I know, I know. March Break is almost over for our customers (literally – the kids here go back to school this coming Monday), and here I am blogging about games and diversions for your children. Your tired, cranky children. Who are hanging around you, plucking at the leg of your trousers and saying “Mom! [or Dad – just insert the appropriate name here] I’m bored!”
So even though your children are probably sweet-tempered things, well able to amuse themselves, and never, never tiresome, maybe it’s time to talk about a few games they could play. At our house, I’d add “preferably by themselves, while Mommy has some coffee and does the crossword”.
Ghost Blitz is a fun, if strange, little game from German publisher Zoch zum Spielen (I ran this through Google Translate and got the enigmatic “To Play Zoch”. Your guess is as good as mine.)
Here’s the backgrounder to the game, from the rules:
Balduin, the house ghost, found an old camera in the castle cellar. Immediately he photographed everything that he loves to make disappear when he is haunting – including himself, of course. Unfortunately, the enchanted camera takes many photos in the wrong colors. Sometimes the green bottle is white, at other times it’s blue. Looking at the photos, Balduin doesn’t really remember any more what he wanted to make disappear next. Can you help him with his haunting and quickly name the right item, or even make it disappear by yourself? If you grab the right items quickly, you have a good chance of winning…
Ghost Blitz is a reaction game consisting of 5 wooden items – white ghost, red chair, green bottle, blue book, and grey mouse – and 60 cards that depict various combinations of the items, some correctly coloured and some not. The cards are shuffled and placed face-down in a central pile. On each turn, one player turns over the top card. Players race to grab either an item shown on the card which is the correct colour (if the card shows a white ghost, you would grab the white ghost item) or, if none of the items shown on the card is the right colour, players must figure out which item is not shown and whose original colour is not shown on the card. There is only one correct item for each card.
Are you confused yet?
Okay. Let’s say you turn over the next card and it shows a blue ghost with a red mouse on its head. There is no blue ghost or red mouse item, of course. So, since the ghost, the mouse, the colour blue, and the colour red are accounted for, what you’d need to go for would be the green bottle.
If you grab (successfully) for the correct item, you get to keep the turned-over card in front of you, and you also get to turn over the next card.
What if you grab the wrong item? Oh, waily waily waily (obscure reference alert: Wee Free Men, author Terry Pratchett), then you will have to give up one of the cards you may already have won (assuming you have any). Worse yet, the player who did grab the right item gets this card (or cards) as well! Eeeeek!
You can see how well-suited this game is to sibling play. It promotes hand-eye coordination, logical deduction, and polishes up those grabbing skills so important in later life (think of junior partners in law firms who must compete for clients, or doctoral students elbowing one another aside as they reach for those bursaries!)
Ages 8+, 2 to 8 players, about 20 minutes to play. Lots of fun!