How do you engage a two year old to partake in a tabletop gaming experience without the going through the drama of them choking on a tiny fistful of Sorry! game pieces? SIMPLE! You buy something that isn't a classic Milton Bradley game! Not knocking those in anyway. Those classic titles are the reason I took an initial interest in the now less obscure hobby in the first place. I'm going with the early immersion technique into tabletop gaming with my daughter. Right now it's easy to get her interested in what I want to do because at this age and at least for a few more years, the kids are just happy to hangout with you as a person. I am the center of her world, board games are cool as long as I say they are!
Eventually, she will dread being seen with me in public and I will be unable to pry her away from social media. While I have her full attention, my wife and I have been actively seeking board games that appeal to her and can grow up with her through these early formative years. So far, we have found one that is designed to grow with the child and offer a variety of different fine and gross motor skill challenges to help aid in development. This game, is Feed the Woozle!
Let's start with the Woozle himself. He is repugnant. He will eat anything. He is worse than the raccoons that scattered old diapers across my driveway at 2AM last night. Overall, the Woozle is just happy to be at the table eating whatever you serve him. The main object of the game is to take an oversized plastic spoon, load it up with unappealing food tokens, and shovel them into his mouth. Simple, right? We picked this up for my daughter before she was two figuring she would have fun just trying to manipulate the spoon, which she did of course. Even at that early age, simple tasks such as keeping a spoon steady while putting it into a monsters mouth and dumping become quite the production. So that is in essence, the basics of the game. Let's look at how it scales.
Level 1 game play is intended for ages 3-4. The intention here is that you roll the die that comes with the game, pick up the respective number of disgusting food items, place them on the spoon, walk across the room, then proceed to feed the Woozle. Technically I'm starting my daughter at level 0. She isn't quite ready for counting yet, but it's nice that even at level 1 so many different skill sets are tapped into.
Level 2 game play is aimed at ages 4-5 and brings in the element of the game wheel spinner. The spinner has on it a series of different silly movements such as dancing or hopping you are to do while holding the spoon full of things that barely resemble food and moving across the room to feed the Woozle. I haven't even tried this level myself, because in addition to looking like a damn fool I'm almost certainly I would drop all of the pieces.
Level 3 game play removes the spinner from play and requires you to done a blindfold. You advance to the Woozle by relying on direction from your team. This is intended for ages 5-6. This is ludicrous mode. I imagine, this will be hilarious to watch and partake in until the moment where Dad takes an epic header over the couch and through a pane of glass while everyone giggles wildly.
Rather than waiting to review this game to see how it plays through all ages and levels, I wanted to get to they "why it's so great" even for early ages prior to three. It's just fun to play with and joke about. Into the second years, kids mostly get what you are saying and begin to develop a goofy sense of humor. Although my kiddo isn't even two and a half, we play this at least once a week and she absolutely adores the game. When we play, I allow her to set up the Woozle and kick it off. We practice taking turns and at the end, clean up together. So much good from this one game box!