Unique Family Games From USAopoly #Review
We love (and hoard :-) ) board games, so it’s no surprise whatsoever that we were thrilled to receive two games from USAopoly to try out! We’d never heard of either of them before – they were totally new to us – and both have unusual twists on classic gameplay concepts.
Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game is one of those games that you’re itching to get your hands on. Once you get the box open, you’ll want to play with those cubes a bit, all by themselves, just to see what they’re *really* like. Tapple: Fast Word Fun For Everyone, on the other hand, is a little bit deceptive. You *think* it’s going to be like other games you’ve played, but I promise you, it takes some skill, some luck, and it’s a bit more challenging than it appears at first glance, even for teens and adults.
Now, even though I introduced Wonky first, I’m going to save it for last – mostly because I have some videos of the kids playing it, and I don’t want you to get so distracted watching (and maybe laughing) at those that you miss hearing about Tapple, because Tapple is a pretty cool game itself.
Tapple consists of two main parts – a set of cards, and the letter wheel, as we’re calling it. The cards are double-sided, with “easy” and “difficult” options on each side. In actual play, we didn’t always agree with the designer’s assessment of how challenging a topic might be… in fact, in actual play, we discovered even the topics that WE thought would be easy can be pretty tough to come up with in a timely fashion!
Gameplay is relatively simple. Choose a card to get your topic, tap the big red button in the center to start the timer, say an answer that fits the category and starts with any available letter, press down that letter key, and tap the timer again – and it’s immediately the next person’s turn. This game moves FAST, and feels like it, even when you’re expecting it to! You have a mere ten seconds to make your answer, get the letter key, and tap the timer before the buzzer goes off.
You’re out if the buzzer goes off, if your answer doesn’t match the category, or if you press the letter key for an unacceptable answer. If, during a game, you actually manage to use all the letters and have more than one player remaining, you go into “overtime” – which means the letters are reset, a new category is chosen, and players have to make TWO answers for each category during their time. If two players survive that round – it’s happened to us a whole once so far – I guarantee you, you will not last through a round of choosing three answers per turn, especially with only two people playing. There’s no time to breathe, let alone think.
Tapple is recommended for ages 8 and up, but honestly, this is going to depend on individual personalities and the vocabulary they available. If you find that with the built-in timer, it’s just too difficult or stressful for some players, trying using an alternative timer with a longer time. My kids that have played Tapple quite a bit now are 13, 15, and 19, and it has kept them on their toes at times.
A couple more thoughts – we love that the cards store in the base of the card wheel. It’s so incredibly convenient! And if you have any other games that use categories on cards like this, you can always borrow them to “expand” this game. (Of course, that might just be an option for game addicts like us, lol.)
And now for Wonky. I knew we were in trouble, just as soon as I realized that the box isn’t square. It’s crooked. I hadn’t realized, you see, when looking at the images of the game online, that those cubes were not, well, CUBES. Their sides are uneven – and I don’t just mean nice, straight lines of uneven-ness – the crazy things are ROUNDED.
It doesn’t show up well in the pictures, but if you watch the videos below, you’ll be able to see what I mean… along with just how important this tricky little detail is to gameplay.
Gameplay – at least in intent – is fairly simple. Everyone is given a certain amount of cards, and your goal is to get rid of your cards. Some indicate certain blocks, some indicate a group of blocks to choose from, and some do things like reverse or skip play. Some cards indicate that others should draw a card. Sounds familiar, right? The deal here, though, is after you play the card, if it’s a block card, well, you must play the block indicated, either as a starting block, or on top of previously played blocks, where it must stay for at least three seconds without falling. You may not move the other blocks, or hold the other blocks in place as you place the new block.
And THAT’s where things get difficult.
I highly recommend that you play Wonky on as stable and level a playing surface as you can possibly find, to remove or reduce the chance of bumping it and knocking the blocks down. It’s also stated as for ages 8 and up – and honestly, this game is playable by anyone with a steady hand. I’m pretty sure many 5-year-olds could handle it.
And on to the videos, which can show you far more than I can with words: