Tuesday 30 August 2011

Jumbo Games Disney Princess Magic Wand Game review

As soon as the lovely people at Jumbo asked if we'd like to review a Disney Princesses board game, I knew we'd be on to a winner and that was before I even laid eyes on it. I don't care if there is a whole "pink stinks" campaign these days, there's something about the Disney princesses that makes all little girls' (and usually their mums' and grannies') eyes light up, remembering childhood dreams of Prince Charming, luxurious palaces and happy endings. 

As soon as I started unpacking the box, both 6-year-old Juliette and 10-year-old Sophie (even if she does claim she's outgrown Disney now !) crowded round excitedly to examine the contents. 2-year-old Pierre didn't want to miss out either and was fascinated by the wand, even without the batteries in it ! Ah yes, the batteries ...

The only thing I grumbled about slightly was when we were setting up the board for the first time and I had to go wandering off to the kitchen twice, first to find 2 AAA batteries (which I eventually managed to pilfer from the DVD player remote control, after discovering that the batteries drawer was empty - that was close !) and secondly to find a blunt knife to prise open the "magic pathway" attachments (like big poppers, but very difficult to open). A lot of toys that we've been testing lately have had the batteries included, and I have to say that I much prefer this, even if the price is bumped up slightly to cover the cost. The rest of the board was very easy to slot together though and looks very impressive once it's all set up.

The thing that everybody was most impressed with was the magic wand though, which replaces dice. Each player waves the wand and a voice tells you how many spaces to move or whether you can swap places with another player or rotate a magic path. Not only does this seem quite magical in itself, it also means that you don't have to keep going under the table to retrieve dice that have been rolled too hard and fallen on the floor ! As if that's not magical enough, at the very end of the game, when one of the players has reached the gates to the castle, the wand has one more magic trick up its sleeve (or handle) - you touch the point of the star on the castle gates and they magically open. The girls were very impressed - and also laughed their heads off because as the gates sprang open, they made the poor princess waiting to go in go flying across the table ! Oops !

The gameplay is simple enough, with no complicated rules. The magic pathways add a tactical element to the game as you can be nice and help players move along or be nasty and block them, depending on their age and how nice you're feeling ! The special squares like the evil characters who make you miss a turn, the wand for an extra go or the magic squares which protect you from being swapped with another player, are all easy to understand because they are visual and you don't need to read, so it's great for younger players.

Game play lasted about 20 minutes which was perfect. There was no arguing and no cheating and nobody got confused about the rules, despite the age difference between the players. Even Pierre joined in - he waved the wand and we moved his princess. Up to four players can play at any one time.

And the winner was ... Juliette, which she was very proud of ! It's a lovely family game that kids (not necessarily just the girls) can play whatever their age and the magic wand adds an element of wow-factor that makes it seem extra special. Just don't forget to buy the batteries when you buy the game or you'll have some very disappointed youngsters to deal with !

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £14.99

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  1. sounds like a great game for all ages. great review as ever

  2. sounds great - i agree about the batteries too - nothing more frustrating than desperately trying to find batteries with an impatient child desperate to play the game/toy!

  3. I think my daughter and niece would enjoy playing this

  4. i think any little girl would love this, looks fab! i would consider gettting one for my niece xx

  5. This is the sort of thing we are beginning to look at and reviews like this are most helpful. Thank you.

  6. Every little girls will love this, I definitely agree! Gorgeous! My niece love it too.

  7. My daughter is princess mad! - could be one for the christmas list


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