Ticket to Ride Europe – Review

Ticket to Ride Europe is a board game from Esdevium Games, suitable for ages 8+ RRP £32.99 available from Amazon and other toy stockists.

Ticket to Ride Europe is a strategy game, but don’t be put off once the rules are learnt it is like Monopoly addictive! The box contains Board map of Europe, 240 coloured trains, 15 stations, 110 train cards, 6 long routes, 40 short routes, 5 score markers and rules.

ticket to ride europe

I was daunted by the size of the rule book, but once we had a test game it was actually much more straight forward to play Ticket to ride Europe. To set up the game each player picks a colour of train, stations and playing token. Then you deal each player one long route, 3 short route and 4 train cards. To start you have the chance to discard all but one of your dealt route cards. Think carefully as this is your only chance to get rid of these route cards.

ticket to ride

Ticket to Ride game play is then made up of 3 options, to take additional routes, place trains on the board, or collect the cards needed for completion of trains. This was the part we found was tactical. With the boy playing we found it was ok for him to have his route cards face up so he could see them all easily. When I play Ticket to ride Europe with Dad Dragon we use scrabble rests so we can keep our routes hidden. Game play continues with building, collecting and getting in the way of your opponents.

Claiming a train route involves matching cards to the board, and there are different rules for tunnels and ferry’s. Some involve you using your Train cards which act as jokers and come in very handy. If someone else steals a route you wanted then you have the option of adding stations to use their trains. The game ends when a player gets to their last 2 trains, and the winner is the person scoring the most. You score each time you place a train, each route you complete, unused stations and who has the longest train.

ticket to ride europe review

The whole family has loved playing Ticket to Ride Europe, and we have played as 2,3 and 4, players. Once you have 4 or more players you can use double routes and this changes the game play and tactics a little as well as filling the board up quicker. Game play takes us around an hour, or longer with new players. Most of this time is getting to know the board and place names as they are not all familiar. Once you get used to where on the map they are play defiantly speeds up. We are addicted to playing this game, and have been having adult game sessions when the boy has gone to bed. I love having found a game that makes you think and love the level of strategy needed for this game. We have had some close matches and are currently drawing so there will be a rematch coming soon!

If you would like the chance to get to know Ticket to Ride Europe why not enter my Gleam giveaway below. Ticket to Ride Europe is available via my Amazon affiliate link below. With different editions available and expansion packs Ticket to ride is a game that I’m sure will become a family favourite.

Ticket to Ride Europe

Disclaimer we were sent this game to review and the words remain our own and have not been altered.

Terms & Conditions:
The giveaway is open to the UK only
  • It is mandatory to leave a comment in the post comment section answering the question specified. Other tasks completed will gain additional entries. The winner will be checked to make sure they have both left a comment and completed the task for the winning entry.
  • Winner will be drawn randomly after the competition closes at 23:59 on Monday 2nd May 2016
  • The winner will be sent an  e-mail to the e-mail address left at time of entry. The winner will need to reply to the e-mail within 7 days of the notification. Every effort will be made to contact the winner, but if no response is made within the 7 days a new winner will be chosen.
  • The prize details are stated at the top of the giveaway, and may be subject to change if they become unavailable.
  • The prize will be posted by the promoter, unfortunately I cannot be held responsible or replace missing parcels. Please contact me if there is a problem.
  • Please allow 28 days from notification for your prize to be sent out.
  • This competition is listed at: Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com and SuperLucky
SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Sshh! Don’t Wake Dad NEW Drumond Park game – Review

Shhh don’t wake dad is a brand new family game from Drumond park, and is available now in plenty of time for Christmas. Recommended for ages 5+, 2-4 players this game will be a great hit this Christmas for families all over the country.

The box contains a playing board, 4 coloured playing pieces, a spinner, rules, 16 cards and of course dad in his bed complete with alarm clock.

The game set up is easy with 2 AA batteries to insert into the bed unit (not included), and a couple of coloured stickers to add to the blanket of dads bed. The boy and I then set up the board which was simple to fold out, and with an equal amount of cards dealt to each player the youngest then starts. Dad is then twisted, and faceplanted onto the pillow. The boy thought this was very funny and with the addition of dads snoring when the switch is turned on means this game will be filled with giggles from start to finish.

sssh dont wake dad

 

The aim of the game is to get to the fridge and the large chocolate cake without waking dad, cards are dealt to each player and placed face up in front of them. Simply take turns to spin the spinner and move to the next coloured square on the board. Each square has a picture and number, if the square you land on has a picture, the same as one of your cards you are safe. If you don’t have that card, then the next step is to press dads alarm clock the same number of times as the number on your square. But remember “Shhh don’t wake dad!” As he will jump up out of bed, catch you sneaking past and send you back to the start. There are some extra rules which help game play, the first is, you get to take the matching game card for the square you are on if you end up waking dad. Secondly that only one player can be on a coloured square at any one time, so you can move further ahead to the next available empty coloured square.

sssh dont wake dad drumond park

If like me you are a naturally jumpy person then when dad jumps up there will much hilarity! As Dad makes me jump out of my skin, yes every time. Shhh don’t wake dad, is such a simple yet fun game that I think it would be difficulty to dislike this game. We certainly had great fun making dad do his faceplants and trying to get past him. It turns out that this game can take some time to play and isn’t over as quickly as you would first think. Of course the boy was the first winner, sneaking as far as the bed and not getting caught. We love the addition of having the squares over dads bed which means that other players can also get caught out. This game is perfectly suited for a family get together and as the rules are easy to learn and understand Shhh don’t wake dad will be fun for younger family members.

We have thoroughly enjoyed playing shhh don’t wake day, and think you will too. If you would like the chance to win shhh don’t wake day in time for your next family get together, then why not enter my giveaway below.

Sshh! Don’t Wake Dad

Disclaimer, we were sent this game for review the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.


Terms & Conditions:
The giveaway is open to the UK only
  • It is mandatory to leave a comment in the post comment section answering the question specified. Other tasks completed will gain additional entries. The winner will be checked to make sure they have both left a comment and completed the task for the winning entry.
  • Winner will be drawn by randomly after the competition closes at 23:59 on Monday 14th September 2015
  • The winner will be sent an e-mail to the e-mail address left at time of entry. The winner will need to reply to the e-mail within 7 days of the notification. Every effort will be made to contact the winner, but if no response is made within the 7 days a new winner will be chosen.
  • The prize details are stated at the top of the giveaway, and no alternatives will be offered.
  • The prize will be posted by the promoter, unfortunately I cannot be held responsible or replace missing parcels. Please contact me if there is a problem.
  • Please allow 28 days from notification for your prize to be sent out.
  • This competition is listed at: Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com and SuperLucky
SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Packing for Hospital

Packing for hospital is just like packing for a holiday. Ok so the destination may not be quite so exciting, but the boy was actually looking forward to it, me? not so much. I had been stock piling a few of the boys favourite things, as well as some new items for review, to keep him interested, I didn’t want to hear “I’m bored!”. So here are a few of our recommendations, and a few surprise finds of our brief stay.

Books

books

Yes we have lots of books, and they are defiantly in the case. The boy chose to take his current reading book which is Mr Stink by David Walliams, RRP £6.99 This is the 4th of David’s books that we have read, and I can thoroughly recommend them all. Gangsta Granny has a tough ending, and one the boy wasn’t quite ready for so if you have a younger child or one who is a little sensitive, this may be one to leave till they are older. Billionaire boy, and The Boy in the Dress are proper laugh out loud, the characters are brought to life in amazing detail, repeating characters common to all the books are fun to spot. We have a soft spot for Raj the shopkeeper, and the toilet roll puns!

Joe and the race to Rescue by Victoria Eveleigh is a Orion book that the boy chose, RRP £5.99 it is a different story to one he would normally chose, but I think he liked the look of the cover. This book is one for all animal lovers and while I know girls enjoy pony books, I will be encouraging the boy to enjoy different books. This way he can decide what he likes and doesn’t like.

When his family’s farm floods, Joe comes to the rescue with the help of two brave Shire horses, in the final instalment in the brand new pony trilogy from Victoria Eveleigh, author of the Katy’s Ponies series.

The Quirks in circus Quirks by Erin Soderberg from Bloomsbury RRP £5.99, looks like another good fun read. This story tells the tale of a family, but no ordinary family as the title might imply.

The Quirks are a rather special family with rather magical powers and, sometimes, when the Quirks are involved things don’t quite go to plan!

 

This is Erin’s first book for children aged 7-9 and is packed with the type of adventure you need to keep this age group of children interested. A book packed full of family life with a smattering of huge, hairy, twisted, sticky secrets! I think the boy will enjoy this book as it is based in small town America it will open up some new topics of discussion.

Puzzles

puzzles

We took a selection of puzzle books, including a new Deadly 60 Activity book from Orion books. Priced at RRP £4.99 and with lots of interesting facts and puzzles, full colour pictures, this will always be a winner with both Deadly 60 fans and puzzle fanatics.

I bought myself a mixed puzzle book, and it has been a long time since I have enjoyed some quiet time to sit and just think. I was looking forward to doing a couple of Sudoku, and was surprised that the boy wanted to join in and help. It turned out he understands the process of thinking behind Sudoku and was disappointed there went any in his comic. Bingo Granny had bought the boy a magazine called Adventure Time and a huge flower pen, she wanted to keep him occupied while he was away from home and the free toy that came with the magazine was a kit as it fired small plastic discs. I’m sure it wont be a long-lasting toy, but boys seem to really enjoy this kind of thing! These types of magazines are perfect for holidays, as you wont need to bring a whole library with you!

Games

games

Game number one to come with us was of course Dobble, RRP £12.99 (if you are quick you still have the chance to win the game here) This is such an easy and fun game, and the boy was quick to encourage both Dad M and his new friend O to join in with a few games. Having this game in a tin means it was easy to pack and you wont end up with a tatty crushed box at the end of your trip.

We also packed Brain Box Maths by Green Games RRP £12.99, this was something Santa had invested in for Christmas and a way to encourage the boy to think about all sorts of different maths problems I knew it would be a hit. We were sent Inventions Brain Box game last year and enjoyed the easy to follow concept of memorizing the information on a card then being asked a question to see how much you can remember. The boy challenged his friend O to a game, and was surprised when he was beaten. (He isn’t used to loosing well, and this went down badly) I do think this game will be one we enjoy though as it has some interesting facts and is well-balanced for adults to play with all ages of children.

Snacks

fruit bowl snacks

Finally packing food, OK! I knew that the food in hospital would be ok for the boy as he is used to eating pretty much everything. I would have to fend for myself, but having a few handy snacks for in-between times is always a good idea. Whether you are packing for a day out or a week away I think both fun and healthy snacks are a must.

Luckily Fruit Bowl came to our rescue. This is a brand I have been buying for the boys lunch for a long time now, and we particularly enjoy the yoghurt covered fruit flakes. As a mum I like to try and choose more healthy snacks and will choose these or cereal bars. We were very excited to see the New Sea Shapes and Jungle Animals, these are little gems of the snack world and are now a firm favourite of everyone in the family. They have the amazing fruit flavour of a sweet and as one of your five a day with no added sugar, are a better option.

Fruit bowl’s new peelers also went down well, the boy was excited to tear these apart, and the Strawberry peeler only lasted seconds from the jiffy bag! Have a look on the website to find out more about which supermarkets are stocking which Fruit Bowl Snack here. And keep your eyes peeled in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose for the New Sea and Jungle shapes as they are a big hit!

Disclaimer, we have been sent some of these items for review, the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.

 

 

Spooky Steps from Orchard toys

Spooky Steps is a great new game from Orchard Toys.
It is for children aged 4-12 and 2-4 players, and costs £15.95.
As with all Orchard Toys it is made of bright coloured and strong board, with the promise to replace any bits lost, mangled or chewed! Which I think is a great initiative on behalf of their customer service.

 

We loved playing this game as a family. You start the game as a frog and have to travel through all the rooms of the house past the sleeping witch to the cauldron where you get a chance to turn back into a human. there are educational elements to the game, thinking about the probability of getting a ghost card, lots of counting and doubling. We think it is good for all ages, easy to learn, little ones will like the jigsaw pieces and building the house. The cauldron was a bit tricky to fix together but once put together stores neatly in the box. You do need quite a bit of space so this may be a good game to play on the floor if you don’t have a big table. We think the artwork is fun and the boy loved looking in all the spooky rooms. The rules are easy to change to make them age appropriate, or even just to make the game last longer.

Overall a fun game, something special for Halloween! and we gave it a thumbs up 5/5
Another great toy from Orchard toys

Lego, Lego and more Lego…

Where do you start with the boys love of Lego. It could be summed up with his comment to me the other day while writing his Christmas list.
“Christmas wouldn’t be the same if I don’t have some Lego!”

So how excited was he when I showed him a brown parcel for our latest toy to review?

You will have to wait till Tuesday for the answer… But I think the word “Awesome” was there somewhere…

If you would like to talk to toy companies and parents who have tried toys out with real kids!

Then come and join Izziwizzi Kids on Twitter Tuesdays 8pm #PlayFest or Facebook Thursdays 8pm.

A giant cactus? No problem…

I do like a challenge so when a friend said “do you have a giant cactus?” My answer was no, but I found myself saying “but I can make you one!”

I have loved making things but this is not quite the same as paper chains or Christmas cards. So where to start, well I had planned it in my head for a few days. Something I have discovered I am pretty good at and just in case you are ever asked then here is what you need:

So I gathered my resources, long plumbing tube (6ft) roll of heavy duty lining wallpaper, veg box, felt tip pens, scissors, gaffa tape, staple gun, cello tape and half a dozen black straws…

First we found a Wild West style cactus picture on google, then fixed the pipe with the box at the bottom. Next roll out the paper, draw an outline cactus body and cut out. Then two arms were drawn out and secured with tape. Next the boy and I used lots of scribbles to colour in and outline.
Then secure the tube and box with a couple of staples and and tape at the bottom. Next you need to reinforce the arms I made triangular tubes and taped these on. Lastly we cut spiky straw taping these in groups to the back and sides.

All was ready we stood our creation up! And didn’t stop laughing!! Firstly as it was over 6ft tall and second as it looked like it was doing a dance. It certainly looked the part. The boy enjoyed the process and the problem solving. I just wanted to prove to him that you can make most things with a bit of imagination…

Now you might have just one last question, why a cactus, well that is another story…

Temple Run

Temple Run from Spin Master

Review for Izziwizzi Kids Play Fest

Here is our video review

Temple Run is a fast fun game for two, three or four players. The box says from ages 8+ but The Boy is only just 7 and he thinks its great. Anyone with slow reactions might struggle to pick this up, but otherwise its great fun and easy to learn.

The contents included in the box are:

The Talking Idol Timer ( 3xAAA batteries not included, and a screwdriver to open the compartment up)

4 character cards

56 Move cards

Instruction booklet (small and only 2 sides)

There was a lot of packing in the box and once you take this out you have the idol and a small plastic zip lock bag for the cards. The box could be a lot smaller and would be nice and portable if a bit stronger card had been used.

To set up the game you each choose a character card to remind you which runner you are. You set a switch on the Idol timer to how many people are playing, and then deal out the correct number of cards each (12 if playing with 2 or 3 players and 10 if playing a 4 player game)

Next lay your cards face up in front of you. (set these how you like, we put the right on the right etc) The instructions say you can do this how you choose. The remaining cards are face down in the middle and then you decide where the discard pile will be. Make sure you can all reach the idol and press start to begin. The idol will call out a runner followed by a card and you have 3 seconds to discard the correct card. Once you have done this hit the idol for the next player. If you get it wrong or you are not quick enough you need to take an extra card from the pack.You will hear the monkey noise if you are too slow. If the idol says pass you can pass one of your cards to another player, and carry on. If you need to pause the game you just press and hold the idol and he will stop. The winner is the person to get rid of their cards first!

We played this as a family and picked it up really quickly, its great with any number of players, and with two you have to listen and think very fast as you only have 3 seconds to react. The boy said it was ok, but when asked to pack away, kept asking for just one more game. I thought it was good for hand-eye co-ordination, and you could bend the rules for younger players by letting them use one hand for the timer and the other to dispose of the card. I played with Daddy, and it got a little competitive.

I think this would be a great Christmas game, and I am sure we will get it out quite a bit. I might even be tempted to keep it in a bag for when we go out, sometimes we take cards to play while waiting for food in a restaurant, but this would be very portable. At $19.99 (the only place I could find in the UK to purchase was quoting £17.80) I think this is a little expensive and I guess you are paying in part for the TM name. I have never played the App so don’t know how true to it, it is?

This game is great fun and I would give this 4.5 out of 5 The packaging is the only thing that lets it down.