Learning through Playing Games with USAopoly!

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My family enjoys playing games together. Games have always been a great way of connecting after a busy week. We give high priority to our family game days during the weekend. Though we aren’t limited to just playing on the weekend, we play during week day evenings too. I often bring learning games out during our schooling time. Games I’ve found to  be the perfect tool in easing into a new concept learned or to enhance skills such as critical thinking, fine motor, and the abilities to play well with others.

In being a member of the the Schoolhouse Crew Review Team, I was introduced to USAopoly , a leading developer and manufacturer of board games and puzzles. This company  generously sent  two games for my whole family to enjoy and share our thoughts upon. The first game is Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone  and the second Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game.  My husband being the avid gamer that he is has opted to share his  thoughts and our family experience with each of these games below.

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About USAopoly: USAopoly is a company that produces games “with a twist” under the license of Hasbro since 1994. Their list of partner brands are many such as Microsoft, Disney, Nintendo, Cartoon Network, and so forth. In being a manufactuar or all sorts of board games and puzzles, this company eventually launched their own orginal game business in 2009. Their original games include  Ratuki®,  CrossWays™, Telestrations®, and Tapple®. Many of their games have received awards!
The USAopoly website offers many different types of games and puzzles. The site is easy to navigate and extremely user friendly. Currently, you can search by game brand or a specific category. A few of the available game categories are award winning, best sellers, what’s new, strategy, party time, and so on.

Aside from the navigation, games have a good amount of information from well written descriptions, game trailers, videos on how to play, reviews, instructions, what’s included, and more or less depending on the game. The vast information makes deciding upon a game for ones family easy.

tapple

– Tapple- 

 

Tapple is an award-winning word game that revolves around a wheel. The wheel has a circle of letters on the outside and a timer button in the center. The game play is done in round that center on a topic. The topics, such as Bodies of Water, Girl Names, and Heroes, come on cards that are stored in the bottom of the wheel. Each card has an easy and a hard side, and each side has 2 topics. Each player on their turn tries to think of a word starting with one of the remaining unused letters on the wheel, taps the letter, hits the timer button and the turn goes to the next player. When a player doesn’t come up with a word in time, they are out for the round. The last player remaining wins the round. Recommended age is 8+

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Here at home we play with everyone, including our 4.5 year old son, and 7 year old daughter. We have to bend, fold, and sometimes mutilate the rules for our son, though. Many times he is spot on, other times we have to tell him the letter that word actually starts with. He also doesn’t play as long. But he’s learning along the way. It’s easy to ignore the timer rule (just down turn it on) or adhere to it for competitive play. The timer button could be better, as if you hit the edge, it doesn’t take. You have to press the center. There’s no volume control. At home it’s fine, but could be a problem if people around aren’t playing somewhere else.

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We have fun with it. It gets the brain thinking fast to try and find the barest thread of connection to the topic to hit another letter. Not all the letters are on the wheel, Q, Z, and U for example are missing, and a couple others. They are letters that aren’t used to start words that often, but it can be frustrating when “Unicorn” is a valid answer and you can’t use it. But, it’s basically no different than that letter already having been used. We enjoy Tapple, it’s simple, fun, and flexible enough to house rule it to make it fit the needs of younger players.

 

wonky

-Wonky-
 

Wonky is a block stacking dexterity game that uses non-symmetrical blocks and cards. A player has a hand of cards that match the various colors and sizes of the blocks, includes wild cards, and cards with special effects such as reversing play order and skipping your turn. Some require block placement and have an effect. On your turn you use your cards playing and and placing a matching block on the forming tower. If after 3 seconds it doesn’t fall, play passes to the next player. You win the round by playing your last card successfully. It must be a block card, and not one that’s just an effect, like skip turn. Recommended age is 8+

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This game hits all the right things for a dexterity game. Most anyone can play it, as the cards are color coded as well as words. The icons for effects are clear. There is also plenty of strategy with the cards, and even on placing the blocks is more than just trying to keep the tower up. You can make it stable, or try and cause a precarious situation for the next player. But that can backfire if they reverse turn order on you. Also the order you play cards matters, as you want to have as many choices as possible to get rid of your cards. If you don’t have a play, you draw until you do. If I were to have any concern, it’s that the colors look very similar to a colorblind friend of mine. He was able to tell them apart, but wouldn’t be able to know one by itself. Arranging them together, and the words on the cards would help, as well. This game might be our favorite block/tower game because there is a lot more to it than others I have played.

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– Overall Thoughts-
Overall we like Wonky better, as it has more game to it. They are quite different from each other, and cover different areas of the gaming spectrum. Both are good in their own right. I’d recommend both if you are looking for word and dexterity games. Other pros to these are that each are easy to store. Wonky comes with a durable storage bag and all of the Tapple parts such as the cards can be stored in the back of the wheel. I can see my family playing these for many years to come. The nice thing is that these both are great for nearly all ages and  the price point for both is very reasonable too.

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If you are interested in more thoughts on Wonky and Tapple,  click the banner below and you’ll be taken to other Schoolhouse Crew reviewers experiences with each!

 USAopoly Review
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