I don’t usually use the words “fun” and “memory game” in the same sentence very often (or at all), but I found a happy exception over spring break. My family and I spent the week visiting my side of the family in Tokyo, and what fun it was. Since my parents and my brother’s family live under the same roof, my 11-year old got a visit from his 6-year old and 4-year old cousins daily. We built many Legos and played games. The game we loved playing most was a language-neutral memory game called Nanja Monja. That was the Japanese title, but the game is originally from Russian publisher Simple Rules. The English version is called Toddles-Bobbles, and while it isn’t available in stores, you can buy a copy through their official eBay page: http://simplerules.ru/GAMES/Toddles-bobbles-card-game
The company that designed Toddles-Bobbles calls itself Simple Rules, and they are true to their name. Here’s the premise of the game: 12 aliens have crash landed on earth and they can’t remember their names. Give them new names and help them out!
The rules are simple. The game comes with a deck of 60 cards. Players take turns drawing one card from the deck and placing it next to the deck. If the card reveals a new alien, the player who drew the card gives it a name. If you see the same alien again, call out its name and the first player to call out the name receives the accumulated pile of cards. The player who collects the most card at the end wins!
Fast, Fun and Creative
Just because the rules are simple enough for my four-year old niece to understand and play, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy game for those older than four. Memorizing 12 names and having them at the tip of your tongue is a real challenge! Talk about brain training.
You can also indulge your creative side by giving the aliens fun names. The cards feature whimsical illustrations get your creativity going. Naming can be a part of your game strategy too. Odd names were more memorable than using descriptive names like “Blue Longlegs.” You can tell from the illustrations that the game designers have thought of this — some of the aliens have similar features. This game is clever like that.
Great Party Game!
This game is definitely more fun with more people. We usually had six players, and that felt like a good number. It could probably support eight players. The game goes pretty quickly, and it’s one of those games that’s fun to play multiple rounds. Get a workout for your brain!