“Just have fun. It’s Wicketball. It’s all good.”

If you can kick a ball, you can play it. If you can roll a ball, throw a ball, bounce a ball, you can play it. You can play it in the sand. You can play it in the snow. You can play it in the dirt. You can play it like golf, you can play it like croquet, you can play it like both games simultaneously. You can play it with kids, you can play it with seniors, you can play it with kids and seniors and anybody who wants to play. You can create your own course. You can make it very hard. You can make it just easy enough to make you want to keep playing. You can play it seriously, you can play it for fun.


It’s Wicketball.

It’s not something to be taken lightly, this Wicketball game. Just ask the postman who delivered our set. 65 pounds! Designer/publisher Bob Zoller explains that each wicket weighs 6.5 pounds. And you get eight of them. And two soccer balls. And then there are the flags clips and flags, and the DVD and the rules and the list of 64 more ways you can play Wicketball.

See, these wickets are solid metal. They’re designed to be banged into the ground with a sledgehammer, to resist seriously kicked soccer balls, to last pretty much forever.

Keeper AwardThe thing about Wicketball is that it can be played anyway that’s fun for you. They’re an invitation to creativity as much as they are to fun. You want to bowl the balls instead of kicking them, sure, why not? You want to kick the balls backwards, play on your hands and knees, play at night, play with your eyes closed? You want to make the course cover a few acres? You want to play in the snow or sand? You want to play with kids, with the whole family, with seniors, with the whole community? You want to play it like golf or croquet or more like soccer?

Just like Bob Zoller says: “Just have fun. It’s Wicketball. It’s all good.” It’s Major Fun!

Rory’s Story Cubes

Rory's Story CubesRory’s Story Cubes is a set of nine dice. Each die has a different image on each side, and each die is different from the others. All in all, this gives you 54 different images and close to ten million possible combinations.

There are almost as many different games you can play with your Story Cubes. Three suggestions: 1) roll all the cubes, pick an image to start, and weave all of the 9 images into a story; 2) decide on a theme or title for a story, roll the cubes, and use just those images to illustrate your story; 3) give each player some cubes, start with one player who rolls her cubes, and selects one of them to start the story; and then it’s the next player’s turn.

Major Fun AwardHonestly, that’s only the beginning. You can set the cubes in any order and try to make a story that includes each image, from left to right, and then goes on to include those same images in reverse order.

The point is, Rory’s Story Cubes is an invitation to shared creative thinking, just open-ended enough to encourage spontaneity and humor, just structured enough to maintain focus and challenge.

Gamewright has added its usual stamp of quality, housing the dice in a wonderful little box with a folding magnetic lid, giving the game a look that complements the treasure it can so easily become.

There’s a whole website devoted to Rory’s Story Cubes, published by the inventor, Rory O’Connor. The site adds even more to treasure – more ways to play, more stories to read (you can even add your own), more ways to think about co-creativity. And yes, there’s an iPhone app too.

Making and telling stories is a valued and venerable play form. And Rory’s Story Cubes is a wonderfully nonthreatening invitation to that art. Play it by yourself. Play it friends. Play it with family. Play it at a party. By all means, play it.

Word on the Street, Jr.

Word on the Street for kidsTaking a game for adults and making it accessible for a younger audience is tough. You want to preserve the elements that made the original so fun for older players. You have to consider the cognitive development (and sometimes fine motor control) of younger children. You also want your game’s brand to carry through—someone (the parent with the money) should look at your game and say, “I love that game! I bet little whats-its-name will like this kids’ version too!” The wrong way to do it is to have your marketing department slap the game’s name and logo on a board with a spinner and hope the kids will be entertained by the random movement of colorful pieces. The right way to do it is like Word on the Street, Jr.

We reviewed the original Word on the Street a while back. It’s major fun. We wanted to see how Word on the Street, Jr. held up in comparison. Specifically, we wanted to see if the junior set would engage adults and children at the same time. Sound impossible for a word game? Sound like two great tastes that have no business being in the same kitchen let alone the same plate? THINK AGAIN!! It’s a hoot.

Major Fun AwardThe rules: Word on the Street, Jr. has all the letters of the alphabet running down the center of the game board which depicts a street. Each letter is a tile. Two teams compete to see who can get the most letters on to their side of the street. Teams draw a card with a prompt, such as, “name of a vegetable” and then have 30 seconds to come up with a word that matches the category. The letters that spell the word are moved one space toward the team for each time they appear in the word. For example, “carrot” would move the C, A, O, and T one space but the R would move two spaces. Once a team moves a letter to their side of the street, the letter is out of play and can’t be moved the rest of the game.

The Junior version of the game includes the vowels (missing from the original) and the categories are a bit broader to accommodate developing vocabularies. Each category card has two sides, the blue side being a bit tougher than the green side.

I have only played the Junior version and it is plenty nerve-wracking. The 30 second timer keeps the game moving and the challenge is to come up with words that have lots of double or triple consonants. My eight-year-old enjoys playing with me and my wife (the adults play with the no vowels rule), but the most fun I had was in watching my daughter and her friends. The kids caught on to much of the strategy and gave their thinking muscles a work-out. Often they forgot that they were on different teams and volunteered their best responses to whatever category happened to be face up. They yelled. They laughed. They brought out their biggest words. In general, they acted like caffeinated jumping beans — which is a sure indication that major fun is afoot.

If you go to the Word on the Street site, and scroll down a bit, you’ll also find a downloadable form you can use to create your own additional cards for the game. This is major cool, because you can make the game engage players on so many more levels with categories like: “12-letter words,” “family members,” “chores,” “word in a Mylie Cyrus song.”

Original concept for Word on the Street, Junior by Jack Degnan. Copyright 2009, Out of the Box Publishing, Inc.

Will Bain, Games Taster

Dancing Eggs

a Tasting of the Dancing Eggs gameIf you look for Haba’s Dancing Eggs game, you’ll see photos of kids running amok with giggly silliness. In our review, however, you see a group of adults, similarly amok. This is to make a point: though Dancing Eggs is designed to be a great, highly physical, significantly delightful game for kids; if adults get to play, it’s at least as much fun for them to play.

It’s probably the only commercial game to come in an egg box. And most deservedly so. You get 10 eggs. 9 of them are made of some kind of rubbery, bouncy plastic, one of wood. You also get two large wooden dice.

The red die tells you what to do. You might get to take an egg from the carton, or you might not get an egg unless your the first to crow like a rooster, or you might all have to run around the table – the first to get back to their seat getting an egg. You might have to drop an egg on the table and be the first to catch it. Or you might have to be absolutely still – and if you’re not, you have to put an egg back into the carton.

Then, after you’ve followed the instructions on the red die, there’s the white die, which tells you where you have to put the egg. Like under your chin, or between your legs or in your armpit. Of course, if you drop an egg, you have to return it to the carton. Now the nice thing about the rubbery plastic eggs is that, in addition to all their bouncy wonderfulness, they also have a rubbery kind of friction, which makes them much easier to hold on to. Even when you’re holding them under your chin. And which makes the wooden egg so especially interesting (and worth an additional point), is its wonderfully wooden slipperiness.

Designed by Roberto Fraga, Dancing Eggs proves to be unadulterated Major FUN, even for adults.

Scroll To Top