Wednesday, September 30, 2015

USAopoly Review

Homeschooling isn't all about books and learning. Our family loves to incorporate fun into our days, especially since we still have a house full of little ones. I'm a big believer of learning through play during the younger years. Games are a great way to have fun while increasing some skills without the kids even realizing it. We were happy to receive two games from USAopoly: Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game and Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone.

USAopoly is a company that is all about fun and games. They have been a leading developer and manufacturer of puzzles and board games "with a twist" since 1994. Their products are designed to bring friends and families together by creating memorable moments and emotional connections. When the company's values are "bring a smile, play fair, do it right, honor your word, and give it your best," you know the products are going to portray it.

Wonky is the crazy cubes card game. Players build towers using oddly-shaped blocks that come in 3 different sizes and 3 different colors. The game comes with 9 custom blocks, 54 strategy cards, storage bag, and rules, all packaged in a wonky, misshapen box. Players take turns choosing cards that show which type of block to add or an action to complete. The first person to play all his cards or who successfully plays the 9th block on the tower wins.

Some examples of the cards are
  • Stack the large blue block
  • Stack the small purple block
  • Stack any size, any color block / The next player draws a card
  • Pass turn to next player without stacking a block
  • Stack any color medium block
  • Stack any color, any size block
  • Reverse the direction of lay without stacking a block

What a fun, silly game this is! Like I said, we have a house full of littles, and little ones haven't quite honed the skills needed to stack crooked blocks, ha. We've played a few times with the cards, but mostly the kids just like to take turns choosing blocks to add to the wobbly tower. I'll even find them each playing by themselves sometimes, concentrating on stacking all the blocks. I love that they have to use strategy and building sense to make it work. My husband, with his engineer's mind, is definitely the best at the game. It'll be even more fun, I'm sure, as the kiddos get older and can understand the tactics of playing certain cards to sabotage their opponents.   

The blocks and the pack of cards fit comfortably in the canvas drawstring bag, so it's convenient and space-saving to store the game in just that, rather than the cute, bulky box. 

Tapple is fast word fun for the whole family. It contains the portable Tapple wheel (requires 2 AA batteries), 144 categories on 36 cards, and rules. The cards fit conveniently in a compartment on the back of the wheel, making the game easy to store. Players choose a category and start the timer. Then they take turns naming a word that fits the category, tap the corresponding letter for the beginning of the word, and press the button to reset the timer. The next person has 10 seconds to pick a word starting with a letter that has not been used and reset the timer again.

Categories include the following:
  • Countries
  • Something Red
  • Boy Names
  • Books
  • Candy
  • Fictional Characters
  • Furniture
  • In the Ocen
  • and so many more

I love word games! This one is fast-paced and lots of fun. The younger kids like to play, but quickly get frustrated because of their inexperienced spelling abilities. The older kids though really enjoy playing. There are so many great category topics (like Bible Characters and Family Members), but we like to make up our own too, to make it a little easier for the little ones. We'll also play without starting the timer and just press the letters. The lack of pressure from the ticking causes less stress and makes it more enjoyable when the younger ones get frustrated. The letters pop back with a simple twist at the top of the wheel. This game, especially, would be perfect for parties, game night, get-togethers, and holidays.

We've been having lots of fun as a family playing these games, and I'm sure we'll enjoy them for many years to come as the kids get older. Even though both games are best for ages 8+ and we have only one child that fits that age range, we've been able to adapt them to be enjoyed now. These games are great for any family to own.

You can connect with USAopoly on the following social media sites:

If you'd like to see how other homeschool families used these games, please read the reviews on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.
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