It’s the second installment of Amigo week as we award Haim Shafir and Amigo for several games that we received recently. Although the games have some very similar features (for example they are all games of speed and quick reactions) each one has its own idiosyncrasies and charm. They are all very clever and, more importantly, fun.
The games I have for you today are those that are most accessible. These are the games you can play with even the youngest children. Their rules are simple, their mechanics intuitive, and the game play Major Fun.
Mish Mash (2 – 4 players. Ages: 5+)
Mish Mash (also called Kuddelmuddel in German) is a beautifully simple game. There are 80 cards and a bell. Each card has three pictures on it. These are spread face down in the middle of the table around the bell. The goal is to be the first to make a line of seven cards. Each card must share an image in common with its neighbors.
When the game begins, everyone starts drawing cards. The first card is turned face up. If a following card you draw has an image that matches your first card then you place it to the left or the right to form a line. Once you place a card it cannot be moved. If a card does not match, you return it to the pile in the center of the table and pick another.
The first to complete a line of seven cards rings the bell.
It takes just a moment to explain the rules and then the race is on. Luck plays something of a role but so does quick pattern recognition. The game is also very easy to adjust for different skill levels. Those who prove themselves most adept can be required to find more than seven cards. It can also be played in teams so it becomes more cooperative.
The illustrations are cute and the game play addictive. Mish Mash is a great game for the family.
Clack! (2 – 6 players, Ages: 4+)
Clack! is the one game in Haim Shafir’s quintilogy of speed games that uses dice and a unique playing piece. There are 2 dice: the first has five images (flower, star, footprint, puzzle piece, lightning bolt) plus a blank side; second has five colors (red, yellow, green, blue, purple) plus a blank side. The game also comes with 36 discs. Each disc has three pictures on it (matching the dice) but the pictures will be different colors on each disc.
The discs are shaped so that they can stack. In addition they are also magnetic so they will stay together when stacked.
To play, one person rolls both dice. At that point everyone rushes to stack all pieces that contain the shape and color that matches the dice. To make matters more interesting, the both dice have blank sides. If the blank comes up then players only have to pay attention to the other die. If BOTH blanks come up, players simply try to stack as many pieces as they can.
Once the dice are rolled, the action proceeds rapidly and the sound of stacking discs rings out like tiny fire-crackers. Even more than the games we have looked at with bells, you have to have nimble fingers, both to be victorious and to avoid some bruises. When all the possible discs are taken, the players put the stack off to the side and roll the dice again. When all of the discs are gone, players stack up all their accumulated discs. Highest stack wins.
The clever stacking pieces and the intuitive rules make for addictive and thrilling games. Kids pick up the rules very quickly, and everyone relishes stamping through the discs just as fast as their hands will allow. It’s fun to get the tallest stack but it’s Major Fun to sneak that disc from right under someone else’s fingers.
Mish Mash & Clack! were designed by Haim Shafir and © 2013 by Amigo.