In our house we love to play board games as a family. Inevitably there are winners and losers. For a pre-schooler it can be devastating not to win at a simple game. Parents can feel guilty and “let the kid win”, which is a hollow victory. How about a game that you can play with a family and nobody comes out a loser, or everyone comes out a loser but you do it together. I’m talking about cooperative games. For today’s SwagsGiving giveaway I have one such cooperative game called Mermaid Island.
Mermaid Island is a game from Peaceable Kingdom. I’ve done a Peaceable Kingdom game review before, for another cooperative game called Lost Puppies. Between the two I enjoy Lost puppies more but Mermaid Island is a good game on its own merit. Like Lost Puppies the packaging and game materials for Mermaid Island are made from recycled materials. Every effort is made to save space and be more green and efficient. For instance, the instructions are printed on the inside top cover of the game box. The gameplay is simple enough that it only requires the amount of space on the back of the top cover of the box. Nothing more than what is needed is used. The game pieces are also made from recycled materials and there is no extra waste there either.
Gameplay is simple. There are three Mermaids that need to get to Mermaid Island. They need to get there before the Sea Witch. Eva had a hard time understanding that any player can move any of the Mermaids and that was mostly because there was a blonde Mermaid and she wanted to be that character. She eventually got the concept but wasn’t too happy about it.
I found that Mermaid Island is a bit difficult. The Sea Witch begins further along on the board than the Mermaids and if any player spins the spinner and it lands on the Sea Witch the Sea Witch moves ahead one space. Yes, the Mermaids can take shortcuts and can sometimes move two space but the Sea Witch just keeps moving along. If the Sea Witch Touches a Mermaid the Mermaid has to go back to start. Mermaids can pick up one of four wands and use it to send the Sea Witch back one measly space. We had a rough time with the Sea Witch when we played because our spinner landed on that space more often than not.
Yes, it is luck of the draw and we have a much higher probability of landing on a move ahead 1 or 2 spaces space than the Sea Witch but we got beat by that Sea Witch big time. The Sea Witch can also take the wands if she lands on the space where a wand it laying. So in our game we spun the Sea Witch multiple times, the Sea Witch caught a Mermaid a couple of times and the Sea Witch snagged a couple of the wands. So, as a family we lost the game.
Sea Witch, one tough customer.
But that is the nice thing about playing cooperatively. We did it together. And, as a family we need to work together with strategy to win this game. It still comes down to spins but we can use a wand to save a mermaid from getting caught by the Sea Witch (if we have one) or we can choose to move one mermaid over the other one so that a Mermaid can land on a space to take a shortcut. The game allows us to talk about the best way to proceed as a team and I love that.
You can win your own copy of Mermaid Island and take on the Sea Witch for yourself. Just follow the directions on the Rafflecopter Widget below (please make sure you read the instructions carefully)
Disclosure: I received a copy of this toy to review and blog about as well as give away as part of the SwagsGiving Event. Opinions about the toy are 100% my own.
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