I got this year’s Marektoy children’s games lineup. It’s a nice bunch of games from Drei Magier and Selecta, mostly. Selecta games impressed me: like Haba, Selecta is a producer of wooden toys and the games have great components.
I played two rounds of Viva Topo! with Johanna yesterday. The game is the Kinderspiel des Jahres 2003, and well worth the award. The idea is simple: mice try to race towards the cheese paradise. Too bad there’s a cat after them…
The dice has 1-1-2-3-4-5, and the ones move the cat. At first the cat moves just one step, but fastens the pace later on. That means the mice better run fast if they wish to make it to the paradise!
Each player has four or five mice. The board has four stops in the corners; those are worth 1, 2, 3 and 4 points for each mouse that stops there. If a mouse makes it to the cheese paradise in the end, they’re worth six points.
So, it’s a risk-reward-thing. Are you happy with just one or two points, or will you try to make it to the very end? The further you go, the higher the risk that your mice will be eaten by the cat. Do you focus on one mouse, or do you try to move all mice to safety?
The game is easy and should be good for the 4+ age group it’s aimed at, but the decisions are interesting enough for adults. I know we had a good time yesterday, and we’ll probably play the game a lot before Nooa is four. The secret of the game lies in its brutality: the cat is fast. In our two games, only one mouse made it to the cheese paradise; most were eaten by the ever-hungry feline monster.
If you’re looking for a game for kids that the adults can enjoy as well, Viva Topo! is a good choice. It works well with two, and is probably best with three.