Monday 8 September 2014

Cartamundi Shuffle Card Games review

In the days before tablets and laptops, parents used to prepare for long journeys and holidays by buying travel games - often scaled down versions of well-known and loved board games. These seem to have fallen by the wayside a bit in recent years but I think Cartamundi and Hasbro have just given them a new lease of life with their range of Shuffle card games.

We received four games - Monopoly Deal, My Little Pony, Transformers and Nerf - before heading off on our travels, so I put a couple in the Trunki - they're so compact, they take up very little space - and they were ideal for playing at the airport or in the hotel room while waiting for people to finish taking showers and putting on sun cream. They're so much fun that we're still playing them now that we're back home though. In fact, a quick game of Monopoly Deal has become part of the new bedtime routine since going back to school - I love the fact that they're so quick to set up and each game only takes a few minutes to play so even if I'm busy, I can still join in with the kids before dashing off to cook dinner or do whatever I need to do.

Our favourite is the aforementioned Monopoly Deal. The basic concept is the same as the original Monopoly board game - you need to collect sets of properties and can add house/hotel cards for extra rent. Rather than moving round a board, you pick up cards which allow you to do things such as ask for rent, get money for your birthday or swap/steal properties from your opponents. The first player to get three complete sets of properties wins.

There are other cards thrown into the mix like property wild cards and "just say no" cards but it's not too complicated. As the rules say, "Start playing and all will become clear ... we promise !" - they're quite right too !

You can play anywhere, as long as you've got a flat surface for laying down cards.

We've played quite a few times now and Pierre, who can't yet read, is now able to recognise most of the cards all by himself. I think this will ultimately help him learn to read and recognise words, which is an added bonus !

Once you've finished playing, everything tucks away into a little box. It's a rigid plastic box which is much more robust than a regular cardboard playing card pack.

Pierre and Juliette have also developed a passion for challenging each other to games of Nerf. I couldn't see how this archery/dart game could be transformed into a card game but it actually works really well.

Some of the cards are target cards, with different combinations of one or several colours. The other cards are dart cards. Both players say " 1 - 2 - 3 - Blast" and simultaneously turn over their top dart card to see what colour dart(s) it shows. You must lay the card on a target, hopefully matching all of the colours on the target. Speed is of the essence - it's a bit like snap really.

They also like the My Little Pony game which works a bit like dominoes - you must find the matching half of different coloured jewels. The Transformers one hasn't been played with so much because it's a bit more complicated and strategic, trying to win battle terrains by matching strengths to the different terrains. 

The range is comprised of 12 card games in total - as well as the four that we received, there are also Littlest Pet Shop, Play-Doh, Guess Who?, Trivial Pursuit, Cluedo, Battleship, Boggle Slam and Pictureka. What makes them innovative and bang on-trend is that each one comes with a free app, adding a digital twist that makes them even more appealing to the younger generation. In the Monopoly app, for example, the classic Chance cards are brought to life and make you do things as silly as barking like the Monopoly dog ! The Guess Who? app allows you to make customised faces with your own photos. It's great to have the option of playing with or without the app and having a physical and digital game that genuinely complement each other..

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £6.99

Disclosure : We received the products in order to write an honest review.

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