Friday, June 1, 2012

Game Review: Richard Scarry's Busy Town

Richard Scarry's Busy Town Eye Found It! Game is an awfully long title. And the game is awfully long. Not in time of course. It's a children's game, so the designers were smart enough to make it play relatively quickly. No, it's a long game because the board is about six feet long!

As long as our living room carpet

components for the game
In the game, players race to Picnic Island before the piggies eat all the picnic food. The game is a cooperative game--everyone has to make it to the island in order to win. Each player takes turns spinning a wheel to move. If the player gets a "Move X" his piece moves X many spaces. If the spinner stops on one of the green "Pig out" spaces, one of the picnic items (there are six altogether) is removed. If all of the items are gone, everyone loses. The third possible outcome on the spinner is the Goldbug mystery. A card is drawn from a deck which has an everyday item on it (like a stop light or a bucket). All the players look for that item on the game board; if they find one, they put a little orange magnifying glass on it. A sand timer gives about 30 seconds to find as many as they can. Once time is up, the players count how many items they spotted and then all the players move ahead that number of spaces. It's a pretty nice bonus.

Towards the end of the track is a ferry boat. All the players need to get on the ferry before it can launch. Then it moves on each person's turn. Hopefully the ferry makes it to the island before the piggies eat all the food!

The game is a lot of fun for our two- and four-year olds to play. Their favorite part is having to solve the Goldbug mysteries before the timer runs out. Often, Jacob will just watch the timer while Lucy and I frantically search the board for another fire hydrant. We win the game about 60-70% of the time, which is satisfying for everyone. The game typically takes us from ten to fifteen minutes, which matches their attention spans pretty well.

The only challenge is you need a lot of space for the board. We always play on the floor and are constantly moving up and down the board while playing. That's nice for toddlers too, since they don't have to sit in one spot for the whole game.

We've read one of the Busytown books (from Chick-fil-A) and have never watched the TV show, so I don't know how well the game matches up. If your child is into either, I'm sure they'd love the game. It's fun just by itself. We recommend it highly!

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