7 NEW DJECO GAMES THAT JUST LANDED
What better way to slide into Djeco’s brand new goodies than to sneak a peek at their fresh line-up of piping hot games? Is your little one below the age of 3? We’re basically drowning in so much NEW that for the first time ever, we’re saving our toddler games to feature on a later post all on its own! Keep your eyes peeled because that’s coming your way some time this week too!
Anyone here remembers the bestselling Polyssimo game of skill from Djeco's new releases last year? Well, we’re guessing the world more than remembers because it was so well-loved the French game makers decided to follow up its overwhelming success with this Polyssimo Challenge sequel!
In the original Polyssimo, a single player is supposed to fit all the wooden pieces onto the game board without leaving any holes; this progeny somewhat requires the same – except here, you’re playing with other people and the objective is to be left with the least number of blocks at the end of the game. [Click here for the full game instructions in English!]
Just like its predecessor, Polyssimo Challenge builds problem solving, lateral thinking, and spatial reasoning skills… but, here, it also challenges the player to always think one, two, or even three steps ahead of the game. When the objective is to be left with the least number of blocks at the end of the game, you will soon discover that there are two ways of reaching it – one, is to be strategic about where and how you position your tiles; and two, is to be strategic about where and how you position your tiles in order to make things as difficult as you can for your opponent without implicating yourself. And if you ask us, we’ll tell you a little bit of everything always makes for the finest strategy. | Recommended Age: 7+
It took us all of one complete round to truly get why this game was so aptly titled, Chop Chop. It isn’t so much that it all has to take place in a rush – rather, it’s about having to be swift and tactical because literally every dice throw requires you to be just that.
Before the game begins, players have to decide amongst themselves who is cat and who is mouse/mice. Regardless of the number of players involved, there will always only be one cat, and the rest will be in the same team of mice – playing collectively against the cat.
The mice’s objective is to collect 10 pieces of cheese, and the cat’s objective is to catch at least 4 mice… and whoever reaches their objective first wins. [Click here for the full game instructions in English!]
As far as cooperative games go, this is definitely one of the more refreshing ones on the block as it still involves some extent of competitive play against a real person; as opposed to yet another fictional object as part of the game’s story. When playing with younger children, we highly recommend an adult assuming the role of the cat first until everyone is more acquainted with the game – such that the stigma of being the ‘outcast’ would be well-diluted by then and might even be embodied with some element of fun and good spirit. Alternatively, you may also consider having a non-playing adult/older sibling sit in with the cat as game ‘advisor’ (this we realized through personal experience, results in some serious quality bonding between ‘cat’ and older sibling/adult). Otherwise we feel the collaborative facet of this excellent game design might not be fully optimized or even unfortunately lost in translation. | Recommended Age: 6+
Move over, Zoo Tycoon! We’ve got a smashing zoo-building game here that’s just as fun for the adults as it is for the kids!
The objective is to create the best zoo based on the placement of your enclosure tiles, pathway tiles, and visitor pieces. The fundamental basis is that the tiles cannot overlap or hang out of the board, but more complex rules that make or break your moves, is that the enclosure tiles can only be placed on the board if it borders a path tile (which makes absolute sense); and that every enclosure you put on your game board also gives you any one of these following options: to change the position of your existing enclosures (which can be a super lifesaver as you progress through the game); add visitors to your zoo; or even swap around their positions in the zoo (also another super lifesaver).
Our honest opinion? The best game of the lot so far. The theme in itself is amazing, but more importantly, Wonder Zoo is exactly what any well-rounded strategy game for kids should be – lots of logical reasoning, tactical planning, lateral thinking – and a solidly engaging and meaningful objective that wraps the entire package up with a whole lot of F-U-N. We also absolutely love the fact that there is no such thing as a good tile or a bad tile; but rather, the decisions you make that gives it its value. Which literally reinforces the saying that it’s not the cards you’re dealt but how you play it that matters. You can be given the best tiles here, but if you don’t direct your strategy well, your advantage is moot.
On a side note, just simply based on the nature of the game itself, we find Wonder Zoo to be an excellent side aid for developing imaginative thinking and creative expression too. There’s so much tactile satisfaction for our little strategists to wrap their head around so don’t be surprised if they start creating stories and making up dialogues for the visitors as they go! (In fact, encourage that!) | Recommended Age: 7+
It’s officially described as a game of chance, but we all know nothing ever is purely left to ‘chance’ when it comes to a game… and to be perfectly honest, on top of visual observation and speed which can contribute significantly to your win, we realize a whole lot of other skills come to play here: strategic thinking, memory recall.. and if you’re really thaaaaaat good, even deduction by elimination.
Played with a set of treasure cards, all players start out with 7 of their own, with the rest being put aside as the main pile. Each round, 3 cards are drawn from this main pile and laid out in the centre of the table (1 face-up, 2 face-down); after which all players then attempt a guess at what the hidden treasures are (i.e. the 2 face-down cards) by picking one of their own 7 cards to reflect their guess. Flip over the 2 face-down cards – did the treasure card you choose (from your own set of cards) as your guess match any of the 3 cards in the centre of the table? If so, grab it! You never know when someone else might have made the same guess as you, and the one who gets to keep that card is the ones who reaches out to tap it first! [Click here for the full game instructions in English!] The one thing that makes this game even more breath-bating than it already is? The fact that different treasures have different values. The instructions break down in specific, how many of each treasure cards there are; which is why we say, if you’re a true master gamer, you will very quickly utilize the process of elimination to calibrate your guesses and play your cards optimally. | Recommended Age: 6+
We’ve said it before and we’ll say in again – in games (or in life really), sometimes, it doesn’t mean anything if you know the right answer, if you are not the fastest to act on it. We may already have an existing suite of games that pairs visual observation with the need for fast and accurate reaction, but Ouistitwist sure takes the cake.
Every monkey card in this game is designed with a black-and-white face on one side and a coloured face on the other. With each player getting only up to a maximum of 3 cards each (which have to be placed coloured-side up in front of them, visible for all to see), the remaining cards go into a main pile, coloured side up too. The round then begins by any one designated player turning over the topmost card in the main pile and placing it next to the pile, such that there is now a black-and-white face, and a coloured face. And then the real work begins.
Simultaneously, players now have to look for a card that combines the action of the monkey from the black and white card, with the background colour of the coloured card, such that your process of observation would go a little something like this: This can be from one of your own cards in front of you, or from any of the cards from the other players – bottom line is as long as you are first to find it, you win. [Click here for the full game instructions in English!]
This is literally the closest thing to a real life analogy that we have this season. That sometimes, the ability to think fast can become meaningless if it is not coupled with the ability to move fast. The best part is Oustitwist also trains players to not just be observant, but be accurately observant, as calling out the wrong card results in a painful penalty that sets you back in your quest to win. This is so especially super excellent as it naturally develops quick thinkers and movers who will also be innately careful – and for us, that’s probably the most priceless takeaway from the game. | Recommended Age: 6+
One of those days where you just can’t find anyone to engage in a game with you? Sheep Logic is here to make that feel like a blessing in disguise. Designed as a single-player game, simply pick a picture card and position the dominoes on the game board to replicate its arrangement. Once that is done, the real brainteaser begins, and you now have to find the right dominoes to fill the missing spaces. Not seeing the complexity? Look again. Depending on where your missing spaces are, the dominoes you pick have to fit perfectly with the image that is above, below, on the left, and/or right of it. [Click here for the full game instructions in English!] If you’re familiar with the concept of impossible puzzles, you’ll probably be able to see how this might just end up a serious brain workout for young and old. We mean, it might technically be recommended for 5 & above, but depending on the level of difficulty, dare we say the game gives even us adults a good run for our money?
Some of you hawkeyes may have already gotten a sneak peak of this during our Christmas crop last year – if so, keep that sharpness about you because it’s definitely going to make a real difference in this game.
The idea is simple – complete your pyramid. But the decision-making process that gets you there isn’t going to come as straightforward. Players take turns rolling all 6 dice; the colours shown on each die determine what coloured blocks you can add to your game board – but wait, surely things aren’t that easy. Every round requires you to make the critical decision of either cementing your existing blocks (such that you will not risk losing any of them moving forward in the game) or to continue throwing the dice and taking as many building blocks as you can – but risk losing alllllll your blocks if you run into a dead end – so, if we may sum this up for you, it’s basically maintaining a balancing act between security and efficiency. [Click here for the full game instructions in English!]
Decision making aside, this is a highly nifty aid for developing impulse control, adaptive thinking, strategic reasoning, and perceptive decision-making. Personally, we strongly advise parents and educators to check out this game if they want an insight into their child’s thinking cap – how do they evaluate their options, what are their thought processes, and what is their decision-making personality? This game play provides a perfect platform for your own personal observations… but don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it – after all, it’s not a game if you don’t! | Recommended Age: 5+