Friday, September 25, 2015

REVIEW: Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone and Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game by USAopoly

The kids were excited to get to review two great games, Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone and Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game, by USAopoly.

 

WHAT IS IT?:

Tapple is a fun and surprisingly challenging word game by USAopoly that brings a good time to any group or family gathering.  The object is to draw a category, attempt to use an available letter to name something in that category, then tap the letter you used within the 10-second time limit before turning it over to the next player to repeat this process.  Failing to give an appropriate response before the timer goes off means you’re out of the round, and whoever wins the majority of 3 rounds wins the game.  Game play becomes more difficult as the letters are used up.  This game is intended for ages 8 and up.  It’s available for just $19.95 and will accommodate 2-8 players, making it a great option for parties or large families.

Wonky is another challenging game by USAopoly that combines strategically selecting the right card to play and building a wonky tower with the cubes that match your card.  Game play is complicated by 3 sizes of blocks, all of which are imperfect cubes with a combination of rounded corners and slanted sides!  Throw in reverse plays and passes, and you could have a real problem on your hands!  If the tower falls during your turn, even before you’ve placed your cubes, you have to draw 3 cards!  You must either run out of cards or successfully stack all eight blocks in order to win!  This game is intended for ages 8 and up and accommodates 2 or more players.  It’s available for just $19.95.

 

 

OUR EXPERIENCE:

My kids could hardly wait to try out these two great games.  First off, my 16 year old son, Hayden, and I tried out Tapple while the other kids looked on to get a feel for how to play.  This game offers two levels of categories…one for younger kids, and one for older kids and adults.  This helps you increase or decrease the level of difficulty depending upon who’s playing the game. 

I absolutely *LOVE* word games…they are just my thing…so Hayden had his hands full trying to keep up with my broader vocabulaDSCF4437ry!  I have to say that while you may feel well prepared for the category that has been drawn, you might find yourself with a “brain fart” when the pressure of that 10-second timer is bearing down on you!  Many times, we found our minds drawing a total blank on the most obvious of categories.  Luckily, the least common letters are excluded from the game board, so there’s no need to worry about the letters Q, U, V, X, Y, or Z.  That takes some of the pressure off.  We parlayed pretty well with each other until we started questioning each other’s responses.  When that happens, credit for your answer can be taken away by a majority vote of the other players, and you can lose that round if you’ve already “tapped” the letter of your answer before it was accepted by the group.  Hayden struggled with categories like household cleaners, and I stunk at things like sports.  All in all, we had a ton of laughs, and I even thought it was funny when Hayden would give me the stink-eye for answers like “alabaster” for colors, LOL. 

Tapple was a game that I think the kids enjoyed playing with each other more than with me, just because of our differences in vocabulary, but we all loved the concept of the game.  And it was great that there were color-coded categories for older or younger players so the kids can play on their own level.  My kids continued to get it out and play it together in the days to come, and they all liked it a lot.  In fact, the idea of it caught on, and we found ourselves playing a verbal form of Tapple in the van on the way home from church and online with friends!  From a teaching standpoint, I can see where you could really use this game as practice for school-related topics, as well, just be making up your own categories.  For instance, if your kids are studying the periodic table, you could have them play Tapple naming the elements.  If they are learning parts of speech, you could have them play naming nouns or verbs or adjectives.  We did some of that, too, and it made learning more fun and a great way to exercise our brains.  I can really see us using this game for years to come in plenty of different ways. 

Next up was a challenging game of Wonky between Hayden and me while the others again watched to learn the rules.  We both loved the strategy involved in this game.  We were each dealt 7 cars to start off, and if we couldn’t play, we had to draw a card.  Playing a card meant passing, placing a matching cube on the tower, or placing a cube and reversing play.  This game is definitely harder than it looks!  Choosing the wrong card to play may mean you’ve not only made game play difficult for your opponent, but also more difficult for your own future moves, so you have to take that into consideration as you go.  My personal strategy was to try to stack the blocks from largest to smallest and aim for not knocking over the tower.  I did that because if you can successfully place all eight blocks, then you automatically win. 

DSCF4431Amazingly, we managed to do it on our very first game!  It was definitely a challenge, because those cubes truly are wonkier than they look.  They have rounded edges and corners in some places, as well as slanted sides.  They do tip easily, and you cannot adjust any block other than the one you are placing on top.  This was really fun!  The other kids couldn’t wait to play it, and my 7 and 11 year old kids took over and played a few rounds on their own.  Everybody had great fun with this one.  And conveniently, all of the cards and cubes, and even the instructions themselves, fit right inside the included drawstring bag, which makes it a handy game to pack for a weekend trip or annual vacation.  I also love that neither game requires too much of a time commitment.  Tapple takes approximately 10-20 minutes to play,

I’m pretty sure both of these games will be packed for our spring vacation and probably even for our short trip to the state fair for two days in just a couple of weeks.  I love that Tapple offers so many possibilities for adaptations to cross into multi-subject studies, as well as being just plain fun and a brain challenge for standard play.  Wonky takes a completely different type of thought, so both games are a great addition to your family’s game closet.

Take a look at what other Crew members have to say about these two exciting games from USAopoly by clicking the banner below.