My family loves it when the Schoolhouse Review Crew sends us a fun review. The kids were so excited when our review package from USAopoly arrived! In the box, we found two board games: Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game and Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone. I told them we'd play them after school, but they couldn't wait. So homeschool time turned into an educational game day.
Tapple: Fast Word Fun For Everyone
Tapple was my children's favorite of the two games. Although it says it is for ages 8 and up, my 7 year old was able to join in most of the time. I'm not sure he ever won, but he enjoyed the process. My kids enjoyed playing Tapple according to the rules, as well as making up their own rules and categories for the game.
The Tapple game is a plastic circle with alphabet buttons around the edge of the circle. There is a little pocket on the underside where the category cards can be stored when not in use. On top of the game, there's a timer start button. Because of the timer, this game does require two AA batteries.
In order to play Tapple, the first player chooses a card and selects a category. The player reads the card aloud and taps the timer. He then has ten seconds to state an answer and push the button of the letter it starts with. After the player presses the button down, he taps the timer again, and passes it to the next player. The second player gives another answer that starts with a different letter and presses the timer button, passing it on. If a player runs out of time, they're eliminated. The next player taps the timer again to continue the round. The last player left in the game wins and collects the card. The first player to win three rounds and collect three cards wins. You can lengthen the game by playing for four, five, or more cards to win.
My children created a different set of rules, for faster play. Rather than re-starting the timer, they all shouted answers and tapped letters as fast as they could. When ten seconds was up, they would count who had come up with the most answers to say they'd won that round. They also made up their own categories at times. After they tried playing that way, they played without the timer, picking broader categories and picking answers until all letters were chosen. The last player to answer, hitting the final letter, would win that round. I'm not sure that version was exactly fair, but they had fun playing together.
Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card GameWonky was a more challenging game for my family. It's also intended for ages 8 and up. Technically, the concept is simpler. Choose a card from your hand, place it on the table and add the matching block to the tower of blocks. If you don't have a playable card (with a corresponding block to play), you have to draw a card from the deck. There are also action cards: pass and reverse. Pass means you don't have to add a block to the tower. Reverse also means you don't have to stack a block, but it also changes the direction of play.
The Wonky blocks are ... well, wonky. They're not perfect cubes. One side is curved and the angles are not 90* angles. In other words, stacking them is difficult. You can only use one hand to stack the block and can not adjust any of the blocks already in the tower. After you place the block, you have to count to three. If the block doesn't fall, you succeeded and it's the next player's turn. If at any point during your turn a block falls, even if it's before you place your block, you have to draw three cards from the pile, then play a card and start a new tower.
In order to win the game, you must be the first player to have no cards in hand at the end of your turn, and you can't play an action card to win. You must successfully add a block to the tower in order to win. Another way to win is to successfully add the ninth block to the tower. If you can do this, you win immediately! We never managed to build that tall of a tower, so none of us ever won the game that way.
I like Wonky but my younger kids (7 through 11) get very frustrated when the tower falls down. I've tried to explain that it's part of the game and they should expect it, but it frustrates them. My older children enjoy it more, and I like that it's not knowledge-based. That makes it more playable among a multiple-age group. That is, if they can stay calm and laugh when the cubes crash down.
USAopolyUSAopoly has created two wonderful educational games for family game night. Both Tapple and Wonky work well for family play, and also for party games. My teens plan to take both games with them when they attend some youth group game nights this fall and winter.
Wonky can be purchased for $19.95 at USAopoly, and Tapple can be purchased for $19.95.
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