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Der kleine Eisbär und das Schollenhopsen» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A great gateway game for 3, 4 yr olds rss

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Pee di Moor
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The title translates into: Little Polar Bear goes ice-floe-jumping (LPBGIFJ).

As there is no information what so ever on BGG about this nice little kids game, I decided to try a review on the game.

I will try to argue why I think this is a super gateway game for kids of say 3/4 years old.

To appreciate the game (or better: games in the Kleine Eisbar Series) you have to realize that Little Polar Bear is the main character of a book series by the Dutch writer Hans de Bear.
Books, tv-series and movies about Little Polar Bear (called Lars) are published in Dutch, German and English (and according to Wikipedia in 23 other languages as well).

So it seems that Lars is quite popular worldwide, and I have to admit that I bought this game after my youngest son had seen the Little Polar Bear movie.

LPBGIFJ thus scores its first point when your kids know Little Polar Bear. (If not, buy a book too, and read them from it).

Its a game with .... HEXES! Lost of them. They all represent icefloes. Each hex has 1 of 5 different colors. There is 1 die. The die has one white side, and the other 5 sides are in the colors of the hexes.
Then there are 5 characters to play with (each representing a character from the book). All characters are cute. If you like cute, this game scores an extra point. I hate cute. So no point from me.
However, the game scores a point for me for the introduction of hexes to the kids.

Game set up
Before play, all hexes are laid out in 'whatever' formation (as long as they are in one whole).
Then each player places his character on one hex, that should be bordering 'the virtual water' and should be at least one hex away from any other player.

On a players turn you roll the die. Next you remove one hex from the game that is bordering the water AND matches the color of the die.
If 'white' is rolled, the player removes a hex of his choice. If a character was on the hex that is removed then the character has to jump to an adjacent hex.
If there are no adjacent hexes, or they are occupied by other characters then the characters has to jump in the water.
However, once in the water not all is lost yet. The player just continues playing, and if he/she rolls 'white' the character may again climb on a freely selected floe.
If your character is the last one NOT in the water: you win.

What is so kidsgatewayish about this game?
- when I first saw Hey thats my fish I first thought it was LPBGIFJ. Of course, no fish in these floes, and no die in Hey, but LPBGIFJ is to Hey .. as TTR is to RRT.
- There is more similarity to Hey: Floes are removed one by one, and you also sort of try to 'isolate' your opponents. In that sense LPBGIFJ is Hey ... light.
- Initial placing of the character is very important. Some places are just better than others. Does that sound Settlers to you?
- Determining which hex to remove (and why) is for this agegroup still quite a daunting task. Explaning the possibilities (and why) reminds me of later Carcassone games we played.
- Explaining why it is so much better to let Mothers character swim, than Fathers character (and vice versa devil) is a recurrent theme in many games we play today. Bohnanza and Santiago come to mind.
- It aint over till its over. Even when you are in the water you can still play, and have a chance to win! A good experience for any game.
- The 'ok I did not win, but at least I made my big brother swim'-feeling. ninja

If you are looking for a game to play with a 3 to 4 year old, don't hesitate to pick this one up. It will teach them a lot of game things that will come in handy later.

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Christopher DeFrisco
United States
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Ah, negative. I am a meat popsicle.
Thank you for the review!
I recently picked up a copy of this from a thrift store and would have had no clue as to how to play. I think it will make a great addition to my monthly library game night as more and more younger siblings tend to be showing up.
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