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Subject: Adds Up To Fun For The Elementary School Age Crowd! rss

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Diane Close
United States
Twin Cities
Minnesota
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Sleeping Queens is recommended by the manufacturer for 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up. It can actually be played quite nicely by those much younger! The game was, after all, invented by a 6 year old (who was helped by her family), so you can’t expect too much complexity here. That said, it is nicely rich and playable and the artwork is enchanting and amusing too.

You get a deck of 79 cards, 12 of which are green backed cards, wonderfully illustrated with a variety of Queens. These get placed, face down, in the middle of the play area. The goal of the game is to collect five Queen cards, or enough Queen cards to total 50 points in a 2-3 player game, whichever comes first (or 4 Queens or 40 points in a 4-5 player game). You collect Queen cards by taking them from this middle area using King cards, and then place them face up in front of you.

A few of the Queen cards have special powers too. The Rose Queen allows you to automatically take any other Queen from the middle in addition to her. The Cat Queen and the Dog Queen don’t get along and can’t be held by the same player, so you can waste a turn uncovering one if you already hold the other! Various other cards can be used to steal other’s queens or force you to put one back into the middle, face down (back to sleep), so collecting five Queens or 50 points isn’t as easy as it sounds!

The rest of the deck are red-backed playing cards of various suits and special powers. There are Kings who can wake up Queens, Knights who can steal Queens from other players, Dragons who can foil the Knight’s plans, Sleeping Potions which can force you to return a Queen to sleep in the middle, magic Wands that can fight off a Sleeping Potion, and Jester cards. Jesters are really interesting because they allow you to flip over the top card of the draw deck and either claim it as your own, if it’s a special powers card, or make you count off (starting with yourself) the number displayed on the suit you’ve uncovered. Whoever is counted last gets to claim a Queen from the middle, so by using a Jester you might be giving your opponents a real treat instead of yourself!

The remaining cards are various numbered suits which don’t have any special powers, but can be valuable if discarded. Discarding one numbered card allows you to pick one card from the draw deck. Discarding a matching pair allows you to pick two cards from the draw deck. If you can create an addition equation using the numbered cards in your hand, then you can draw however many cards made up the equation in return. For example, if you held the 1, 2, 4 and 7 numbered cards, then the discarding them all as the addition equation 1 + 2 + 4 = 7 would gain you four new cards!

After dealing five cards to each player, play begins and goes clockwise. On your turn you either play a special power card and then draw a card, or you discard one or more cards as described above, and then draw one or more cards depending on what you discarded. Play continues until one player has the requisite number of Queens!

Elementary school-age children, especially princess and fairy tale loving girls, love this game! Younger boys love it to because they can play Knights and “scary” Dragons and Sleeping Potions against the girls. The math element is a big hit too, because the younger crowd looks at it like they’ve won the card lottery. They can use their brains to figure out how to discard a whole bunch of “useless” cards and get a bunch of new cards in return! With luck of the draw, many of those new cards are quite useful. Most kids really look forward to discarding using the addition element! This has encouraged younger children to get out their counters to see if they can figure out this math thing too.

This game is very light fare for adults, but the math element makes it interesting enough to play along with your children. It really shines, though, when played by younger kids. I know at least one home schooling mother who using it to help her girls learn basic math. That adds up to a good investment in fun!
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G. Gambill
United States
Shawnee on Delaware
Pennsylvania
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Excellent review! I would agree with all of your points. In particular, the math element is both useful in terms of game play (getting new cards increases your chance of drawing a king, or a defensive knight/dragon etc.) and from an educational standpoint. I would also suggest that while this game works well for young children, you can also easily modify it to allow subtraction to the math elements (it's just the opposite of the addition after all) to get kids thinking that way, and also even some basic algebra by allowing combinations such as (4+1 = 3+2) to discard four cards as well. It opens up some interesting math possibilities.
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Wakefield Morys-Carter
United Kingdom
Oxford
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ggambill wrote:
and also even some basic algebra by allowing combinations such as (4+1 = 3+2) to discard four cards as well. It opens up some interesting math possibilities.


My brother tried on a sum like that mid-game to give himself an unfair advantge over my 6 year-old. I was not amused.
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