Ryan Neumeyer
United States
Iowa
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Hello, welcome to the inaugural review of our family’s review series. We will be going though games that we have tried with our daughter and reviewing them so that you can have some good information and options. We hope you enjoy and please follow us to read all future reviews. Also feel free to give us any feedback you may have so we can continue to bring you the best reviews possible.

When we first found out that we were having a baby, we began researching kids’ games that we could introduce at an early age. The one game that came up again and again was Go Away Monster! by Gamewright publishing and designed by Monty and Ann Stambler.

Overview: This is a cooperative game in which the players go around the table and draw tiles out of a bag. If you pull out a piece of furniture or a toy, you put it in your personal room board. If it is a monster, you say, not surprisingly “GO AWAY MONSTER!” and throw the monster tile back in the box. You go around the table until the bag is empty or the rooms are all completed. A full game usually takes 10 minutes for us, even though the box says 15.

Components: We stumbled upon a copy at a game store in a mall while on vacation, and was instantly charmed by the box. It came in a small cardboard box with a handle that made it perfect for our little one to carry like a briefcase. The artwork is simple and childlike, but it conveyed the theme and purpose of the game well. And while Rembrandt wouldn’t write home about it, our daughter liked it. When you open the box, you get four player boards, monster and bedroom tiles, a draw bag, and instructions. The monsters are cute, but still obviously undesirable. The cardboard is thick and functional, and the player board rooms are great and come in different colors so that the child feels like they can customize a little bit. The one nit-picky thing about the components is that the draw bag is a little small for my large adult Fezzik-like hands.

Teachable moments (if any): Since is the first game we attempted with our daughter, one of the hardest things to teach her was taking turns. She originally wanted to take several tiles out of the bag in a row. This game helped lay the groundwork for future games by letting her know that other people get to play as well. The theme of the game also facilitates conquering a fear of monsters and the dark. When the topic arose, we were able to say “remember what we do in Go Away Monster? What should we say to the bad monster?” and she was able to move on. There is also a sharing mechanic at play here. If you pull a teddy bear tile out of the bag, but you already have a teddy bear on your player board, you can share the extra teddy bear with someone who doesn’t have one yet. Another thing that this game taught was how to be ok with disappointment, in the form of not pulling out the piece that you want. If you pull out a monster, while it is fun to tell the monster to go away, you don’t get to advance your board at all for a turn, and essentially lose that turn. This game helps cultivate patience and how to get over not getting your way.

Kid Fun: The biggest overall factor in gaming, in our opinion, needs to be fun. Did our daughter enjoy playing this game? Absolutely. She would ask for it basically every day and when we played it, once was never enough. She loved getting into character, naming the monster (bear monster, crocodile monster, squirmy monster!), and customizing her room board. After the comfort level went up, she would even try to match the color schemes on her board which was hilarious to watch.

Adult Fun: This was initially a great way to connect our daughter to the universe of gaming that we loved, but in the long run, it grew rather tiresome. The frequency with which we were playing it and the simple mechanics were repetitious. I know that comparing this to true “adult” games is unfair, but after the initial excitement, there was little attraction here other than hanging out together as a family.

Appropriate Age Range: The box says ages 3 plus, but what initially drew us to the game was the fact that people were playing this with their 18 month olds in reviews that we had come across. We attempted it at 19 months, and while there were some growing pains, it actually did work. I think that perhaps 18 months to four years old is the best range for this game. Now that our daughter is three and a half, she rarely requests it. And when it does, it’s only the one time. She is able to pick out the different shapes of the tiles while drawing, which is fun. If she is aiming for a bed tile, she will be able to feel around in the bag and pull out the correct shape. The instructions do come with some rules to make it more advanced with taking away the cooperative nature of the game. While I feel that would give this game the legs to stick around for another 6 months, I am hesitant to deconstruct the rules that have already been taught to her. We recently found out that we are expecting again, and we are looking forward to attempting this earlier with our next child and seeing how our daughter does with this game when she is older.

Price and Value: The msrp of the game is $14.00, but I paid ~$11.99 for it. For what you get and the amount of plays you will get, anywhere in this range is perfectly fair. It had been out of print, but was recently reprinted with new artwork.

Conclusion: This game is the perfect introductory game for toddlers. While as parents the obvious choices and conclusions get old fast, the ability to play with a child who cannot talk in full sentences is rewarding. This can be the foundation of gaming mechanics that other games will be able to build upon in the future. We can enthusiastically recommend this game to any and all gaming families with toddlers and gamers-to-be. This is a hard game to rank due to the target age, but I would say for toddlers, this is a full 10. After the four year mark, I think this drops down to a 6, and then continues down from there.
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Sam Hillier
Canada
St. Albert
Alberta
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Great review! Our two year old really likes this one - he especially likes pulling tiles out of the bag, and yelling "Go away monster!" at everyone's monsters.

I agree that 3+ is too high for this game, but it's probably there due to small pieces??? Skill wise, this is perfect for 18-24 months. My 4 year old likes it, but he's moved on to My First Stone Age and My First Carcassonne.

I'd love another game in this age range (18-36 months) so I'm keen to see what other reviews you post. Great work!
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Ryan Neumeyer
United States
Iowa
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I'm sure you're right about the boxes age range. I've also heard that the regulations for printing 3+ aren't as rigorous as they are for younger ages.

When our daughter turns 4, I'm also looking forward to My First Stone Age, and My First Carcassonne.

Thanks for the kind words. Our plan is to put out another review every other week until we run out of games. Haha
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