The Eloise Game is a surprisingly fun cooperative memory-type game for two to four players, ages 6 and up. I say “surprisingly fun” because it’s a kid’s game that can be quite easily enjoyed by adults too! It’s one to play with your kids that won’t put you into a coma, and that you’ll actually find a bit challenging. The fact that no one loses is a benefit when playing with younger children, and makes this game a nice, light close-of-evening filler for adults too.
The setting for the game is Eloise’s hotel, and there’s a big party happening tonight! The object of the game is to find all the party guests and escort them to the penthouse before the “clock” reaches 6:00 pm. The game pieces are very high quality, thick cardboard stamped with strong, bright colors.
To start the game, mix all the hotel doors well and put one door face down over top each hotel door opening on the game board. There are special door placement rules for two and three players that involve turning some of the doors face up at the beginning of the game, to make the gameplay slightly easier and faster.
Place 4 extra doors in a stack face down in the lobby at the Bell Captain’s station, and the other 4 face down at the Switchboard Operator’s office. Place the elevator in the elevator shaft, and set the clock to 9:00 am. Now you’re ready to start playing!
Whoever goes first is the person who will also move the hands of the clock forward one hour at the end of each round of play, until the game ends either by finding all the party guests or you reach 6:00 pm.
The instructions say you can place your Eloise playing figure anywhere on the stairs, but we played with all Eloise playing figures starting at the bottom of the game board’s stairwell.
On your turn you can “skibble” or hop up to 4 spaces in any direction (left, right, up or down the stairs, up or down the elevator). You can also stay where you are and not move. Each flight of stairs counts as 2 hops (a pink space and a red space). If you are riding the elevator, each floor counts as one hop.
On each turn stop and knock on a hotel door. If you are standing between two doors, you can choose either one of them. Open the door and follow its instructions, then turn it face down again
If you find a party guest, you must give him or her a ride on the elevator to the penthouse! Part of the fun with small children is pretending to be Eloise and her guest as they “ride” up in the elevator to the penthouse. The elevator token has two cutouts at the bottom for your fingers (hint: “dancing” elevator doors are a big hit.
Once you reach the penthouse, put the guest in his or her proper place in the party room. One of the neat things about this game is the party guests form a puzzle that stretches over the top of the board game surface. There’s a particular spot for each of them on the top row, and you’ll know if you have all the guests if the row is completely full.
Once your guest is safely at the party, you take one of the extra doors from the lobby and place it face down in the now empty doorway.
A couple hotel doors have special instructions. If a door says, "Go to the Lobby," close the door and take the elevator or the stairs to the Bell Captain's Stand or the Switchboard Operator in the lobby. Turn over the top door in the stack and then follow its instructions.
If the door says something like, 'Talk to Mars with a paper cup," act out the phrase and close the door. If the door says, "It's getting late," close the door and advance the clock one hour, even if it's not the official clock-turner’s turn. If the door says, "Call the clock repair service," turn the clock back one hour.
If you’ve found and placed all the guests in the penthouse, the game is over. Pass out the round party chips for everyone, featuring pictures of cake, noise makers and party hats, and have a party!
If you don’t find all the guests, the clock keeps advancing and the game is officially over when the clock says 6:00 pm. At that time, the instructions recommend that you just keep playing and be fashionably late. There are no losers in The Eloise Game!
I recommend this game for children who are fans of Eloise or memory games, parents looking for a fun, cooperative game to interest their small children, and adults who want to play a fun game with their kids and get a bit of brain exercise in the process.
It encourages cooperative play, exercises those memory brain muscles, encourages role-playing and imagination, and you never know when a tea party will break out!
"one of the more successful cooperative games"
Thanks for the through review of this great game -- it really is wonderfully entertaining, and captures the licensed property well. I regard it as one of the more successful cooperative games I have played with my kids. Next to Snails Pace Race, it definitely ranks as a top co-op game that actually works.
The lack of a die roll (or spinner) takes away the turn-by-turn disappointments of bad rolls -- no one ever feels cheated during their movement phases, and people can move in any direction they choose. The components are made out of very thick and durable coated cardboard, which helps offset the apparent "fiddliness" of the game pieces and board while in play.