Tuesday 25 August 2020

Rockpool by Gibsons Games - A Review

Over the past couple of months, we have had the opportunity to try out three games from the Gibsons Games range of products. Our last two reviews covered Quirk! and Pass the Bomb! The Big One! which were both great fun, but today we have been testing out Rockpool, which is an educational game suitable for children aged six and above.

Rockpool comes in a lovely shell shaped box, which has lovely bright images across the front. There are recommendations along the bottom of the box that advise the age suitability, a suggestion of 2-6 players and an approximate game duration time of 10-15 minutes. The rear of the box provides a short description of the game in a variety of languages and it is described as being a great game for family fun! We therefore couldn't wait to put it to the test.

On opening the box, we found the following contents inside:

  • 36 Team Cards
  • 65 Shell Cards
  • 15 Creature Cards
  • 10 Starfish Cards
  • 14 Dog Toy Cards
  • 12 Rubbish Cards
  • 8 Wave Cards
  • 1 Rockpool Board
  • Instructions

To begin play, each player has to pick their own team. There are six teams to choose from and each team consists of 5 Child Cards and 1 Dog Card. One person then shuffles the Stone Cards and divides them into seven separate piles, which are to be placed around the Rockpool game board. 

When it is your turn, you need to take a Stone Card from the top of any pile and then place it face-up so everyone can see it in the Rockpool. Each player takes turns to do this until one of two things happens. Firstly if someone reveals a Wave Card, then the sea washes away the Rockpool's contents, which means that all the cards from the Rockpool are now out of the game. The Wave Card must then be placed face-up next to the pile of stone cards that it was selected from.

Secondly, someone can shout to empty the Rockpool, which can be done at anytime. You need to shout the right word and use a Team Card depending on which card has just been added to the Rockpool. The Stone Cards when placed in the Rockpool can reveal shells, dog toys rubbish, starfish or other creatures, so its important to make sure you shout the right word at the right time otherwise you must pay a penalty. The game is completed once all eight Wave Cards have been revealed or all Team Cards used.

At the end of the game you score your cards and the player who has the most Team Cards paddling in the Rockpool is determined as the winner. The score numbers are low and easy, making it simple for young children to add and subtract their own total. Riley really enjoyed doing this himself and used a piece of paper to keep count. We all liked the concept of the game, as well as the environmental message that was shared throughout play.

Overall we enjoyed this game, but Riley who is 7, did find the instructions difficult to understand when they were read out. However, he soon got the hang of it during game play and found it easier to learn whilst playing, rather than through the written advice. We all agreed that the graphics were great for children and the images were very clear and vibrant. With an RRP of £12.99, I think it is good value for money compared to other games and it can be purchased from good toy retailers including Amazon.

If you would like to find out more about Rockpool or the other products in the Gibsons Games range, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

*Disclaimer - We were gifted this game for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

Sunday 23 August 2020

Quirk by Gibsons Games - A Review

 A couple of weeks ago we shared a review with you of Pass the Bomb! The Big One! by Gibsons Games and I am therefore delighted to share another of their games with you today, which goes by the name of Quirk!

Quirk! is a fun game of sounds, actions & mischief and is recommended for children aged 5 and above. It can be played by 2-6 players and each game has a duration between 15-60 minutes to play. It is the ideal game for families to enjoy together and provides plenty of fun and silliness, that is quite hilarious.

The box for Quirk! is of a compact size, so it is perfect for taking on picnics, days out, travel and holidays, as well as playing in the home. The front of the box is really bright and eye-catching, with numerous different colourful characters featured across the front. The dinosaur and elephant immediately caught my sons attention and he was very keen to find out more about what the game was all about.

My son Riley opened the box and inside we found the following contents:

  • 78 Character Cards
  • 10 Steal Cards
  • 8 Stop Cards
  • 6 Block Cards
  • 10 Mischief Cards
The character cards come in sets of 3 and when you manage to collect three of the same character, then you have a 'Quirk!'. The aim of the game is to collect the most Quirks, with the person who manages this becoming the winner.

Some of the cards have a grey outline and others have a white outline.  This means that you can swap out Characters sets from the decks to make the game different each time. The characters in the white sets are also easier for younger players to act out, so you can switch between the two sets depending on the age range of the players.  A standard game will have 13 character sets and lasts between 15 and 30 minutes or you can also play with all 78 cards if you want to enjoy a longer game.

To get the game ready, you simply shuffle the Character cards and then hand three out to each player. You then shuffle the remaining cards again, but this time adding the Action cards to the deck. The deck is then placed face down in a location where everyone playing can reach. Each player should have a minimum of three cards in their hand throughout the game and if you drop below three then you must pick up additional cards from the deck.

We began our first game as a standard game with 39 green Character cards, 5 red Steal Action cards, 4 blue Stop Action cards, 3 orange Block Action cards and 5 yellow Mischief Action cards. When it is your turn, you need to make the decision as to whether you will try to win a Character card from another player, or whether you will try to steal another players completed Quirk. To try and win a character you will need to select one of your existing characters and then choose another player to try and obtain another of the same kind, however you cannot simply ask for it and this is where the fun begins!

In order to obtain another character you have to act it out with sounds and actions. So if you had a cat character, then you could act like or cat, or perhaps make a meow noise. If the other player then has the card you are looking for, then they must hand them over to you. So if they had 2 cat cards, they would need to give you both, allowing you to complete a Quirk. If they don't have the card you are looking for, then you will need to pick up another from the deck. In the event that the other player misjudges your acting skills and provides you with the wrong card, then you simply have to keep quiet about it and then try again on your next go.

When you complete a Quirk, then you place these face up on the table. However, this doesn't make them safe, as if a player comes across a red Steal card, then they can steal your completed Quirk, that is unless you have an orange Block action card. You can definitely use these cards to your advantage as the game progresses, in particular the blue Stop card, which prevents someone asking you for a particular character. These action cards need to be used wisely, as once they have been used, they need to be placed on the discard pile. 

The yellow Mischief cards add further variation to the game and you can choose whether to include these in your deck or not. If someone picks a Mischief card during game play then it has to be placed face up on the table so that all players can see. These cards feature various different mischievous tasks such as everybody having to pick up an extra card, or having to use actions only for one round. This can create a lot of additional fun and drama to the game, especially if you have to redistribute your Quirks. Once all 13 Quirks have been collected then game play ends and the person with the most sets of Quirks is the winner! 

Overall we loved this game and had such a laugh throughout play. It was so funny seeing the way that different family members would act out different characters and although a couple of the family were a little shy about doing this to begin with, they quickly became more extravagant and hilarious with their character impressions. It is a very simple game to set up and understand, making it ideal for both the home and trips away. I am sure this will quickly become my childrens game of choice for the foreseeable future and look forward to including this regularly in our future family games nights.

If you would like to find out more about Quirk! or the other products in the Gibsons Games range, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Instagram: @gibsons_games

*Disclaimer: We were gifted this game for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

Thursday 13 August 2020

A Cat-tastic Day Out at Gulliver's meeting Lampo & Milady from 44 Cats! - Review

Last Friday, we visited the wonderful Gulliver's World in Warrington, for a Cat-tastic day of fun in the sun with our family. The weather was just purr-fect for our day out and we excitedly set off from our home in North Wales at around 10am, looking forward to the day ahead. This was only our second day out since lockdown ended and so it was such a relief to be able to go out and enjoy ourselves just like we usually would during the summer.

On arrival we found a parking space and then joined the social distancing queue to get in. Everyone seemed to stick to the rules whilst waiting to get in and there were staff on hand to remind people, as well as taking temperature checks and informing guests about the need to wear masks. It was very well organised and we were inside the park in no time at all.

Since the 25th of July, Lampo and Milady from 44 Cats have also been making daily appearances at the park, offering visitors the chance to enjoy a social distanced meet and greet in the main stage area. Riley was really excited for this, so we checked what time they would be appearing and set our phone alarms to make sure we didn't miss the event. We had been invited along to spend the day at Gulliver's at meet Lampo and Milady, so Riley was also kindly given a gift bag containing a 44 Cats playset and we were also provided with some delicious cupcakes, which was a really lovely start to our day.

If you haven't heard of 44 Cats before, then you can find this pawsome animated tv series on the UK's leading free-to air children's channel POP everyday at 12pm, as well as on Nick Jr Too at 4pm. It has risen in popularity tremendously and the series has quickly become the 6th most watched pre-school show in the UK!

Each episode tells the story of four adorable feline friends, with super cute names that are Lampo, Milady, Pilou and Meatball. They all absolutely love to sing and dance in their fabulous music band called "The BuffyCats" in addition to enjoying their clubhouse and helping their friends.

As well as the show being a great source of music and entertainment, 44 Cats also has a wonderful educational element that teaches children about diversity, tolerances, helpfulness and being friendly to others, through their cleverly thought out storylines. We were therefore really looking forward to seeing two of The BuffyCats crew and Riley couldn't wait to give them a wave and have a little dance.

On the day of our visit, the opportunity for a meet and greet with Lampo and Milady, or to take a photo was at 2:30pm, however I am unsure if this varies each day, so if you check the board need the entrance or ask a staff member you will be able to get the most up to date information on the day of your visit.

Whilst waiting for the time to arrive to meet the cats, we took the opportunity to enjoy all the wonderful attractions on offer at Gulliver's World. There is a great selection of rides to choose from and we were pleased to see that the park had implemented plenty of safety measures throughout the park. This included customer spacing in the queues, wiping down handles and rides after each use, hand sanitising stations around the site and compulsory mask wearing on the rides. Some of the staff were also very vocal about reminding guests of the rules and we were particularly impressed by the lady at Apache Falls who communicated loudly and clearly with customers when queuing.

Apache Falls was Riley's favourite ride of the day, however he also enjoyed Billy Bob's Bi Planes and The Veteran Cars, as well as watching others ride on the The Antelope Wooden Coaster. The queues never seemed too long and the longest we had to wait all day was 30 minutes for the Apache Falls. We also had the chance to enjoy a spot of lunch in the Big G Diner and had some delicious chicken burgers and cold refreshing drinks. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank Gulliver's for hosting us and ensuring that we had a great day out.

Once it got to 2:30pm, we headed towards the main entrance and Riley excitedly waved at Lampo and Milady as they made their way on to the stage. The costumes were fantastic and so realistic to the characters in the television show. It was a shame that Riley couldn't give them a cuddle or a high five, but he understands that there are lots of new rules in place now and he was more than happy to simply wave and strike a pose for a photo. In order to ensure that guests remain socially distanced from one another, as well as the characters, children are asked to queue to one side and then stand in a hula hoop placed on the floor. Every child we saw seemed quite happy to do this and there were plenty of smiles all round.

Overall we had a lovely day out at Gulliver's World in Warrington and I am sure that we will be returning again in the future. It was great for Riley to meet Lampo and Milady and the meet and greet was well organised. Riley would have usually given them a big hug, but unfortunately due to the current coronavirus restrictions this wasn't possible which is very understandable. All the children we saw seemed to adjust well to the new socially distanced way of meeting the characters, which was really nice to see, as there were still plenty of smiling faces. If you have a fan of 44 Cats in your home, then make sure you don't miss out on the chance to see Lampo and Milady at Gulliver's World this Summer!

If you would like to find out more about 44 Cats, then you can find their website and social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://www.44cats.tv/en

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/44CatsOfficial

Instagram - @44catsofficial

YouTube - YouTube

*Disclaimer - We were provided with complimentary entry tickets to Gulliver's to spend the day at the park and meet Lampo and Milady from 44 Cats, for the purpose of writing an honest review of our day and our experience with 44 Cats. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.