the table, and the winner is the player with most cards at the end of the game. Children will love the funny, cartoon-style illustrations and bright colours. The cards are made from sturdy, recycled board. The cards could also be used to play 'Snap', and younger players can be encouraged to talk about what they see in the pictures: how many gold coins have fallen out of the treasure chest? What colour are the rat's trousers? How many buttons on the Captain's jacket? The game is suitable for children aged from 4 to 8, and for 2 to 4 players.