Product Type: Tomy board games
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Pop goes the Pirate!
Tomy Pop Up Pirate
Member Name: jo1976
Tomy Pop Up Pirate
Date: 21/06/10, updated on 30/03/12 (90 review reads)
Advantages: Fun durable family game, no batteries required
Disadvantages: Pieces can get mislaid, swords can be difficult for very young children to insert
Pop Up Pirate is one of those well-loved games that are ideal for younger children and their families to play together. Manufactured by the popular Tomy brand, Pop Up Pirate is a simple but fun game which has survived several years of use in our household and is still played with regularly.
The concept is a fairly simple one and is readily grasped by children as young as two, based on our experiences. The game features three main parts, a plastic barrel, base and the head of a rather funny looking pirate complete with obligatory eye-patch and bandana! The game play involves each player taking it in turns to insert a small plastic sword into one of the main slots in the sides of the barrel. One particular slot will send the pirate figure shooting straight out of the barrel which never fails to take me by surprise!
If buying this game from new, it does involve a few minutes of initial setting up as the swords come attached to each other in one plastic piece and just need twisting off individually. This is a one time operation though and then all that is needed is to keep a tight rein on the little swords as they have a tendancy to get mislaid and the game can be very frustrating if there is one slot left to fill and the pirate has yet to pop. That missing sword takes on a lot of significance in those circumstances! The only other bit of assembly involves sticking on the enclosed stickers to the barrel and the base but, again, this is a once only operation and just adds to the anticipation of that very first family contest! With no batteries required, the players just need to collect their swords and let battle commence...
Despite a recommended age range of four years plus, this really is a great choice for a toddler's first game as the concept is so simple. The only real issues for younger children are, obviously, that the little plastic swords could present a choking hazard. The swords do also need to be inserted into the slot totally to make sure the popping mechanism is activated which can be a little tricky for very small hands to do unaided. I always give my youngest son's an extra little push or make sure that I hold the barrel steady for him so that the swords go in properly - otherwise you can reach the end of the game wondering why the pirate hasn't popped!
After each game, the pirate's head also needs a quick swivel too, otherwise it can end up with the same slot being the one to set off the pirate each time. Providing you remember to do this, this game can keep young kids amused for a good half hour or more. The only things to be careful of are not to be leaning right over the barrel as you insert the sword as it does pop up quite high and quite quickly! The resulting pop always makes me jump and guarantees a giggle from the little ones too. The official rules suggest that it is the losing player who makes the pirate pop up but we tend to vary that (depending on the age/mood and sensitivity of the players involved) as it can be just as much fun having the winner sending pirate flying into the sky!
One of the great attractions of this game for parents is that it is incredibly quick and easy to set up between plays and, always a bonus, it doesn't need any batteries. It is also very reasonably priced for a well-loved game of this quality and durability and is on sale currently at Toys R Us, for example, for just £11.99.
Summary: Great family fun