We reviewed Swish (the senior) a couple posts ago, and all of the things that go into making it Major Fun have translated into the Junior edition: hefty, clear cards; colorful art; intuitive rules. It is the mark of great design that a game can be made simpler for younger players and it still retains the elements that make it fun and challenging. In this case, Swish Jr., is indeed fun and challenging for kids, but it remains fun and challenging for sophisticated adults who are playing alongside the callow youth.
For those who have not seen our earlier review of Swish—a recap. Twelve cards are dealt in a grid to the center of the table. The cards are made of clear plastic and are decorated with combinations of four basic shapes: purple circles, orange stars, blue arrows, and green lozenges (when you see those green things you’ll understand). Each card contains two of the shapes BUT some of the shapes are solid and some are rendered in outline. The game revolves around finding sets of cards that, when stacked, combine outline shapes with their corresponding solid shapes. For example, if you have a card with a solid star and a solid arrow, you would look for another card with an outline star and an outline arrow. When stacked, the solids fill in the outlines.
When someone spies what they believe to be a set of cards that could be combined to fill all outlines, the player yells Swish, grabs the cards, and demonstrates to the assembled room how the pieces fit together. Or don’t. If the cards fit, the player scores. If they don’t (and sometimes they won’t), the player fails. As cards are removed from the grid, new cards from the deck are used to fill in.
Swish Jr. is simpler in that the shapes are clearly different (in Swish they are all small circles) and there are fewer spaces on each card
where shapes can appear. The game also suggests that older or more experienced competitors should try to make sets of three or more cards while the younger and less experienced only need to match two. This handicapping can change throughout the game. As a novice starts scoring more and more two-card sets, he or she graduates to the next level.
Our group of adult game tasters generally found the two-card sets to be very easy and the three card sets were a good place to start. Four or more was quite difficult. Difficult in a Major Fun way. That kind of difficult where you know the solution is there you just need a little… more… time….
For 2+ players, ages 5+