Cooperative Game Reviews: Lucky Dog and The Memory Palace
Three years ago when we started seeking out cooperative games, there wasn’t a big market for these types of games. What a difference three years has made. Today I can walk into most retailers and find at least one cooperative game. In fact, stores like Target have an entire section dedicated to cooperative games for kids. I have been SO THRILLED at the growing excitement because I think it indicates a shift in how we’re raising our kids.
Peaceable Kingdom has been one of the key players in this growth. Each year they’ve upped their game (hehe, no pun intended!) and are dedicated to growing in this niche.
We had the opportunity to test out two of these games and I can’t wait to tell you about them.
Lucky Dogs is a dice game for kids ages 5+. The object of the game is to spell “LUCKY DOGS” before all the players run out of dice. To start out, players divide the dice evenly among themselves, and set the bones in piles of 3 on either side of the doghouse.
Players take turns rolling 6 of their dice. If they roll multiples of the same numbers, then those dice are not able to be used in that turn. Whatever dice remain can be placed on the matching number on any of the dog bones. If no dice can be placed on a bone (because there is no match), then one die goes to the doghouse. Once all the spots on the dog bone is covered, players get those dice and the letter on the back of the bone is revealed.
If BOTH players run of out dice, then the dog wins and the players lose. But if players can uncover all of the letters to spell “LUCKY DOGS” in time, they win!
Lucky Dogs is a fun game that takes a little bit of luck and a little bit of strategy. 🙂 Asante and I have been enjoying this one together.
The Memory Palace is all about memory and story telling. Our girls REALLY enjoy storytelling, so this one was right up their alley.
Players go around the board, placing a token on a scene in the Memory Palace while telling a story about that scene. After everyone’s tokens are placed, players go back around the board, trying to retell the stories (this is where the memorization comes in). To win, everyone has to be able to tell the stories and remember which token is on which scene. If someone accidentally flips over a monster token (placed on a scene that was not talked about), then the players lose.
When we played, we adjusted the rules a bit and decided that each person would just retell ONE story (not EVERY story).
For the kids, the fun was really in the storytelling and trying to remember all the fun fancy details instead of trying to “win” as a team. I think this game lends itself well to that, which is fine by me!
Compared to other cooperative games, I would say this game is a little weak on the cooperation portion if played according to the given rules. If ONE person forgets one of the stories, it causes the whole team to lose. In my opinion, a true cooperative game has a stronger team component (where one player can’t single-handidly make a whole team lose).
The girls ended up playing with the game board (simply telling winding, detailed stories) long after the game was over, so although I do have a significant critique for the game, it was still a fun way to spend time together as a family!