“ Manufacturer: Ravensburger „
My son is now three years old and I am trying to help him develop skills for board games so when I noticed a Thomas the Tank Engine board game at a car boot I thought it was worth a try. I was initially asked for £3 for the game but bought it for £2.
What is included?
The game comes in three sections which connect together to create a circular track. It has a Fat controller spinner which is inserted in the middle and comes with a Thomas train with two cargo carriages and four collection cards for each colour along with the lorry which co ordinates with your cards. The board and cards all seem to be very robust and the cards do seem pretty unbendable.
At the start of the game each player has to select a colour. The game is designed for two to four players. My son is always blue as that is a boys colour so I am told and I get him to chose a colour for me as I don't really care which usually results in Yellow been selected. Each player puts his four cards on the marked locations on the board. There is a card for the quarry which pictures Rubble, the smelters yard features Crates, flour sacks at the mill and milk churns from the dairy. Each player is given a Lorry car that is the same colour as your cards. Setting up in straight forward and doesn't take so long that you're little one losing interest.
The game starts with the youngest spinning first. The spinner is quite basic but even though I have played this game most days of the week since we have owned it I still need the instructions to prompt me what each spin means:
There are pictures of the items that need to be collected: these match the pictures on the card so is quite helpful for little ones and this simply means going to that area and collecting your colour coded card and placing it in the Thomas cargo carriage. Thomas then drives around to the next player. If you have already collected your card then it simply passes onto the next player.
If your spinner lands on the red lorry you can unload one piece of your cargo onto your lorry.
If you land on the blue curved arrow you simply spin again and finally a blue star means you can either load or unload a piece of cargo.
The aim of the game is for the first player to get all their cargo from the locations onto Thomas and back to their Lorries.
When we have played the game my son is fascinated. He asks questions about the locations and the cargo. The fact that Thomas needs to be pushed round the track is extra entertainment for my son. Thomas can actually do 3 circles of the track before he decides to collect his cargo. I also ask him to collect my cargo or drop it off at my lorry. I do find the spinner quite hard to use it needs lifting slightly to spin and this is quite a difficult skill for my son to master and it is not unusual that the fat controller is separated from the board. When we first player my son would simply twist the spinner to what he wanted to land on but with encouragement he does now understand it is a game of chance.
This has been one of the most successful games I have played with my son so far and I love the range of skills it teaches. It does teach him to look for specific items, match pictures and basic counting. As the Lorry's are numbered one to 4 and my son is just learning to read numbers I question which number lorry we have each time this is a great way for him to practise without even knowing it. It also teaches great social skills in terms of playing a game like learning to wait his turn, the rules of game playing and that some games do have a finishing point. I also do not let my son win all the time. I do think it is a good skill to learn that he doesn't always win as once he starts playing games with other children none of them are going to let him win but as this is a game of chance there are times he wins genuinely. The game usually only takes about ten minutes to play which is ideal for a young child's attention span.
I do personally get a little bored of this game as it is quite repetitive and I have played it most days for the past month however as this toy is not designed to entertain me I am happy to spend a little portion of the day doing something that my son loves.
This game is recommended for children three years and over and I think this is an appropriate recommendation and if your child is a train or Thomas fan then they will love this toy. This is not a game that can be played alone however my son will play with Thomas and the game on his own although I do find it important to find time to play with him otherwise he will be no better off than with a normal train set. My only negative is the spinner doesn't spin.
I have found this at Amazon online for used for £4.50 plus postage or new from 1st for toys for £11.99. I think I personally got great value for money with my purchase.
Overall I think this is a great way to introduce game playing to little one's
This Ravensburger game is a nice addition to your toy box especially if you have a little Thomas fan, although this is not essential, as my son is not that into Thomas yet he still enjoys it.
The suggested age is fair at 3+ and the game is aimed for 2-4 players.
Setting up the game is relatively easy-
*The track comes in 3 pieces that have to be joined together, this is an easy task as the grooves that join them are obvious.
*The spinner fits in the middle of the track- it is important to remember to place it so the pictures are lined up correctly to the pictures on the track (e.g. the milk churns in line with the dairy, rocks with the quarry etc.)
*Thomas pulls around the 2 troublesome trucks-, there are 2 compartments in each and this is where you store your collected cargo cards before loading them onto your lorry card. If there are only 2 players, only 1 truck is needed. I was half expecting to have to spend half the game reattatching the trucks onto Thomas but fortunately they stayed on very well throughout the entire game- even with my heavy handed 4 year old pulling it along!
The object of the game is just as simple-
*You have to race around Sodor (Thomas' Island) and collect 4 different types of cargo- Rocks from the Quarry, milk churns from the dairy, crates from Smelters yard and flour sacks from the windmill.
*First each player chooses which colour lorry you want to be and take the card representing this.
*You need to spin the spinner and this will show you what moves you need to make- If it a picture of one of the cargo to collect you have to chug Thomas around to this section of the track to pick it up and put it in your section of the trucks, if its a red lorry you can unload onto your lorry card, a blue arrow means spin again and a blue star means you can choose to either unload or collect some cargo of your choice- this is obviously the best move to get.
*the first player to collect all their cargo cards and unloaded them is the winner.
Pros & Cons
The spinner looks great as you spin the fat controller to make it move! However it doesn't really spin that well. A tip to get it spinning properly is slightly lift the fat controller and then spin- this is a little tricky for little ones to do and end up pulling him off altogether!
All the cardboard pieces are made from great quality card and are VERY sturdy- kids would find it difficult to bend them which is great!
Detailed pictures on the game featuring lots of the Thomas Characters. My son enjoyed pointing them out as he went past.
There are not any variations to the rules really- The only way to play is by the rules! however there are different aspects you could focus on e.g. colour matching, counting etc.
It is quite a quick game and only takes about 10 minutes on average.
The instructions sheet is VERY clear and easy to follow.
There are no frills to this game, which in one way is great as no batteries are required etc but on the other hand means it doesn't quite keep up with all the other fabulous board games on the market, personally I think it would have been quite nice for Thomas to play his theme tune or something as you chug along or the Fat controller to say some favourite phrases when you spin.
Costing on average £12 in a toyshop or from as little as £3 online (Amazon), therefore well worth shopping around to get some bargains!
As well as being fun, this game provides a great opportunity for young children to develop many skills
*colour matching and recognition
*Waiting their turn and following rules.
I think this game rates average unless it's for a Thomas fan in which case it would be good.
Its quick, simple and has educational advantages but it does have flaws e.g. the spinner that doesn't spin! It can also get a little dull after playing it a few times- it doesn't get the chorus of 'can we play again?!' that some other board games in our collection get, including other Thomas ones!!