Note: This review was originally written - and published elsewhere - 6 years ago when my son was only 3 years old. Thank goodness we have long moved on from stuff like this.
A few months ago we started playing board games with our 3-year-old. We started with Candy Land, and once he'd mastered that, we decided to try another one. For our son's second board game his grandmother sent us this University Games Dragon Tales Game.
What You Get
~ 4 game pieces (Cassie, Zack & Weezie, Ord, Emmy & Max)
~ 4 6-piece puzzles
~ 4 Pictures of the finished puzzles
~ 1 game board (about half the size of a standard game board)
~ 1 spinner with the numbers 1,2,3,4,5, and 6 on it
Playing the Game
Every player picks a game piece and takes the picture of the puzzle that corresponds with that piece. Then, the puzzle pieces for all of the players get placed face down in a pile (if there are fewer than 4 players, the pieces from any puzzles not being done should be set aside).
The board is made up of many spaces, most of which are blank. There are 6 special spaces with instructions on them. 1 - collect 3 puzzle pieces, 2 - collect 2 puzzle pieces, 3 - lose one puzzle piece, 4 - a spot that sends you to another spot on the board, 5 - a spot that tells you your stuck in the goo and may not collect a puzzle piece, and 6 - a space that tells you to go anywhere on the board that you wish. There is a start space, but no end space. The spaces make up a wavy sort of circle and you go around and around, several times at least, to collect enough puzzle pieces to finish your puzzle.
Each player spins the spinner on his turn and moves that number of spaces. When you pick puzzle pieces from the pile, any pieces that don't belong to your puzzle go back into the pile. The first person to finish his or her puzzle wins.
What We Like
My son likes that this is a Dragon Tales game and that all of the major characters are included. He likes to do puzzles, so we like that that's part of the game as well. I like that it helps reinforce number recognition and counting.
What We Don't Like
There's no nice way to put it. This game is just boring. You go around and around this very small board with only a few fun spaces to land on. It would be much better if the board was bigger and if there were more special spaces. It would be nicer to go around fewer times.
It's Dragon Tales, but not enough Dragon Tales.
The special spaces on the board don't look like they're from dragon tales. They aren't cartoonish enough. Obviously the puzzles and pieces are Dragon Tales, but the board doesn't look very much like the show.
The game pieces are cheap.
I expected them to be plastic figures or shaped cardboard figures. Instead, they are flat cardboard rectangles with pictures of the characters on them that attach into plastic bases that fall off with some frequency during game play.
The Puzzle Pictures are flimsy.
These should be cardboard or at least thick paper. Instead, these backgrounds are just very thin pieces of paper that are quickly getting destroyed.
I expected somthing a lot cuter from a Dragon Tales puzzle, and definitely expected a bigger board. The game box is the same size as the Candy Land Box, but it's completely unnecessary. The board (which does not fold) is much smaller than the box itself, and the pieces that fit in it take up very little space.
As a gift, this puzzle game is okay. For the $10 my mother paid for it, you can get much nicer, more exciting, and more attractive games. My son enjoys this game to a certain extant, but he does get bored with having to circle the same small board a whole bunch of times to collect his puzzle pieces. However, it does help reinforce counting, and we do like the 4 puzzles that come with it. If you find this puzzle at a yard sale, thrift store, or on clearance somewhere it's worth picking up and playing every once and awhile if your child is a big fan of the show.