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It’s still only a few weeks since small boy’s birthday so we’re working our way through his new games.
We loved Bug Bingo and this weekend we decided to give Dobble a go.
This was another Amazon wishlist purchase: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Asmodee-ASMDOBB01EN-Dobble-Card-Game/dp/B0031QBHMA
Inside the packaging (bah humbug, too much unnecessary plastic) there’s a lovely compact and durable tin to store the cards in.
The premise of the game is that there are 55 cards, each with 8 symbols. Each card has a single matching symbol with every other card in the pack. I’m sure there’s some pretty complicated maths behind it there. To allow for all those combinations there are at least 50 different symbols. To make matching symbols trickier there’s a limited colour palette and the symbols aren’t always the same size. So there’s no point trying to match green things because there could be several different symbols the exact same shade of green. You also can’t expect a carrot to be the same size and orientation, sometimes it points left, sometimes down, sometimes its larger or smaller.
As I said the cards all stack away into the tin, which seems strong and its really convenient for travel. If you’re flying for a holiday or maybe in a camper van with limited space, this is one of the smallest games I’ve seen.
Its also great value because there are instructions for five mini games explaining how to set it up, the objective, how to play and how to win. We played three of them on our first go.
This is the simplest game, a bit like snap. Each player has one card and the remainder of the pack is in the middle with the top card face up. The plays turn their cards over and whoever spots the match between their card and the top card of the deck first gets to keep the deck card. Then everyone tries the match to the next card in the deck.
This one went down well with our family. We all got more than ten matches (himself and I may have been holding back a bit while the boys got the hang of it). It was a great introduction to the symbols for the boys and started to get them familiar with the cards.
In this game, everyone has a card in their hand that they have to show to everyone else. If you spot that your card has a match with yours you had them your card, then deal again. The winner is the player with fewest cards from however many hands you play.
This was quite a bit more tricky for small boy to grasp. He’s 5 and he didn’t get it at first, did his usual meltdown refusing to try something new and unknown. But once he’d calmed down and we demonstrated the first hand, he got it. Large boy and I got plenty of matches quickly, small boy got a couple, but himself found it harder. Its interesting to notice how all our brains work differently and how we make connections (or not) in different ways. Turns out himself’s brain wasn’t great at matching any symbol on his card to any other on everyone else’s.
It took a couple of goes before we played this correctly. Its played by laying out nine cards and finding any three cards with the same symbol. The information leaflet’s diagram gave us the impression that we needed three cards next to each other in a 3×3 grid and that the middle card could use different symbols to match with the other two. Turns out we really overcomplicated it.
We each won a few rounds of this and it was a lot of fun. The boys had to be discouraged from shouting out a match when they’d only found the first two. Its a bit like solitaire except you’re trying to beat other people to spot the right combination of cards.
All in All
This is a great card game, compact and versatile. Because it uses symbols, its really easy for a pre-reader or new reader to pick up. It fosters concentration and attention to detail and can be enjoyed by young and old alike. There’s a junior version aimed at younger children, plus animal, beach and Harry Potter flavours.
I’m really glad we stuck it on small boy’s wish list on the spur of the moment, and even better that his aunt and uncle bought it for his birthday.
I liked playing the Triplet game best because there were lots of different ways to win a round and you had to use more observation skills.
I liked the one that daddy kept losing. That was Hot Potato and it was funny when daddy lost.
It was fine (thumbs up), it was suitable for everyone to play including small boy so that makes it a winner in my book.
I’m with himself, its great to find a game that small boy can play and which still requires some thought from the grown ups. We all enjoyed it and there were only minor tears as we learned the new games. We’ll definitely be taking it to share with the grandparents in the next few weeks.