The World Cup has kicked off with Brazil and Croatia already having played the opening match, and it seems everyone is going football crazy - including Orchard Toys!
Football Game, the Right Start Gold Winner for 2012, is a brilliant take on Snakes and Ladders - with a twist.
The aim of the game is to get from the start to the finish, receiving assistance from your own team, and being sent back down the pitch by the opposing team.
Unlike Snakes and Ladders, each of the 2-4 players has their own board, and there are spaces at the end from where you can make an attempt at goal. When you reach the goal mouth, you 'shoot' by using a spinner. If the goalie is behind the ball, they save - if not, you score!
During the game if you land on a Whistle Square then the whistle spinner comes into play. A yellow card sees you miss a turn, and a red card means back to the start. Landing on a free kick gives you another throw of the dice.
This is a game recommended for players aged 5+. My 5 year old is ill and sat this one out, so I decided to play with my 4 year old. As soon as his 16 year old brother saw the game, he offered to play instead.
Each game only takes around 5-10 minutes and it's really very fast-paced, especially with only 2 players. I think that's why the recommended age is so high. You can also feel quite demoralised if you get sent right back to the beginning, but my 4 year old was in a great mood, and in fact he won - shouting "Goal" and celebrating in true footballer style....
My 20 year old joined in at this point and they played about a bazillion more games over the next half hour, before realising that they could adapt the game really easily. I think this is one of the best things about Orchard Toys games, they're almost always ready and waiting to have new rules and adaptation depending on who plays.
By turning the boards end to end, the boys realised they have a large pitch with a goal at each end, and could expand the game and make it longer and harder to win. They decided to 'score' rather than have a winner after one goal, and their game became more and more complex. It ended up far beyond what my 4 year old could keep up with, but by this time he was enjoying the paper packaging that came in the box!
Orchard Toys Football Game is fantastically simple to grasp and great fun to play. It's quick and for the most part rewarding. It reinforces number skills and counting, but most of all it encourages the players to join in together with the excitement and pace of the game, and have a great time laughing and playing together.
Football Game entertained 3 of my boys for a good couple of hours and I'm sure it'll get plenty of play over the next few years. It's a perfect game for when you have 20 minutes and want something light and fun.
Orchard Toys Football Game retails at £9.50 and is available direct from Orchard Toys website, with free postage on all orders of £20 or more, or from all good toy and game retailers.
We were sent Football Game for review.