When my eldest daughter Sophie was in reception class they brought home what they called Chatter Matters bags each week and through these we became aware of Orchard games and thoroughly enjoyed playing them. When I was looking for presents fro Christmas I searched for Orchard Games on Amazon and was amazed just how many different ones there are. I liked the look and description of this one so bought Sophie it as one of her presents, the game currently costs £7.50 and comes with free delivery.
The games comes packaged in a very brightly coloured cardboard box which was one of theings that drew me to the game when searching online. The box is about A5 size which is great as I find a lot of games come in boxes way bigger than what is necessary which just means they take up more room on the shelves.
The box has a bright yellow background and has some friendly looking fruit on the front of it, there is a raspberry, a pear, a strawberry, a banana, an orange, an apple and a pineapple of of which have smiley faces on them. The box states that the game is for 2-4 players and for ages 4 and up which I think is a decent guide for age. On the back of the box you have an educational guide which states that the game will help,
Improve observation skills
Develop social communication
Promote healthy eating
Link with early years learning goals
Link with National Curriculum Science and PSHE Key stage 1
==In the Box==
Inside the box you get a fruit spinner, 42 fruit cards, 2 wild cards and a set of instructions, the instructions are simple to follow and are printed in a number of different languages making the game uiversal.
The spinner is a piece of board which shows a friendly banana and a friendly pear holding a circle with a plastic spinning arrow in the middle, the circle is split into 3 options and shows a set of hands picking up fruit cards which are face up so you can see what the pictures are, 1 hand picking up cards where the picture cannot be seen and then the smallest section shows a number of hands all grabbing at cards that you cannot see the picture on. The spinner is very easy to spin and a simple push with your finger however if you do either have it on a hard flat surface or push on the spinner from underneath the board then the spinner doesn't move very far as it rubs against the board.
The fruit cards are all on hard white board and the backs are all coloured blue with the words Orchard Toys written over and over again in white. You get 6 cards each of the 7 different fruits, the fruits are all very brightly coloured and all look very friendly with great big smiles and waving or giving your child the thumbs up sign. The 2 wild cards show pictures of all 7 fruits and can be used as any fruit when you are playing the game.
The game pieces are all very good quality, they pieces are not at all flimsy and they don't bend at all so are not very easy to damage, the spinner really should be held in place underneath to make it spin better but that is the only problem with the pieces.
==Playing the Game==
The aim of the game is to collect 5 of the same card the one who does so first is the winner, to play the game you need to lay all the cards face down on a table, obviously if you have just played a game then you need to mix the cards around so that they are not all grouped together and it certainly isn't easy to shuffle the cards as you cannot manage to hold them all in one pile. Each person playing has to pick 5 cards out of the pool on the table and this becomes their hand, once everyone has their hands the youngest player is the first to spin the spinner. Sophie struggles to spin the spinner herself and I have to hold it for her and push the spinner from underneath for it to work for her, she doesn;t seem to be able to hold the spinner up herself as her hands aren't big enough.
Depending on which section the spinner lands on depends on what you have to do, if the spinner lands on the hand picking up a blue card then the player has to pick up a card from the table which is face down, if the player does not need the card then they place it back onto the table but this time place it face up, if they do need the card then they add it to their hand and remove a card they don't need from their hand and place that face up on the table. If the spinner lands on the picture of a hand picking up a fruit card then the player can choose any of the face up cards on the table to swap with a card in their hand, if it is the first go and there are no cards face up then they just pick up a face down card instead. The final section of the spinner is called fruit frenzy and when the spinner lands on this you take one face down card from the table and move it to start a smaller pool, each player takes a card from their hand and place it face down on the table too, on the count of 3 each player grabs for a card in the small pool and then the 1 that is left is returned to the main pool.
When we first played this game we didn't play with the fruit frenzy option as Sophie couldn't get the idea of it and kept getting upset, after a couple of games we started using all options on the spinner and Sophie now gets excited when we hit fruit frenzy although this option is more fun when more people play. My younger daughter is only 2 and too young to understand the gaje but she enjoys playing to and will pick the cards from the table for myself and can happily pick the correct card when I tell her to pick up a certain fruit.
Sophie enjoys playing this game although she does sulk when she looses so we make sure she does loose at least one game each time we play as we are trying to make her realise you cannot win everything. The game is pretty quick to play which is great as with working full time a house to run and 2 young children we often don't have time to play long games so this is an ideal alternative. We also sometimes use the game to play pairs as it is an easier game for Emily to join in with and of course there is more than one of each pair so there is more chance of finding a pair than with a traditional pairs game. You could use the set to play snap but as the cards are so thick it would be hard to keep hold of your pile so we don't play snap with them.
I think the game is well priced and it is great quality so you really do get what you pay for, the Orchard Games are brillaint and we are slowly building up our collection as they are loads of fun and your children don't realise that they are learning new things at the same time. We would all recommend this game and despite the problem with the spinner I would still rate this 5 stars.
If you have read my previous reviews you will know that I am a huge fan of Orchard Toys. I thought I would never come across an Orchard Toys game that didn't tick every box. However, my heart sinks every time my daughter brings this one over and asks me to play it!
Fruit Frenzy consists of 42 fruit cards, 2 wild cards (which show all the fruits and can be used to represent whichever fruit you want) and one spinner. The spinner has 3 sections, one for 'Take a face up card', one for 'Take a face down card' and a 'Fruit Frenzy' one. To play the game you spread all the cards out face down (the 'pool') and take 5 cards each. The aim of the game is to get 5 matching cards. A card that is rejected by a player is placed face up in the pool which is how you end up with some face up and some face down cards. All this is ok. The thing I really struggle with is the Fruit Frenzy bit! In fact I had to read the rules for this bit several times when we first played it as I could not get my head round it! If the spinner lands on Fruit Frenzy then the player who spun the dial takes a face down card and puts it on one side (creating a small 'pool'), then each player puts one of their cards face down with it. On the count of 3 each player grabs a new card. Now, I have only ever played this game with my 4 year old. Just me and her. And, at the moment we still play games like this with all our cards laid in front of us face up. So we both know which cards we have added to the Fruit Frenzy, meaning the only surprise card is the one taken from the table. My only hope (as I am struggling to deal with the fact that Orchard Toys are capable of making a game that is not brilliant) is that once she is old enough for us to play this game 'blind', and maybe once we are playing it as a family (at 2 little brother is too young to join in yet) that this part of the game will be the best bit and not the worst bit!
This is Orchard Toys game is aimed at children aged 4 - 9. She got this for her 4th birthday and was totally capable of understanding the rules (once I had got my head around them!), however I think that to really appreciate this game you probably need to be a little older. I am not prepared to give up hope for this one yet!
You can currently pick this up at Amazon for around £6.50 which is a very reasonable. Like all Orchard Toys the quality of the cards and spinner is excellent. The spinner is designed so that you can hold it still at the edge and spin it without your fingers getting in the way which is a bonus as I don't have to keep reminding her to keep her fingers out of the way. It comes in my favourite sort of box - one box with a top opening flap, much preferable to the box and lid option which inevitably ends up with all the pieces ending up on the floor when carried by a child AND need storing one on top of the other, so that when said child want the bottom jigsaw/game and pulls it out, all the jigsaws/games above it end up on the floor. These amazing new top flap boxes can be put on a shelf like books! Genius!
So, although at the moment this is one of my least favourite games to play, I suspect that in time we will enjoy it more. Let's just say I still have faith in Orchard Toys!
~ ABOUT THE GAME/AIM OF THE GAME ~
Fruit frenzy is a learning game for children aged 4+ and you can have 2-4 players playing the game at one time. The game comes in a cardboard box which is bright and colourful and has fruit characters on the front. On the back is the box it tells you how to play the game briefly and also gives you some information about Orchard toys whom are the one's who make the game. The cards with the different fruits on are quite thick and have a bright blue back to them. The aim of the game is to collect 5 of the same fruits, by picking up and throwing away different cards. During the game you will also need to spin the spinner which means players could either loose or gain fruits.
~ PRICE/AVALIABILITY ~
I purchased this game from Amazon and it cost me approximately £6.49 which I don't think is too bad to pay for a learning game.
~ PLAYING THE GAME ~
To play the game the cards must be laid face down onto a table or other flat surface. Each player then takes 5 cards each, other players are not meant to see each others cards, how-ever when I play the game with my nephew we just place our cards in a row on the table. Players then take it in turns to spin the colourful spinner and this will then tell the player what they have to do. The spinner has 3 different sections on it. If the spinner lands on yellow the player is to take a face down card and see if they need if. If they want to keep that card they need to throw one away and they do this by placing the thrown away card face up on the table. If the spinner lands on blue then the player who spun the spinner must take a card which is face up. If they need this card they take it and throw away another card and if they don't need it they can choose not to pick up any card. The last colour on the spinner is yellow. If the spinner lands on yellow this is called 'Fruit Frenzy'. Every player must throw away one of their cards and then immediately pick up a different card to replace it. This has to be one of the cards which has been put down by another player. In the cards there is also something called a 'Wild Card', this has a picture of lots of different fruit on it and can be used as any fruit. The winner is the person whom collects 5 cards of the same fruit.
~ OVERALL OPINION ~
The cards are very thick and have bright colourful pictures of fruit on them. This makes the game fun and the cards are easy to pick and put down to the card thickness. The spinner is also made with the same thickness of card and the arrow on the spinner spins round easily with a slight push which makes it easy for children to spin. My nephew loved the bright colourful fruit pictures on the cards and took a liking to the banana cards and wanted to collect these ones every time even if he didn't have any banana cards to start off with. You can easily play the game with younger children but instead of matching 5 fruits you can just match 3 or 4 of the same fruit in order to win the game. My nephew really enjoys playing the game and will quite often play it 3-4 times in a row. The 'Fruit Frenzy' section on the spinner doesn't really work too well if there are just 2 people playing as they just may as well swap cards rather than put them down and grab each other's card. The game is a great learning game and the cards can be easily used for other games including snap and pairs. I give this game 5 out of 5 stars as me and my nephew enjoyed playing it and it's quite easy to learn.
(review also on ciao)