Originally written by Caleb Parnell Lampen:
Quick summary of review: Good theme, and was fun to play once or twice. I don't think it has deep enough game mechanics for most experience gamers. Could be good as light social game with the right crowd, or with young kids.
I played this card game at a game convention, and a friend of mine purchased it. I almost did as well, but decided it wasn't quite right for me or my gaming group. I have played it a few times at this point, and thought I'd give my two cents.
Gameplay mostly revolves around opponents playing problem cards on your kids, and you solving those problems with solution cards of the same category (educational problems are solved with educational solutions, money problems with money cards, for example). Periodically at random, there are opportunities to advance your child to a new phase of their life. If you have no current unsolved problems on your kid, you can advance. Otherwise, you loose the opportunity. The goal is to get the kids through all the phases of life, and out of the house.
The positives: Most of all, the theme comes through. The artwork simultaneously gives a "family friendly" vibe, while leaving room for some subtle cynicism, hitting the right humor notes. The mechanics naturally tell a story, something that I always like to see in a game. Your child gets into trouble at school, so you send them to military school. They are gong to prom, hopefully you have enough money to pay for it. I love the fact that the "grandparents" card can fix anything. I did get attached to my kids' stories, and there was a good amount laughter around the table while playing.
The negatives: I've almost convinced myself to purchase the game writing this. I can't deny that I had fun playing it. However, it isn't really right for me. I like more complex games, and I think this one would not hold up over multiple plays for me. There isn't much in the way of strategy or tactics. It is mostly about reacting to the immediate situation. If you have the right card to solve a problem, you usually use it. Occasionally I had to decide if I wanted to play a good card now or later, but that's about it. There are few real interesting decisions to make for a gamer with much experience.
This might be right for some people. If you like playing games that don't require much focus while socializing for example. I could see it being fun with young kids as well. Not right for me or my gaming group though.