Ugly Doll

Ugly Doll is a kids’ game, pure and simple. It’s about speed and recognition and matching – skills that most adults have left far behind. It’s also about Ugly Dolls, stuffed dolls that are simultaneously cuddly and ugly, and are consequently all the rage in toyland. Which makes it even more suitable to kids, and even less interesting to adults. Which, of course, makes it so kidworthy in the first place.

Designed by one of the chief Gamewright architects, Jason Schneider, the game is elegantly simple. The cards (all 70 of them) are placed face-down on the table and smooshed around. (It is suggested that “cards can and should overlap.”) The first player (according to the instructions, “the player who most recently took a bath”) turns over any card. The next player turns over any other card. And so forth and on until…no, not until a simple match is found, but until three identical cards are turned over.

Oddly enough, it’s the threeness of the match-seeking that makes the game so interesting and so successful. It’s significantly more difficult, visually and conceptually, to find three of something than two. Significantly. And, because players grab cards as soon as the third match is revealed, and the cards tend to be scattered both willy and nilly about the table, even if you’re not fast enough to be first, there is a good chance that you’ll be able to grab at least one of the three – much better, chancewise, than if there were only two of a kind.

For 2-6 players, ages 6-12. Not deep, not profound, but Major FUN especially for, like I said, kids.

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