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Subject: Balloon Lagoon Review from watching my kids play rss

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Balloon Lagoon is another Cranium game aimed at letting kids have a lot of fun. The game provides four different activities. The players earn up to four balloons depending on their success with these activities. The first player to fill up their mover with balloons (it takes 15 balloons) is the winner.

On a player's turn, he or she spins the merry-go-round, which is located in the center of the board and has a pointer on one side, and whichever of the four basic activities the merry-go-round points to, the player must attempt that activity. The merry-go-round then serves as a timer - when a button is pushed on the top, it it plays a song. When the song ends, time has run out. Here are the activities:

Letter Lake
This activities is all about fishing for letters. Players drop a magnetic fishing pole into a "lake" and pull out letters. These letters may or may not match the letters in the four letter word the player selected from the chart before the fishing began. Players get one balloon for each letter they match in their word.

Frog Pond
Perhaps the most difficult of the activities. Players try to get four plastic frogs to hop into a green circle representing a pond. Players do this by pushing down a tab on the frog and then releasing it, causing the frog go hop. Very difficult, especially for young children. One balloon is awarded for each frog that ends up on the pond.

Snack Hut
This is the easiet of the four activities. Players simply role a set of 6 dice from a mini-dice tower shaped like a snack hut. The object is to get four matching food symbols on the dice. A player only has to roll the dice that do not match the symbol that he or she is trying to collect. A player gets one balloon for each of the matching snacks (I've never seen anyone not get four on this activity)

Tumble Tide
For the final activity, playes select from about 6 pictures of ocean life and then push buttons to spin what the game calls a "flipbook." This flipbook simply has each picture divided into 4 sections. Players keep spinning until they have matched each of the 4 sections with their selected picture or until time runs out. A player gets one balloon for each piece of the picture he or she has matched.

Play moves from one player to the next, each one spinning the merry-go-round to pick their activity. The first to fill their mover with the needed 15 balloons wins.

My Take On The Game
My sons love playing this game, or rather they love doing each of the four activities. In reality, there is not much game in Balloon Lagoon. When we've played it as a structured game, my sons get bored with it, but they love to pull it out and play with it. So in our house, it has become more of a toy than a game, which is why I have rated it so low. That said, it is a lot of fun and I think the game is better used as a toy, allowing my sons to play it however they want. As a game, it may work with children playing against each other, but if parents want to play it with their children, the kids really have no chance - the parents will win every time if they put forth any effort. And I've found that my sons would rather just let their friends play with the various stations instead of making them wait for their turn.

So in the end, Balloon Lagoon is a lot of fun, but it is fun to play with as a toy, and not to play as a game.
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