Our five-year-old is a little obsessed with games. Board games, card games, dice games, domino games, memory games… we’ve covered them all. We’ve exhausted the local charity shops and got through all the Happy Meal freebies a friend donated; our pre-kid collection of classics Kerplunk, Twister and Buckaroo have long since been disembowelled - mechanisms destroyed by meddling fingers, parts posted through floorboard cracks or sneaked into the dressing up box. We’ve got bored of ‘Ladders and Snakes’ (as he calls it) and been trapped in never-ending rounds of Top Trumps and Candyland (a boardgame where you race through a land of candy) – fun for the first few games but when it’s all down to luck with no element of tactics, it’s hard not to get bored, and it didn’t take Noah long to realise winning was purely down to the cards/dice.
So when we got the newly released Aladdin’s Flying Carpet I was secretly excited. What with the added bonus of ‘treasure, Mummy, TREASURE!’ this was sure to be a humungous hit. I had visions of the four of us gathered round in a cordial family collective of concentration, anticipation and excitement (funny how my fantasy world family is so calm and orderly…).
Aladdin’s Flying Carpet is similar to Buckaroo – you have to load items that you’ve lucky-dipped out of a treasure chest onto a magic carpet without it falling. This ‘flying’ carpet is suspended in the air via magnets and a thin nylon wire. The person who places the piece of treasure that makes the carpet fall, loses. The person who successfully placed the piece of treasure before that is the winner!
Examining the treasure kept our boys busy for long enough that their mummies could fiddle about getting the game set up. I was expecting it to be pretty labourious – like setting up Mouse Trap when I was a kid – we used to spend more time messing about with the parts to get them to work than actually playing the game - but these days the mechanisms are more precisely designed and more robust. Once we worked out the separation point of the magnet it was easy to set it to a suitable difficulty level for our boys. Game on! Both of them quickly got the idea and they were hooked; “Ooh treasure, what will I get – a treasure chest or a lamp? Some coins or a jewel? Will it fall? No! Phew! Mumma’s turn!”
Despite the age recommendation of four and above (which Noah pointed out at regular intervals), Eli, two, not only grasped the concept, but loved playing. This was a bonus as there aren’t many games we can all play together – usually we’re either fending Eli off with another toy or juggling his own version of the game played with the spare pieces that usually descends into cries of ‘he’s wrecking it! From Noah. This game is also quick enough that they don’t lose attention.
Generally the loser lost because they accidentally knocked the carpet with their arm, but this was part of the fun. Noah quickly worked out that he could feel which treasure he was picking and choose the ones he liked best (takes me back to working out how I could cheat when I was a kid. Like mother like son…).
I suspect over time we’ll struggle to keep all the treasures in the box, however this game is great for little ones.
Aladdin’s Flying Carpet from University Games is £19.99.