USAopoly has been creating fun and family friendly board games since 1994. They take fun and games pretty seriously, producing games 'with a twist' under license from Hasbro, and partnering with names like Disney, Nintendo, and Warner Bros. And yes, they do have a full line of themed Monopoly games, but they also bring a growing collection of their original games to the table as well. Games that reflect their company values -
bring a smile, play fair, do it right, honor your word, and give it your best.
Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone - This is a beat-the-timer word game that the whole family can play, for 2-8 players aged 8 years old and up. You get the Tapple wheel, which has 20 letters of the alphabet on it (Q, U, V, X, Y, Z are not included because they are least commonly used to start a word in English), and a set of 36 cards with 144 categories. The cards store conveniently in the bottom of the wheel, making it very easy to keep the game together for storing or for taking along to a game night party. All you need is 2 AA batteries and some friends or family members to play along!
Choose a category from one of the cards and start play by naming an item that fits the category and tapping down that letter on the wheel, and then tapping the red timer in the middle. Then it's the next player's turn to do the same. In TEN SECONDS or less! Sounds easy, right? We were surprised how challenging it could be to come up with "things that are yellow" for each letter of the alphabet! Once a letter has been tapped down, it can't be used again in that round. If a player can't come up with a word before the timer runs out, he is out of the round. The last man standing wins that category card, and the first player to collect three cards (or four, or five - whatever players agree upon) wins the game.
We often played this with just two players, but we found it to be more fun the more participants we had. I was surprised how much we all enjoyed this, and how fiercely competitive we could get - even my boys who don't generally like word games. This game rewards fast and creative thinking, and it's easy to see the educational benefits too, especially for younger kids. We played only with teens and adults, but I think it would be easy to adapt the rules or relax them a bit to even the playing field for kids that are still learning or are struggling with spelling. The website actually suggests some adaptations for education, as well as for making Tapple even more fun as a party game.
Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game - This game combines using instructions on the playing cards with steady-handed block stacking skills, and can be played by two or more players aged 8 and up. It comes with a set of nine colorful Wonky blocks (in a drawstring bag) and a set of 54 strategy cards. The premise is simple - play a strategy card and stack the blocks accordingly, and the first player to get rid of all their cards wins - but, those blocks really are wonky! They are not perfect cubes - each one has a combination of straight, curved, and slightly slanted sides, providing a bigger challenge than you might think in getting them to stack neatly and to stay stacked!
Each player starts with seven cards. You lay down one of your cards and stack the block as instructed. There are cards that specify the color or size block you must play, and some cards that give you a choice of blocks. There are also cards that allow you to skip stacking a block and pass, cards that reverse the direction of play, and cards that instruct the next player to pick up cards. You may use only one hand to add the block to the tower, and the tower must remain standing for a count of three after you've added your block. If the tower topples during your turn - you have to draw three more cards.
This game was also more challenging than it initially appeared, and we thought it was more fun with more people. It provided fun for all of my kids (the two high schoolers, and the young adult) and will be making its way to some game night parties too!
- both games took only seconds to learn, but provided lots of fun!
- both worked with just two players or with a larger group, but we preferred three or more players.
What I need to mention:
- it may seem obvious, but for both games, you'll need to be able to fit all the players around a table where everyone can easily reach. We found it much easier to play Tapple when everyone could reach the wheel in the center of the table, rather than trying to pass the wheel.
- for Wonky, you'll want a sturdy and level table. Playing Wonky on a wonky table can be pretty frustrating!
Our bottom line: This review was pure fun for the whole family, and I expect these two games to continue to provide fun for family game nights, when my kids have friends over, at youth group, and at our church's Ladies Theme Night parties and coffee house game nights. And after browsing the USAopoly website, I've found a number of other games to add to our wishlist as well!
Do you want to try some fun new games for your family? Here's what you need to know:
Visit the website: http://USAopoly.com/
Explore all their Games and Puzzles, and check out the blog for more information and ideas.
Pricing: Suggested price is $19.95 for each game. Visit the website to find out where to buy.
Recommended Ages: Tapple and Wonky are both recommended for ages 8+.
You can follow USAopoly on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, and on Pinterest.
Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for more information and to read other reviews. Crew members reviewed the Party Potion game as well, so be sure to check out all of them!
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