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My five year old loves mind games and puzzles, and I love giving them to her as it keeps her busy and occupied for ages.....stopping her from asking 256754 questions a minute when I am trying to load the dishwasher. Amazon recommended this game based on my past purchases for her so it was a very happy little girl who opened this on Christmas morning.
***What do you get?***
The game comes in a cardboard box which went straight in the recycling as it was big and wasn't very easy for my daughter to open. Inside is the black game board, laid out with raised squares and with a little notch for the game cards. There are forty game cards, ten in each level of difficulty, each a different colour so that you can tell the difference. Difficulty is denoted by the little icecream cone in the corner - the more difficult the level then the more ice-cream scoops are on the cone. On the back of the cards is the solution to the problem. You get fifteen little game pieces, all in the shape of cars, trucks and fire engines and one in the shape of an ice cream van. The game pieces each cover two or three of the raised squares on the game board and can be pushed along in straight lines. You arrange them on the board in the pattern shown on the game card to 'trap' the ice-cream van, then move them around each other to 'free' the van so it can escape out of the 'exit'. It is a single player logic game, although you can play other people to see who can do it in the smallest number of moves.
The whole game can be stored in a small cloth bag that comes in the box, which fits the game board, all the pieces and the cards very easily.
Recommended Age Range is 6-8 years
Maker- Ravensburger (a well-established company with a reputation for high quality games)
Its a fairly basic and unprepossessing game and once out of the exciting box, my little girl was a bit less impressed. We set her up with the first level with just three cars and talked her through it, moving the cars with our fingers. The second level went much faster and within an hour she was on card number 5 and definitely aware of how the game worked. Each card took between 1 and 5 minutes to complete at this level and she had the first ten cards completed within.
It took much longer to complete the rest of the cards, which involve more cars and proportionally more time to complete and playing once a week or so, the game was finished in about five months. The last ten cards needed adult supervision and we worked to finish these ones as a team. Certainly the last ten were about adult level, using over ten of the game pieces and taking multiple tries to complete each card. I found I had to sit and puzzle it out by myself whilst she was in bed so that I could help her with suggestions when she played it the next day.
The last ten were very tricky and I have to admit that I was so tired I did on occasion have to resort to the solution on the back. The solution is quite tricky to work out itself as it just has a small picture of the board with the each piece depicted and given a letter code. The order in which you have to complete the puzzle is given underneath using the letter codes so it looks like just a string of letters. Very confusing for an adult, but for a child means that even if they decide to cheat, they are having to work just as hard for the solution this way!
I was surprised just how well my daughter took to this game. She liked completing it by herself and also working with my husband and myself to find the solution together. After a few levels she got the basic premise and zoomed off onto the trickier ones. She finished the middle twenty cards all by herself while we watched and it was fantastic to see how she improved her thinking with each level. The game seemed to help coalesce her thought processes, as actually having the coloured pieces to move around helped her see where to move them all to next. By the thirtieth card she was planning several moves ahead and in her head, without having to move the pieces in any trial moves. There were temper tantrums and whinging for help once or twice when she couldn't see her way out of a particular move, but once we stepped in with a suggestion she was off and running again.
The pieces themselves are lovely, each one is a different colour and a different type of car (except for the two lorries and fire engines). In the back of one of the cars is a little dog and its details like this that make the game so much fun to play. The plastic is strong enough for years of play, but sadly not strong enough to survive being chewed by an inquisitive brother, so some of our pieces have been 'retired'. Luckily you never need all of the pieces so they can be easily substituted.
I think this game is super and would wholeheartedly recommend it for 5+ children. I was impressed by the way it is so simple but encourages logical thinking, spatial awareness and forward planning. For a competitive and intelligent child who enjoys puzzles and jigsaws this is a super gift and it is a game you can play on your own or in a small group. It is very challenging, but the solution is there to be found and the physical gameboard is much easier to manipulate than a piece of paper and a pencil. The size makes it perfect to rest on a lap and it has kept my daughter occupied happily on several recent car journeys
We had lots of fun with this game and we have put it away for a few months before letting her restart again. In the meantime I am looking at the adult version for my own Christmas present, so obsessed did I get with finishing this junior version!
Rush Hour Jr retails for £11.99, although Amazon often sells it cheaper-I bought it for £8.99