on May 11, 2016
We were looking for games to play with our 3 year old that start to introduce strategic play and thinking while still keeping the gameplay simple. The Little Orchard fits the bill perfectly. There's just enough strategy that with proper play you can always come out a winner -- but just enough luck that you need to make sure you have that proper strategy or the crow will eat your cherries.
Gameplay is straighforward cooperative game: Roll a die, choose a tile with the matching flower and try to get the 5 cherries before you hit too many crows. There are three tiles for each color type: crow, cherry and sleeping animal. Each time you flip a crow he advances one on the track to eat the cherries. If you get the cherry it goes into the picnic basket and is removed from play. If you get a sleeping animal, play passes to the next person.
There's also a wild side to the die so 1/6th of the time you get to pick the color you want.
The game plays very quickly - we get through a round in 10-15 minutes at most now, which is a perfect length of time for young kids. That said, each time we pull it out we seem to play at least two or three rounds, because once just isn't enough. There's a good amount of tension in each playthrough because if you forget just once or twice where a crow is you can doom yourself -- but you're also bound to get a couple of crows randomly and if those happen early you can get in trouble fast!
In addition to building the memory skills this is a great little game for building up logical inference in kids becuase if this is a crow and that is a sleeping animal then the cherry must be . . .
on March 5, 2013
This is such a fun and pretty game for little ones. You can easily simplify it for them by playing it without the dice. Just have the cards face down or in a stack, and choose one for your turn without using the die to select a particular category.
Either you get a pair of cherries for the family basket, or the raven moves a space to the tree with a "caw caw", or you set a little animal aside face up to continue sleeping. If your tot wants to keep their card till the end, so be it!
(Just make sure to keep the cherries out of little mouths.)
You can enjoy your success if the raven only gets one or 2 pairs, and the family gets most of them. After all, the raven needs to eat, too! Win/win! (Teach compassion & sharing!)
When the kids get a little older, you can use the die, and play it as a memory game, too!
on March 24, 2015
I first read about this game on boardgamegeek.com, and it was highly recommended. My kids (3 y/o and 4 y/o) LOVE this game, and so do I. Its simple to set up and clean up (that's a MUST). The gameplay takes 5 to 10 minutes tops, and only 10 minutes if my 3 y/o decides to be rambunctious and throw the dice across the room during each of his turns. At first my daughter didn't want to make the raven noise and hated the ravens, but now she understands their a part of the game and we have fun with it. This is really a great game.