on 30 April 2013
Now I know nothing stays the same and things change, but I was hoping my children would have as much fun playing mouse trap as I did when I was a kid back in the 80's. I wish I would have read the reviews of this game, but I didn't; more the fool me! Mousetrap has changed so much and not for the better! It seems whoever designed and approved the design of this game must not be the smartest of people! First of all the toilet is screwed on to the plastic so it can't come apart and is heavy, but it sits on top of folded cardboard that come apart when you pick it up! I mean who would come up with that. My youngest daughter who is 2 put a piece of cheese in the toilet and when we tried to get it out, it got stuck and there it still remains. The entire set up is help together with rubber bands that are too big and don't do what its supposed to. there is also a huge gap between the loop-de-loop where the ball is supposed to go through, but the gap is too big so the ball doesn't actually do anything other than fall down. I thought I did it wrong, but how the pieces fit into the board won't allow me to get the pieces any closer. All in all I would say DON'T buy this game, spend the money on something else!!
on 6 July 2015
Like many here, I remember the Rube Goldberg-esque original and it's mouse machinations fondly. I saw the modern version for sale in a charity store recently and decided to pick it up; My copy had a broken piece that I was able to fix, but otherwise it was complete and in very good condition. And it looks lovely when set up, there's no denying the sheer joy of seeing a little machine take form in three dimensions. But there's a number of fatal design flaws that mean that even if you have a perfect copy, it can never be anything but an exercise in frustration.
Firstly, the game is built so there are no metal balls flying around at anything like injury causing speed, which is a fine idea in theory, as you don't want to shoot the eye out of the little 'uns; but in order to make the traps work with smaller inputs, they've been designed with such a tiny level of tolerance that absolutely anything can set them off. This is intensified by the fact the builders have tried to minimize the actual plastic used, and thus squeeze every last micro-profit out of the purchaser, such that the stable state of a set trap is almost impossible to achieve. The Toy Box with the flipping lid is the most obvious example; it's held in place by less than half a millimetre of plastic, and would often spring with even the slightest vibration nearby. Which means flushing the toilet, which requires quite a hard pull on the lever to release a ball, can trigger it before the ball even leaves the centre.
This could be avoided with just the tiniest amount of extra plastic; to use another example, the ball run off into the basket that turns the wheel for the cage trap could have had guide rails both left and right to ensure it always hit the target, whilst the bucket could be a little larger to give extra insurance, with the far end of the lever being extended a little out to counter-balance. Instead they've left just one side closed, the smallest possible bucket and lever, so the ball can fly off at odd angles and miss the bucket entirely, which it's especially prone to do with all of the larger walls being made of easily bent, sagging or shrinking cardboard. They even try to excuse this as a gameplay feature in the manual, "Note: if the trap goes off and the mouse isn't caught (for example if the trap was not set correctly) then that lucky mouse escapes!". Oh dear.
Another example, where a gradient is essential to increase the ball's speed, they've left the plastic almost flat to again save on having to put just a little more plastic into the 3rd dimension; the tube to the frying pan is the worst example, and unless you force it to hold a different shape, the ball simply doesn't have the momentum to roll down it. Lucky mouse again, I assume.
Likewise, all 3 traps have open ended paths, so when it reaches the end, the ball merrily rolls off the board and under the sofa. There's a reason for this in theory again; because you don't want the tykes reaching over the board all the time to retrieve balls, which would just end up triggering all the traps. Unfortunately the ball dropping onto the board, and thus shaking it when released can do this anyway. And the holes are probably really there just to gouge you by millimetres again...
But as the title says, even if they re-engineered all the traps to allow for much more rough and tumble, the game will never be good, because astoundingly it's designed to encourage the very thing which ruins it now. The path the players take goes under, around and over the traps and even right into the centre of the board; It looks a nice idea, mice scuttling into all your little places. And the idea of spanners being used to block traps is a good one, but for some reason, it's placed in the centre by the toilet. There was no reason the players had to reach over everything to get one. Especially when children have such tiny little reaches they'll likely end up knocking over the pieces to do so. The original sensibly kept the traps all in the centre and the paths ran around the edges to avoid this. A toolbox for the Spanner could have been placed on the edge of the board too. They didn't care enough about the basic reality of the game to do this.
And it leads to the game being horribly visually cluttered; the left and right sides of the toilet aren't visible to each other unless you stand up, or move around the board. The distance between spots is too far apart and inconsistent, so on some sides rolling a 6 will take you across two entire sides, on others you'll still be on the same side. The boot flicks mice off the board, which is a nice mechanism for choosing who goes first by awarding that honour to the one who flies furthest from the board, until you realise that unlike a dice roll, it's biased to the mouse it hits directly, glancing blows won't move them as far, so expect punch ups ahoy until you change this rule. And when playing the actual game, the boot both flicks you off, and you have to pick up your mouse and move it back to a previous trap, where of course you can immediately be trapped again by someone triggering one on their turn...
Further more, with 3 traps instead of just one, you're risking tripling both the annoyance factor every time something goes wrong, but also ensure up to 3 other players lose progress when you do trigger a trap, which draws out the game to agonizing lengths. They also added "Carlos the Cat" who scares all the other mice into traps. Because that's what mice do when they see danger, run into some more of it. But anyway, you can imagine what this entails, yet more trap set up and frustration.
The next time I attend a games night amongst friends, I may just take this version of Mouse Trap along for a bit of "I can't believe this is so bad!" fun. But you dear reader don't have a copy yet, do you? So you have to pay real cash money for this self abuse. DON'T DO IT. Cross your fingers for another redesign later, and avoid making a mouse-ive mistake by purchasing it now.
on 8 December 2008
Like several other reviewers, I loved Mousetrap when I was a kid, and eagerly anticipated playing it with my own kids on Christmas day. But alas - it was the biggest disappointment of the day. We took it back to Argos on Boxing day. The fun of the original game was building the whole trap mechanism during the game. And it was entirely buildable. This new version - two adults (not unintelligent!) spent an hour trying to work out how to build the thing, without success. We gave up. Thankfully, Morrisons supermarket did a wee cheap version for a fiver, that was pretty much like the original Mousetrap.