Customer Reviews: Cranium Cariboo
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Price:$138.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on September 19, 2003
We bought this game because the next "level" of cranium game would be cadoo which is ages 7 &up. My daughter is 4.5 and it was fun the first 2 times we played it and then it got boring. Another reviewer had the right idea when they said to make variations up. It helps the game last much longer than if there were none. My daughter really likes the bouncy balls and the key though. Bottom line is that if your kids know their abc's and 123's then I would suggest you find another game. It's a great beginning game though!
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on May 18, 2003
With a little creativity, it's not hard to make Cariboo more entertaining and educational for older kids, perhaps even up to age seven or eight. The play value is extended considerably over the base game.
Variation #1:
Turn Cariboo into a "rummy" and logic game but dealing a hand of five cards to each player. Each turn you must turn in *two* cards that have the characteristic on the box to open it. After playing these cards, you can open the lid. Refresh your hand.
This makes it challenging to figure out how to play out your hand in order to open a certain lid. A player also has the opportunity to "turn in" his hand, or trade from 1-5 cards with an opponent, getting rid of "dead" cards.
(Try with three matching characteristics - if you enjoy this kind of thinking a better game called "Set" which Amazon sells does this very well).
Variation #2:
Close lids after opening. The child must remember which have been opened and closed, turning this into a good memory exercise.
Variation #3:
Rather than the last ball wins, assign a consistent or variable point value to the colored balls or the order in which they appear (first ball worth 1, second 2, etc), with a bonus for the last ball.
Variation #4:
Add a "tic-tac-toe" like element, with points, to selecting which lids to open. e.g 3 lids in a column with X points, 5 lids in row worth Y points.
Good luck! Apply similar thinking to games in your closet and encourage your child to do so as well and you might find a budding game designer!
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on October 20, 2002
My son played this game all day! The television never got turned on! Levi was as excited to play this game with us as by himself. He played it over and over again. I'm sure the initial excitement will wear off- but every visitor to our home is sure to be offered the Cariboo challenge!
Other good points-- there is not a lot of set-up involved to play this game. The game is fairly self-contained--the pieces tend not to stray too far.
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on October 24, 2002
My 5yr old loves this game! It's one she can play over & over, sometimes even by herself. My one problem with the game is that the "doors" that are unlocked do not have interchangeable cards. By the 5th round of playing, my daughter had practically memorized the board. Being able to change the cards on the doors would make the game much more challenging. Other than that one alteration, this game is excellent for preschoolers.
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on November 9, 2002
My two and half year-old loved this game from the moment we opened the box. She played it over and over again, squealing with glee everytime she unlocked a door with the key and found a ball. I do agree with one of the previous reviews, it would be nice to have interchangable cards. That would increase the educational value of the game. I still say this game is great!
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on November 15, 2006
This game was given to my children as a gift when they were 5 and 2. We've had it for almost a year and they both love it. Having a beginner and advanced set of cards helps stretch this game for a longer usability period. This is also one of the few games that my children can (and WILL!) play independently together. They share the key, take turns, cheer each other on and have fun. They (and I) love that they can play this game together without mom. AND, the games are short enough that I will often stop what I'm doing to play this. It's also short enough to hold my two year old's attention through an entire game. I couldn't be happier.

The only snag we hit was when the game was left down low for a while and the kids started playing with the balls as toys. Within a week, half of the balls were lost. Hearing about Cranium's great customer service, I emailed them asking them how to order another set of balls. I just heard back from them and they are sending me a new set of balls free. Now THAT is great customer service! I am very impressed and will be putting more games from this great company on our Christmas list!
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on November 18, 2002
You have to love a game that only has a 4 step How-to-Play instruction card.
My 8 year old got this for his birthday. It's a fun game that all three of my kids can play ALONE 3,5 & 7 (the 5 & 8 yr old help the 3 with her counting).
I only wish it included more letters and numbers in the cards and board (why I gave it a 4 instead of 5 stars in the educational field). It would be nice to be able to mix up the squares as well. I think I'll get the Cadoo version for the 7 year old to play with friends and for all of us to play but this one is great for the kids to play by themselves. They love the fact they can set it up and play without Mom and Dad!!!
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on November 21, 2002
My not quite 2 1/2 year old son has many fixations, especially holes - dark holes! This game is his dream come true, while we aren't utilizing the cards just yet, he cannot get enough of dropping the balls in the holes, unlocking the door with the key, and finally revealing the treasure. I disagree with the non-interchangeable card comments. Whether your child memorizes what is on the doors is irrelevant - it's matching the card to something and being rewarded with the possiblilty of finding a ball that makes it fun. Not just for the kids either, we love playing with our son too. It is just a well thought out, well made game that will be a hit for a few years. As it says on the box - ages 3 to 6.
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on August 23, 2006
This is a review of the children's game, CariBoo, by Cranium. It requires no batteries, which is great. It has two sets of cards for either Beginner or Advanced levels of playing, which is also nice. It's ideal for preschool-age children. The skills required include simple counting, matching colors/shapes/letters - even in the 'Advanced' level. However, the fun is in hoping to find a Treasure Ball under one of the Doors, so older children often enjoy playing this with a younger child. I wouldn't buy this game for anyone beyond kindergarten-level, although, as an adult, I haven't gotten tired of playing it yet. =o) One game takes only 5-10 minutes to play, which goes by fast. (Much speedier than Candyland!)

When you remove the lid of the box, you find the bottom part of the box - the game itself - already assembled. =o) There are three holes along the top of the game board to drop six bright rubber balls. They roll around and randomly settle under different doors, in shallow pockets. It helps to jiggle the game slightly, to make sure each ball found its own pocket to settle in. You need to play this game on a hard, level surface, because otherwise the balls can be easily jarred from their pockets. Even then, sometimes a ball won't settle into a pocket, and when you open the Door you see two balls crowded there. We just consider that a Special Bonus.

If you want to play the Beginner Level, you're ready to play now. The youngest player goes first. She draws a card from the Beginner Deck, and it will either be a Letter (A,B, or C), a Number (1,2,3, or 4), a Color (blue, yellow, red, or green), or a Shape (circle, square, or triangle). No reading is required for either level of this game.

In each door, a card-insert shows a picture. (You would have to flip over the card-inserts to play the Advanced Level.) For the Beginning Level, the card-inserts each show a picture like three red round Cupcakes, or one green square Alligator. If you drew a C card from the Beginner deck of cards, you can choose any door that has a C---- picture. The pictures are all clearly labeled, so nonreaders just match the beginning letters which are bold and capitalized.

The player inserts the tip of the key into a little hole above the door, which makes the door pop open. Then you look down in there, to see if a Treasure Ball happened to settle underneath that door. If so, the player pulls it out and drops it into the hole/chute along the right side of the game board, which leads to the Treasure Chest. (Nothing happens yet.)

Play continues, and as balls are found, they are all dropped into the hole/chute leading to the Treasure. The player who finds the last Treasure Ball (of six) is the Winner. This last ball must be pressed into the crowded chute, which pushes the line of balls to press a hidden lever which makes the lid of the Treasure Chest slowly open. The Treasure Chest has gold glitter and a large plastic gem that does not come out. It's just exciting to see the Chest open. That's the end of the game!

For the Advanced Level of play, the deck of cards have either an uppercase/lowercase set of letters (Aa, Mm, Oo, etc. - printed in four different colors), or a numeral from 1 to 10 (printed in four different colors). The player can choose to open a Door with a picture of that many objects (8 strawberries, etc.) or if the label of the picture includes the Letter he drew (doesn't have to be the first letter). OR, they can open a door if the picture is the color of their printed letter/numeral.

The game moves fairly quickly, and doesn't have to be played competitively. A child could play alone, or with one player drawing the cards and the other player using the Key each time, etc. It could even be played alone.

Our preschool daughter LOVES this game and begs to keep playing it over and over again. I highly recommend it for FUN, and developing quick observation skills - although there is no time-limit, the excitement of possibly finding a Treasure Ball motivates the child to quickly count sets or seek matching letters.

Great game!!!!
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on December 29, 2003
Our 2 1/2 year old LOVES this game. It is the only game he asks for. He has joined his brothers in playing Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, etc. but doesn't seem to understand the purpose or care what happens in those games. Finding Cariboo's balls and opening the treasure chest is a very tangible goal which he finds exciting.
My 4 and 6 year old also like this game. When the older kids play, we make it more challenging by closing each door at the end of every turn. They try to remember which doors have already been opened so they can improve their chances of selecting doors which might actually have a ball hidden below. I think the company should print this "Challenge Version" in their game rules; it extends the interest in the game for older children. While my 6 year old has had fun playing this game with his younger siblings, I probably would not purchase Cranium Cariboo for a 6 year old as I think they would probably become bored with it before long.
This is an excellent first game for young children!
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