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My kids have been big Toy Story fans for almost two years now, so I was not shocked at all when my children opened a few presents from Santa that were Toy Story themed last Christmas. One game was this Toy Story Memory Game made by Ravensburger, available on amazon for just £7.46 at the moment, but with a RRP of £10.
Basically, this game is a card game, which most people will be familiar with. In our house we call it 'pairs' or when we were kids we were taught to play 'go fish' by my Nana. The set consists of 72 square cards that are quite sturdily made like all the other Ravensburger products (mainly jigsaws) that we own. The back of the card is white with tiny light blue writing on it with the brand name on. The front of the card features a picture showing characters from the 3 Toy Story films as far as I have worked out. So you get a mix of Woody, Buzz, the Aliens, Bo Peep, Hamm, Rex, Lennie, Rocky, Zurg, although it is a little odd as you get Rocky who is a doll from Toy Story 3, but you don't get the main characters like Mr and Mrs Potato Head, Lotso, Barbie, Ken, and the baddies from 3. However, the kids are happy with the range of characters covered.
You get 36 matching pairs in the 72 cards. This makes for a very difficult game of cards for about half the game, particularly for me, as it takes a long time for you to start finding duplicated cards in the pack. I have found a single game takes at least 20 minutes with two or three players. To make it even more tricky, some of the cards feature characters in similar poses or on similar coloured backgrounds, eg. some are on a slightly older looking brown background, and there are quite a few of these with just Woody, or the whole gang. There are then pictures of Buzz and Rex both wearing a space helmet. There are also a couple of different ones of Buzz flying holding Woody (from the Toy Story One film). This just completely addles my brain and confuses me, and makes me feel inadequate compared to my five year old. I am amazed how well his brain works at remembering the pairs, and as a result he is very fond of the game as he always wins.
We've played it with my sister and nephew, and although my nephew is only 6, he ended up being bored and stopping after a few minutes as it was too hard for him and he wasn't finding it fun. I usually find my younger son aged 4 will have a couple of rounds, then gets frustrated and starts mucking about, so we mostly play it as a two-some.
The game is intended for 2-8 players, and gives a recommended age of 4-99. Personally, I think it would be better for around 8 years plus as it stands, or my sister suggested dividing the cards into 2 sets so you can play with just 18 pairs of cards, or even into 3. My nephew has a set with 24 cards he enjoys playing with, and we have had another set which had sets of 4 pictures rather than 2 making it easier for younger children. I think my 5 year old must really be an exception compared to other kids, as I think many of his age would find this too hard and then give up. Heck, it makes me want to.
I do feel a little sense of dread when he says 'Can we play this? as he has done a number of times in the last couple of weeks with it being the school holidays. However, I have to suck it up and pretend it is joyful, and I guess it must be doing some good to his mental processing and recall as he can get many pairs before I find my first one.
My son would really recommend this game. I would say it is certainly well made and possible to have fun playing it, but I would suggest you ignore the recommended age and buy it for kids aged plus at each. I guess I should be thanking my son for keeping my faculties all there by providing me with a mental challenge, and I do hope by the time I get to the end of the 6 week holidays I manage to win at least one game.