Gaming with kids #2: Monza and Jurassik

Second batch of rented games tested on the kids!*

Monza

Monza (as in the Italian F1 race track) is a classic dice-based racing game from Haba.

Overview

Players control cars racing around a colourful three-lane oval track using handfuls of colourful dice. The goal of the game is to, well, win the race. Each round a player throws 6 dice - each with the same six colours on its sides. Any dic result lets you move to an adjacent place on the board of that colour, as long as you move forward, forever forward. It's up to the player to chose the order in which their dice are spent. And that is where the game manages to introduce basic concepts of tactics. Rare stuff in a game for 5 year olds, but it works well here.

Components

Nice wooden race cars, efficient wooden dice. Nice, big enough player board. (Maybe it could have benefited a double sided board (ala Automobiles from AEG) for longevity?)

From what age?

Box says five, and I tend to agree. Some tactical thinking is needed here. (I bet it would be fun for even younger ones, though.)

Variants

One potential fun variant could be for the players to alternate picking dice from the same dice throw. The current player throws all six dice and chose one, the next player picks another, and so on around the table until all dice are spent and it's the turn of the next player to throw the dice. This would render the game even more tactical, as one would have to pay more attention to what the other player(s) would need...

Verdict

The five year old loves this game. As good as Pique Plume, he states. First (children's) game he has gotten to play where you get to roll so many dice at the same time. Two thumbs up again.

Jurassik

Dinosaurs! Everybody loves dinosaurs! Especially every body that has wandered this planet for fewer than double digit number of years...

Overview

Jurassik is a card game where players are palaeontologist digging up sweet, sweet dino bones. Of the fossilized kind... The dig site in question in this game is a 6 by 8 field of cards - both dino cards and cards with special effects. Prior to game start one spreads the cards all over a more than medium sized table (Table size requirements seems to have been scaled down for the new edition of the game...), removes a special 1st dig card, and hey presto, the game can commence. Players alternate in removing any accessible card and either playing it for its effect or adding it to their tableau in front of them. The goal is to collect and complete sets of dinosaurs. A complete set of four cards of the same dinosaur nets you more point per card at the end of the game, and, as importantly, you get to secure it for yourself. Some of the effects cards lets you steal cards from the other player (unless they have the entire set of the bones in question). If a player chooses a fossilized card he knows exactly what dinosaur this card belongs to (as in "open information", if you want). If a player chooses a special effect card he turns it over to reveal either a positive action, like draw two additional bones, steal from another player, a negative one like lose a bone, or a stone blocking further excavation in that direction - making the player also, basically, lose one turn.

Components

The dinosaur illustrations on the cards are on the cute side, and/but clear enough. (It seems there is a second edition with updated components - tiles instead of cards. In a bigger box.)

From what age?

The box says from 5, and once again that seems about right. Players benefit from planning ahead in their excavations.

Verdict

A big hit in our household. We might not invest in it just yet, but it was well played when we rented it, and it is not boring - even for adults. Also, dinosaurs!

*Back in April, that is... This post has been excruciatingly slow to migrate from draft to published staus... (For (slightly) more up-to-date reports on our adventures in Gaming with kids, please see my geeklist on the topic...)