Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Schoolhouse Crew Review: SimplyFun

I'm reviewing  The Climbing Knights, one of four SimplyFun new releases.

SimplyFun Review

SimplyFun has a variety of educational games for children of all ages.  In 2012 their games won over 50 awards.  They believe that play is an important part of children's emotional, academic, and social learning process and that through play you will build smarter kids and stronger families.  

Last year we had the opportunity to review Expanders from SimplyFun.  You can find my review on that here.   We were quite excited to see them on our vendor list for this year and thrilled to be able to review one of the new releases, The Climbing Knights.

The Climbing Knights is recommended for ages 8 and up.  2-4 players can play at one time and the game takes around 30 minutes to complete.  The object of the game is to be the fastest knight to climb the tower and retrieve both of your coat of arms. In the game box you will find:

One castle (this does need to be assembled each time you play)
4 magnetic knights
2 guard pawns
8 coats of arms
3 dice 
Instructions 

The first thing you have to do in order to play the game is to assemble your castle.  There are 3 main parts: bottom, middle, and top, with a triangular piece to go in between the pieces and at the top, and a base for the castle to sit on.  The gray guard is placed at the starting space of the lower level walkway and the black guard is placed at the upper level walkway.  The coat of arms are put at the top of the castle and the knights at the bottom on either of the climbing walls.  Each player rolls all three dice at one time.  The black die tells you how to move the black guard.  The gray die tell you how to move the gray guard and the white die tells you how to move your knight.  You must get your knight to the top without the guards seeing you or you will have to go back to the bottom of the castle and start over.  


My children were thrilled when the box arrived and could not wait to start playing.  I glanced quickly at the directions and was happy to see that setting up and starting the game would be fairly easy.  It can be very hard to try and figure out a new game that has complicated directions when you have eager children.  I was worried that the castle would be flimsy and not stay together well, but those fears were put to rest right away.  The castle itself is very sturdy and the walls were much thicker then I expected.  The pieces fit very snugly into each other and it only takes a few minutes to set up and take down.
Even though the game is recommended for ages 8 and up, younger children can play as well with a little bit of help.  I had my 4,6,8, and 10 year olds all playing the game together.  It has become one of their favorite games and they have taken it out and played it on their own many, many times over the last several weeks. 
The skills listed that they will learn through their play include:

Spatial Reasoning: Players have to figure out how to move their knights without being caught by the guards.  Hiding under window ledges is a favorite way to hide.

Strategy: Players must consider at each roll of the dice how it will impact the guards and where the guards might move. My children like it when the guards go to sleep.

Members of The Crew reviewed both The Climbing Knights and Archery Dice.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog.  I am heading over to read the reviews of Archery Dice.  The children love to play games and I love when they are fun and educational!
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