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Subject: Sorry, no fries with that. rss

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Michael Debije
The Netherlands
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Chinatopf is a game from Haba from 1996. It is designed for 2 to 4 kids ages four and up. It plays in about 15 minutes.

What You Get

Chinatopf comes inside the standard Haba mid-size box. While I like the illustration of the wok and the vegetables and fish inside it, I was not as fond of the rather stereotyped drawings of the people, but no great sin there. Inside you get a little wooden wobbly red wok, a colored die, 8 white cubes (‘tofu’) and 24 wooden ingredients: round green peas, white eggs, orange carrots, blue fish, violet…uh..bamboo shoots?, and yellow pasta, 4 of each type. These components are great, just the right size for little hands, but the round bits do tend to roll off the table.

What You Do

The game is started by placing a number of tofu ‘cubes’ in the wok. The game suggests starting with 3 or 4: the more tofu blocks, the harder the game will be. This is a nice way to adjust difficulty levels- eight tofu would be very challenging! Then, in turn players roll the colored die. Each face has two colors, allowing the player to choose which colored ‘food’ item they must place in the wok. If you knock out some food, you must take it into your pile. If you have neither of the colors rolled, another player can give you a piece of this color to put in for them. Whoever places all their food in the wok first, wins.

What I Think

There are a lot of dexterity games on the market for little kids, but I find this in the upper tier of this genre. Being able to adjust the difficulty with the tofu cubes is a good idea, and getting the rounded peas and eggs to go in can be challenging. Giving a choice to the player of what item to put in with each die roll allows some decision making, allowing the player estimate the chances of fitting such-and-such an object into the wok. The play is friendly in nature, as you could also be putting your opponent’s food items into the wok as well. In summary, a quality game with a bit of lifetime for kids as early as 3 to about 6 with the ability to scale the challenge. Worth finding for the little ones.
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