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Subject: A Growing Up With Games Review of Spot It! rss

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Brian Geringer
United States
New York
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Designers: Denis Blanchot, Guillaume Gille-Naves, Igor Polouchine

Artists: Peyo, Igor Polouchine

Publisher: Blue Orange Games

Year Published: 2009

# of Players: 2 − 8

User Suggested # of Players: Best 4 - 5, Recommended 2 - 8

Mfg Suggested Ages: 7+

User Suggested Ages: 4+

Playing Time: 15 minutes


Naito's Age: 6.8
Raishi's Age: 5.1

Number of times played: 25+

Game Description:
Spot it! is a simple matching game in which players try to find the same image shown on two cards. Players may choose one of five mini-games to play, or play any combination of them over several rounds. Depending on the rules of the mini-game you play, the winner is the player with the most, or least, number of cards at the end.

My Thoughts:
About six months ago my uncle bought I Spy Eagle Eye (5.0/10) for the boys. In the game, each player picks a board with an assortment of objects on it. Then, in turns, players flip cards containing a set of objects on it. The first player to find the an object on their board that is listed on the card gets a point. When a certain number of points are earned, a player is crowned the winner.

After playing I Spy for a while you will begin to memorize where all of the objects listed on the cards are. While each board contains a lot of extra objects not found on cards, and cards contain a few objects each; there are only so many boards and cards. The more you play I Spy the easier the game gets while at the same time becoming less and less fun.

The boys liked I Spy first but things quickly went down hill. They began to fight over what they determined to be the best board. We tried to play with random boards but they whined until we relented or we put the game away. When we could get a game started, after a few plays, they would memorize where many of the items on their boards were. While this was an impressive feat, it changed the game from a find an object hidden in a picture game into a game of who could memorize their favorite board better. It got so bad, with their constant fighting and memorizing where the items were, that we decided to put the game away and move on.

The boys were not happy with us not wanting to play I Spy anymore. My wife and I, thoroughly finished with the game, would not relent. Thankfully a child's memory is short and I Spy was soon forgotten as the boys moved on to the next new shiny thing. I, on the other hand, still wanted to play a great matching game with the boys. Something more random and less prone to fighting. I did a few quick searches of BGG's database and found something promising. I hopped over to Amazon to place an order and waited patiently for the game to arrive. Would Spot It!, the new challenger, be the matching game our family was looking for? A game we could play in peace, harmony and happiness? Lets find out.

Spot it!, unlike I Spy, is a versatile game with many different ways to play. The instructions include five mini-game variants with the internet at large offering a few more. In this review I am going to touch on all five of the mini-games (The Tower, The Well, Hot Potato, The Poisoned Gift, and Triplet) which are included in the manual.

Spot It! comes in a rounded metal tin which is something of a theme for Blue Orange Games, the game's publisher. Included in the tin are 55 cards and a rule book. Each card contains an assortment of eight objects on it. While no two cards are exactly the same, each card contains exactly one matching object with every other card in the game.

There are only sixteen objects between any two cards and one object on the the first card will match one of the objects on the second card. If this was all Spot It! had to offer then it would be an easy game to play. However, objects are different sizes on different cards and their orientation and placement vary as well. A big pencil on the right of card one is easy to spot. Unfortunately, on card two it is tiny, left of center, and upside-down. If you are able weed out the 14 extraneous objects and find the match you will either gain or lose a card depending on the mini-game you are playing. If course, while you are looking for that one perfect match, every other player in the game is also looking for a match as well. This pressure to be first is where the real fun of Spot It! lies.

Everyone in the game is racing like a crazy person to find a match first. When someone does find a match they call it out, take or discard a card, and play continues. With everyone playing from the same pool of cards the game does not end until all of the cards are depleted, or claimed, by the players. It is this frenetic non-stop scramble for matches that makes Spot It! so much fun. There is no breaktime, no downtime, no resting the brain. You find a match or you do not. Then you do it again, and again, and again another 45 or so odd times.

If you are lucky a card will be flipped and the matching pair of objects jumps out at you. More often then not though matches are hard to find. So much is the pressure to find a match first that matches become seemingly impossible to find. No matter how much time you have before someone else finds a match - you - just - can - not - find - one! It is not unheard of for a player to stop the game to check if their card really does have a match with the card that was just lost. It goes something like this,

"There is a blue pencil on my card but not on the other card. No green slime (or buggers as the boys like to call it) either. No "ART". No bomb. No skull... AHH! THERE IS A SKULL! HOW DID I NOT SEE IT SOONER!?"

Spot It! is simple enough that the boys can play at a fairly competitive level. Naito is fast enough to always be in the hunt for a win while Raishi usually comes in last but he is still right there with the rest of us. We have played in every possible combination between two and five players and the boys always have a great time.

I really like Spot It!. So much so we have purchased a second version of it: Spot It! Gone Camping to play on our camping trips we often take. Fun, portable, versatile, inexpensive, simple enough for the boys to understand and challenging enough to keep the adults happy. Spot It! is absolutely a must own game for every family. I can not recommend it highly enough.

The Spot It! Mini-Games

The Tower
In this mini-game players must be the first to match their card to the top card in the tower. The first player to do so gains the card and places it on the top of their pile. The player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.

The boys like this version of the game. Raishi has trouble with it and will gripe that the game is too fast for him. Naito can be frustratingly fast at gaining cards and has a very good chance of winning.

The Well
Opposite of the tower; Players have an equal number of cards in their stacks and race to get rid of them by matching them to the top card in the center pile. The first player to get rid of all of their cards wins.

This is, perhaps, the boys favorite way to play. Both Naito and Raishi can challenge for first place here. Odd that this really is just The Tower in reverse but Raishi does so well in it. In the end it matters not as we all have a blast when we play.

Hot Potato
In Hot Potato players place cards on their hand trying to match their card with another players card. When a player finds a match they give all the cards in their hand to the player they made a match with and draw a new card. At the end of the game the player with the least cards in their hand wins.

This is too hard for Raishi. He really does not understand the rules and cant keep the card on his hand in such a way that the other players can see it. Perhaps playing with the cards on the table would make it easier...? He does not like this way of playing so we don't play it.

The Poisoned Gift
Here you have to use the center pile to find matches with the other players. When you find a match between the center card and another player you give them the center card. At the end of the game the player with the least cards in their pile wins.

The boys and I really like the way of playing. The boys always yell, "Lets beat-up on daddy!" and work in concert to defeat me. Luckily, I seem to be pretty good at finding matches and can usually prevail. This is our second favorite way of playing.

In this mini-game you need to make a match across three cards upon a grid of nine cards. This is above the level of the boys currently so we do not yet play it. The boys made lots of matches but no triple matches.

Naito's Thoughts:
I really like Spot It! It is fun to spot matches. I like all the different games with the different rules. I love being the first to get a match. Beating daddy is the best! I love every part of Spot It! Every time we play I laugh and giggle a lot.

Raishi's Thoughts:
I love Spot It! I want to give it 10 stars. Making a match is fun. I like to give my cards to other people. I don't like how fast the game is.

Is it easy to teach?:
Naito's Understanding:
Raishi's Understanding:

Dad's Rating:
Naito's Rating:
Raishi's Rating:

Everyone is having fun.

"I got it!"

"It's MINE!"

The World of Spot It!

As of this review there are something like 30 different versions of Spot it!. I can almost guarantee you will find a version the kids (or you) will enjoy. For instance, you could try:

- Spot It!

- Gone Camping

- Alphabet

- Basic English/French/Spanish

- Freeze

- Holiday


- Numbers & Shapes

- Animals

- Shalom

- Splash

- Doc McStuffins

- Frozen

- Jake and the Never Land Pirates

- Disney Planes

- Pixar

- Halloween

- San Francisco

... and more!

Check out more of my reviews at my Growing Up With Games GeekList
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Black Bart
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PonSquared wrote:
Spot It! is absolutely a must own game for every family. I can not recommend it highly enough.

Agreed, I haven't played anything that works as well with just about anyone, young or old.
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