Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kid Game Review: Can You See What I See?

  • designer: Brian S. Spence, Garrett J. Donner & Michael S. Steer
  • publisher: Gamewright
  • date: 2009
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/6.83
  • age: 4+
  • # of players: 2-6
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $14.07 (Amazon)
Good games for younger kids are hard to come by. Most of them are simple memory variants or spin'n'move (or roll'n'move) games, gussied up with some kind of licensed tie-in.I'm happy that while Can You See What I See? is a licensed tie-in (to the book series by Walter Wick), it doesn't feel like standard kid game fare. At the same time, it's simple enough for small kids to join in & play right along with everyone else at the table.

The game is easy to learn. Each player is dealt 10 "Keep Me" cards, each of which have 4-5 overlapping objects pictured on them. (With two players, each player gets 12 "Keep Me" cards.) Then you turn over the top tile in the "Find Me" deck, which has one object on it. Players who have that object on one or more of their "Keep Me" cards get to discard them. The first player to discard all of their cards wins.

I know what you're thinking... I can hear your thoughts shooting through the Internet. (Either that, or I left a podcast running on my iTunes.) Seriously, I know that doesn't sound like much. But my 4 year old son asks for it on a regular basis... and my wife & I actually enjoy playing it with him.

I have some theories about why this works as well as it does:
  • It is really well-made. Games published here in the USA (esp. those for kids) tend to be made out of flimsy cardboard & cheap cardstock. The cards & tiles here are thick and beautifully printed.
  • It is not terribly difficult to find the various objects... but does require a little bit of work from younger players. The designers have wisely calibrated that difficulty so that kids have the joy of discovery without the frustration of not being able to play well.
  • Honestly, it's a Bingo variant... and, though Bingo is barely a game, it's easy to enjoy the tension of "will the number I need be drawn next?" That's the heart of Can You See What I See?
  • Another excellent bit of design - the game is short enough to invite multiple plays in one sitting.
The game also includes a set of advanced rules, in which player have hands of tiles and claim cards from a central tableau. There's a little more "game" with these rules, but I think the game really shines with the base game & younger players.

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