Top positive review
Clever, fun and sneakily educational
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 January 2020
Another brilliant first game from Orchard Toys! This has completely captured the imagination of my 2 grandsons (2y5m and 3y6m), and is one of the first toys they get out when they come to visit.
The idea is to see who can catch the most fish while avoiding the nasty sharks who will gobble them all up. It’s an easy-to-grasp concept, even for kids at the lower end of the 3+ age range, and is great fun to play.
There are four playing boards or ‘jars’, 30 cards and a 3D octopus spinner divided into 5 numbered segments (see photos). The cards are double sided with 1 to 5 bubbles on the front and 1 to 5 fish randomly on the back. Players take turns to spin the spinner and then choose a card with the corresponding number of bubbles. If there are fish on the reverse, you get to put them into your jar. If you’re unlucky enough to get one of the 2 sharks, you forfeit all the fish you’ve already caught and have to start over.
As with all Orchard Toys, this game is the perfect balance of learning and fun. It encourages number recognition and counting (players have to count up all their fish at the end to see who’s won), as well as the principles of basic game play. The fun element is in the anticipation of waiting to see who’ll turn over a shark and lose their fish.
In terms of quality, all the components are made from thick, durable board, which doesn’t bend, and it all packs away neatly into a compact box. Some reviewers have criticized the 3D spinner as being too fiddly to put together every time. To be honest, I don’t understand their concerns. It’s 3 pieces of board that interlock and are as easy as pie to assemble—2 of the pieces can even be folded together for storage in the box, so all you have to add each time is the spinner board on top. It’s really not a big deal, and certainly not something that should discourage people from buying this excellent, educational game.
EDIT: We are now playing the ‘Euan’s Rules’ version—if you get a shark, it eats your fish. If he gets a shark it eats your fish. Whichever way, he wins (and gets a mini muffin). Genius!
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