Game Night: Star Gazer by Simply Fun

Game Night with Star Gazer by Simply FunI was just chatting with my youngest daughter the other night and she loves to ask questions about my youth.  “What did you like to wear when you were my age?”  “Who were your best friends in 4th grade?”  What did you like to play when you were 9?”  She’s shocked when she hears I wasn’t a Barbie fan like she is and that I also didn’t dance like her and her sister.  “Well, what did you do then?”  I answered honestly and truthfully, “I loved to play games, board games specifically!”

I know she knows this about me, I feel like I’ve told all three kids the story repeatedly over the years.  I mean we have  whole closet devoted to board games, some missing half the pieces. But I hate to part with them just out of sheer love for the game!  All five of us have a competitive side whether it’s in school, on the sports field or dance floor, or at our dining table armed with game pieces!  When I was asked to review the Star Gazer game by Simply Fun with the kids I was excited.   Simply Fun has games for families, classrooms, and homeschool groups and their mission is learning through play:

Did you know, play, along with instruction and life experience make up the three ways we learn. Play is essential for developing skills beyond formal instruction, thinking skills that support decision making, creativity, and strategy. We invite you to step inside our SimplyFun world and discover the fun of learning through play!

Game Night with Star Gazer by Simply FunThe objective the game is to create stellar patterns on the board by adding, removing, and swapping stars (your own or your opponent’s).  The player who earns the most points completing star patterns wins the game.  Sounds easy right, well it’s a game for kids 10+ and my daughter is 9 and a half so we knew we needed to take it slow at first.  The game uses strategy, spatial reasoning, and quick pattern recognition for 2-4 players with an adaptable gameboard.  My husband and I played with our youngest and we used a 25 square grid on the Galaxy game Board (omitting the green L portion of the board), and we each chose our colored star tokens and placed them on our side.  Here’s a brief description of the game pieces:
Gazer Cards:  Show the Star Token pattern you must complete to earn points
Gazer Card Markers:  Hold the Gazer Cards by point value (1, 2, or 3)
Star Cards: Add, move, and remove Star Tokens (your or your opponent’s) from the Galaxy Board
  • Add a Star-adds one of your stars to the board
  • Remove a Star-takes one of your stars off the board
  • Shooting Star-add or remove an opponent’s star to or from the Galaxy Board
  • Swap a Star-you can replace an opponent’s star with your own, move any star on the board to another open space, swap position of any two stars on the board

Game Night with Star Gazer by Simply Fun

Each player is dealt 5 Star Cards and 1 one-point Gazer Card.  On your turn you play or discard any/all of your Star Cards to try to complete the pattern on your Gazer Card.  A few rounds help you understand the strategy using the the cards to complete the pattern.  What we do with new card games is play a few times with all cards UP so we can help eachother learn the game together.  The first games are learning, then we can really get competitive!Game Night with Star Gazer by Simply FunI was impressed with the speed we all picked the game up, including my 9 year old.  We started using words like “sabatoge” and “revenge” when our plays didn’t work for us but would prevent the opponent’s from creating their pattern.  Of course all in the name of friendly/family competition!  Also, the typical rules have your cards hidden from your opponent, so those tricky moves aren’t apparent to everyone.  Getting one-point patterns is easy, with 2 and 3 point Gazer Cards the challenge is bumped up a notch and may take you two turns to complete pattern.  When you think about spatial reasoning you literally see it as each player turns their Star Gazer card in circles to match up your perspective of the game board to figure out each move.Game Night with Star Gazer by Simply FunMy husband noted that this game is like Chinese Checkers, Sorry, Uno and  all rolled into one.  My 14 year old son was peeking over our shoulder awaiting his turn and he thought this was a cool game and couldn’t wait to get in on it!

Game Night with Star Gazer by Simply FunYour turn ends once you’ve played your cards and if you complete your pattern.  Before the next player takes their turn, make sure you replenish your Star Card count to 5 cards and take a new Gazer Card if needed.  Rounds continue until one stack of Gazer Cards is empty.  When a player draws the last Gazer Card in any stack , the final round begins.  Now this is where it gets tricky for me, the directions are confusing (let me know if you read them and understand) on the game’s end, but we made sure that each player got one last turn after that final Gazer Card is drawn before ending the game.    All players count their earned Gazer Card points and the player with the most points wins!

Game Night with Star Gazer by Simply FunI was the big winner this night and we came to the conclusion that Star Gazer by Simply Fun was a super fun and challenging game for our family!  To learn more about going back to school with SimplyFun: visit this LINK and find this game and others and make game night a fun and educational way to connect with the kids!

This sponsored post is in partnership with Simply Fun, all opinions are completely our own!

Wonder Forge Disney Games

I grew up playing board games and my kids all have loved them too.  Wonder Forge, a Seattle company that creates good-for-you games that promote active-play and teamwork for children and families. Here are a few from their Disney line:

Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Who Shook Hook?
Ages: 4+
Number of Players: 2 or more
MSRP: $19.99

Captain Hook is snoozing in his hammock, surrounded by all the treasure he’s nabbed from Jake and his pirate crew. Spin the spinner to choose your challenge, then use the sword, the fishing pole, or the shovel to pluck a piece of treasure!

But steady as she goes–you need to grab the loot without sending Hook tumbling into the water where Tick Tock Croc awaits. This imaginative, play-packed game is sure to be a hit with clever little pirates.

Our Take: Fun game and uses some great fine motor skill when you’re trying to remove the pieces with each of the tools!  I can see the wheels turning while deciding which tool to use and which item to remove from the hammock!  The only challenge is balancing all the items plus Hook at the beginning of the game.  Have on person gently hold the hammock from the bottom and another placing the items on.

Dazzling Princess Game
Ages: 4+
Number of Players: 2 or more
MSRP: $19.99

Celebrate your favorite princesses and collect sparkling jewels to decorate your bracelet, ring, and tiara. Are you ready for the ball? Let your inner princess shine in this fantasy-filled dress-up game.

Our Take:  the girls loved playing this game.  It’s like playing charades, princess detective, and dress-up all in one and the heart card reader is fascinating to the kids.  “How does it do that?” is what I heard from my 6 year old.  This game has been played about 3 times in a row in each instance, and what little girls don’t love crowns and jewels?!

Fun for the whole family, check out the other great games from Wonder Forge, http://www.wonderforge.com/products/.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Products sent for honest review.

New Innovative Family Games by Zume

Indoor/outdoor games during the summer is a favorite with most kids, and mine are no exception!  Thanks to Escalade Sports, my kids and I had a chance to try out some of their new innovative family games that are just in time for this beautiful summer weather.
Zume Games’ new indoor/outdoor games will transform a day at the beach, night on the deck, concert tailgating or rainy day into instant fun.  Some of the most innovative games of their kind on the market, Zume Games are fun, easy to play, portable, durable and designed for safe play.
I could have written all of that myself!  We decided to bust out all the games at my son’s 11th birthday party, and they were all a success with the kids and the adults.
CANZ
The first game comes complete with six air funnel tossers that you want to get into the target goal, which is a simple basket that pops up and down to become a target for the light weight tossers you try to get into it.  This game worked just fine right in my living room, but can also be staked into the ground outdoors for a little more robust playing.  Everyone loved the challenge of trying to score more points than the last person, and we enjoyed it all day long.
DIZK
Everyone loves a flying disc, but this one is wholly unique, in that it’s design helps it fly, float and flex like no other, and its center hole creates more ways to catch.  My daughter and her friend and I all played with our DIZK together, and at their ages of 8 and 10 it was a simple game for them to enjoy.  Catching such a super-tough but soft-touch toy wasn’t difficult, and we laughed the entire time.
 
TOZZ
TOZZ is a great-grip football allowing you to get more out of your arm.  It’s made with an aerodynamic air tunnel right through the center of the football, which makes throwing a spiral easy.  The kids were knocking me out with their great throws, and the grip of the ball makes it easy to catch.  It reminded me of the old days when I would play catch with my dad in the street, only the ball we used was a lot harder on my kid hands.  TOZZ is much easier for kids and absolutely more fun.

Be sure to check out www.zume-games.com to see all the other games available.

Merrie is writer for the The Mom Reviews and you can also find her at her blog, Sleepless Mornings: “I’m the mother of two beautiful children, an Executive Assistant, a scrapbooker, a baker, and sometimes I’m even fun to be around!”
Products were offered for honest review. All opinions our own!

The Game of Life: zAPPed Edition for iPad Review

We love games in our household!  Whether they’re played around the kitchen table, on the computer, or on a smart phone – there are many ways to enjoy them, and The Game of Life is one I’ve love since I was a kid! With the pink and blue pegs in the cars, getting filled with a spouse and kids as you make your way around the spaces of life milestones, the game in it’s original style is in our game cabinet.  It’s something we’ve loved so much we all have the game on our iToys!

Hasbro is excited to introduce zAPPed Gaming, which combines the fun of traditional face-to-face game play with the increased functionality of digital gaming for a brand new, innovative experience, with the integration of an iPad.

Simply cue up The Game Of Life zAPPed app on the iPad, place the iPad on the zAPPed game board, and watch as the technology of the app and the game pieces bring the game to life.

Players can create and upgrade their own Peg Person (hair, clothing) and spin The Game of Life virtual spinner.When landing on a zAPPed space on the game board in their brightly colored car, players may unlock special features such as mini games, comical animations or a hilarious clip from “America’s Funniest Videos.”

Our take:  Overall, it’s completely fun, the graphics are bright and colorful, the videos add a neat extra element, plus everyone is excited to see what’s next when you scroll the screen.  With new updated and modern job choices, choices of twins (2 girls, 2 boys, or one of each) and choices of wedding styles, it really makes the game personal on a new level.  Pegs get accessories as they hit milestones (formally LIFE tiles in the old game) and change jobs, plus you can play games to earn more money beyond your salary when landing on a payday!  Little things like the screen-flipper on the iPad makes not having to move the tablet each turn!  So happy big sister, let us borrow her iPad to check out the game, now we can’t stop using it.  Bonus that the app is FREE right now, so there’s no added cost to the board game!  It’s really a great game, mix of old and new and is fun for the whole family.

The Game of Life zAPPed Edition is currently available on Amazon.com and ToysRUs.com for $24.99 and in Toys “R” Us stores nationwide as of March 1. The accompanying app is available as a free download in the App Store.

Be sure to find Hasbro Games on the web:

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We were sent product for honest review, all opinions are our own.

Just Dance 3 for Wii, Fun and Fitness!

With the winter weather comes lots of staying indoors.  I know that my main exercise plan is walking and when the temps are 30s and 40’s in the a.m. I will always choose to stay in.  With that decision is the lack of exercise, but now that we finally have a Wii system, I have no more excuses, especially with having the Just Dance series of games at my disposal!

People are playing Just Dance 3 to not only have fun, but to stay and get in shape while mixing up their usual fitness routine. For example, some of the game’s more high profile fans include soccer sensation and Dancing with The Stars alum-Hope Solo, who uses the game to stay in shape when she’s not on the soccer field. Also, actress Raven Simone attributes much of her weight loss to playing Just Dance 1, 2 and 3 in her spare time for fun.The “Just Sweat” function in the game for Wii, Xbox and PlayStation, lets a player accumulate sweat points and track fitness progress over time.

My take:  My 3 kids are all in soccer, baseball, and dance year-round.  They are in great shape and even during the winter they keep active.  So playing this against them is tough.  After one dance I really work up a sweat and my heart-rate is up for sure!  I’m in the living room doing this when the kids are in school burning calories, learning some dance moves, and having fun!  This “game” is really something for everyone, my girls love doing it because it’s put to current music they love and they have moves already.  The goal for me is to get my husband up and working it, I tell him he needs a good dance move as well as some conditioning for his basketball season.  He’s found I found that you can do the dance only with your hands (while sitting) and still get the “perfect” “excellent” and “good” reinforcement, but that’s cheating! By the way, I love the positive reinforcement it gives, everyone needs that push!

My oldest daughter has found that this is a popular game to have at teen slumber parties, again the music is trendy, the action is fun, and the competition is great!  We look forward to collecting all the different series of games as well as the Just Dance Kids games!  California Girls is my favorite and I love they have oldies but goodies from our youth (Video Killed the Radio Star!!)

Just Dance 3 for Wii features:

  • Top Of The Charts: Over 40 all-new tracks, ranging from chart-topping hits to classic dance party tracks! There’s something for all tastes so everyone will find their groove. Want more songs? Download from an expanding catalogue of new tracks from the in-game store.
  • Dance Crew Mode: With now up to 4 concurrent dance routines, it’s your time to shine! Each player can get his own moment of fame with unique choreographies and moves for each member of the band.
  • Shake the World: Just Dance 3 lets you bring down the house with dynamic environments. Watch the background change as you perform progressive moves.
  • Just Sweat It Out: The popular Just Sweat mode gets an upgrade with more workout plans and playlists. And exclusive on the Wii, up to 4 players can workout together simultaneously in the Just Sweat mode. Also record your fitness efforts and earn sweat points at all times. Stay fit, have fun, and Just Dance!
  • Dance Til Dawn: Use the Party Mode and lose yourself in the music! No navigating through menus, no need to stop to select the next song… Just Dance 3 gives you a non-stop dance-a-thon!
  • Too Shy to Dance… But Love to Sing?! All tracks provide song lyrics on-screen, so even if you don’t score points with your voice, you’re sure to score some with the crowd!
  • Just Can’t Get Enough: Just Dance 3 still has everyone’s favorite modes like Duets, Non-Stop Shuffle, Medley, Simon Says, and more.
  • Wall of Fame: Exclusive on Wii, earn medals for your stellar performances, then see all the dances, high scores and stars you’ve accomplished on one single screen!

We were sent similar prizing to facilitate this post.