English language edition of Papa Bär
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Papa Bear's little son is continually changing his clothes, but wants to know each time exactly what he will end up looking like. Step-by-step, Papa Bear teaches his son about predicting outcomes in this fast-paced visual perception game.
It seems that Playroom Entertainment can do no wrong with their Bright Idea Games line. If you have young children under the age of ten, you can find no finer series of game to introduce them to - games in which the kids can remain competitive with adults. Papa Bear (Playroom Entertainment, 2006 - Reinhard Staupe) is yet another good example of the series, helping children learn about colors and giving them a fun challenge.
Papa Bear is probably a bit more involved than the other games of the series and was the first at which I was able to quickly beat my six-year old. However, with practice, the children will learn from this game (always a good thing) and have a lot of fun doing so. I'm not sure that the replayability of this game is as high as some of the others (Monkey Memory springs to mind), but for what the game does it does it well and has some advanced options that can make the game especially challenging.
Twelve Bear cards are randomly placed in a circle in the middle of the table, each having a number in their top left hand corner (from "1" to "12"), and showing a picture of a bear wearing a hat, jacket and boots. Each article of clothing is red, green, or yellow, and every bear is wearing a different combination (although no bear is completely one color). Another pile of number cards is shuffled and placed in the middle of the table with the numbers face up. The oldest player goes first and begins the first round.
Each round, the active player calls out the top number of the pile,
then turns the card over, which shows two of the three articles of
clothing. All players are to look at the bear who matches the number
called out and examine the two articles of clothing. The players must
then find which bear on the table matches this criteria:
-Has the same color item as the third item NOT shown on the card.
- Has the same colors as the two items on the two items of clothing shown on the card - but switched. For example, if the bear has a yellow coat and green boots, the new bear needs to have a green coat and yellow boots.
As soon as a player finds the new bear, then they immediately call out the number of the correct bear. The other players check to see if they are correct; if so, they keep the number card that was used to identify the bear. Otherwise, the player loses one of the number cards they've already gotten.
Play continues with the next round, with the next number card on the pile being used. Play continues until one player gets six of the cards, at which point the other players crown them the winner.
Some comments on the game…
1.) Components: The cards are all thick, durable cardstock and have nice thick white borders, allowing players to easily manipulate and handle them. The numbers on the card are big and bold - easy for kids to read. The pictures of the bears themselves are well done - each slightly different from the rest but with identical hats, coats, and boots. The colors are well defined, and it's an excellent product - everything fitting into a cardboard insert in a small, sturdy box.
2.) Rules: The rulebook has six full-color pages with illustrations and examples. It's well formatted and rather simple, actually, although the game is easier to show than to explain. I have explained the game to children easily, and my six year old daughter understands it, while my four year old daughter just didn't get it.
3.) Thinking: The game requires one to mentally switch two colors on a bear in their head and then look for a target bear that matches that combination. It's really not that difficult to do, but it is a step up for kids who are used to searching for a matching combination. I'm glad, because I'm certainly in favor of anything that makes children use their noggins. My daughter was a little confused at first; but I patiently explained it to her, and soon she was excitedly figuring out each one - they were like a puzzle for her.
4.) Ages: The game is advertised for ages five and up, but younger folk are going to need a bit of help to get jumpstarted, although it's not really that difficult. As I said in the beginning, it's the first of the Bright Idea line that isn't immediately simple to young children, although the basic idea is still brilliantly straightforward. I'm glad to push the limits of my children, and this game does so in an easy, fun way.
5.) Advanced Rules: There are two variants included in the rules, both which promote the use of memory. The first has the player place the number card on top of the bear who is the initial one in question, causing players to remember what colors the two articles of clothing are. The second has the card showing the two articles of clothing that are being switched also hidden (this can be combined with the first variant). I personally enjoy these variants with the memory added, making the game much more difficult. They do add a special challenge to the game, which I don't think younger kids can handle; but upper elementary will certainly be up to the challenge.
6.) Fun Factor: For me, the novelty of the game wears off a bit after a couple of games, because the game feels like more of the same. But it's a great learning tool for kids, and they don't mind the repetitiveness of the game. I can play the game with my daughter and have a good time, but I don't think I would play the game with adults.
So that's my final verdict. There's no reason to buy this game if you aren't planning to play the game with children. If you do have access to kids, however, then this is yet another excellent addition to the Bright Idea line - a good tool to use at home or at school. And besides, the bear cartoons are cute - a good draw for the younger set.
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