ZINGO: Game Directions – That Horrible, Necessary Evil

ZINGO: Game Directions – That Horrible, Necessary Evil


I’d bet that if you were in a room with a million people and asked “does anyone like reading directions?” not a single person would raise their hand.  Okay so no one in their right mind would take that bet, it would be like trying to win a raffle when you didn’t bother to buy a ticket.   Seriously though, directions are the necessary evil that comes before the fun.  Whether you’re learning how to use your new super-complex digital camera or learning the commands for your cool new Robosapien so you can tease your dog, directions stink.  I just want to get to the fun part.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who has come to this realization because there are games out there that have gotten you half the way with their name alone.  A great example is ZINGO.  From the –INGO you can guess that the game’s got some bingo in it, right?  But wait, there’s more, those smart cookies at ThinkFun even put pictures on the back of the packaging so when you open the box, there’s only about a paragraph of actual directions to read.  So 20 seconds of reading, 3 twist ties to remove and you’re ready to play!  Outstanding, right?

All of this would be for naught if the game wasn’t good, but it really is top notch.  And while the ZINGO box suggests it’s for 4-8 year old, I know a couple parents who don’t mind playing it over and over and over.  Sure beats some board games that leave you literally bored after a couple games.

Zingo Word BuilderSo you’ve already got that it’s bingo, but it’s bingo with a zing.  (Actually their tag line, I ripped that off.)  Forget numbers and tokens, this bingo is played with little tiles adorned with pictures but the real “wow factor” is the extremely addictive mechanism that spits out the ZINGO tiles.  It’s kind of like the “chook chook” old credit card copying machines, but with each “chook-chook” it magically spits out two tiles.  It’s not the first time ThinkFun has used the “chook-chook” machine, it’s also in their fast-fire adult word game Smart Mouth which I also highly recommend to people looking for a fast-paced word game.  But back to ZINGO

So now that you’ve spent the 90 seconds to read/view the directions, unpack the game and fall in love with the “chook-chook” machine, it’s time to play.  Once the machine has been “chook-chooked” and tiles have been spit out, players quickly scan their cards and yell out any matching objects.  The first person to holler out “frog,” “ghost” or whatever image is on both the tile and their board wins the tile and is one step closer to covering their board and winning.  Simple, right?

A nice added feature – as if ThinkFun hasn’t already done enough for us thus far – is that there are two levels of play, one for youngsters so it’s a little less competitive and one for older kids who want a more exciting game.  The ZINGO cards of the easier version have fewer duplicate images so there’s not as much of a rush to skim the images on your card for a tile-card match.  I will admit, the easy version is really for the kiddies and it’s the competitive version I’m a fan of, but the 4 year olds of the world will appreciate the extra time.  And either way, I appreciate that I can spend more time playing and less time reading the directions.

ZINGO stats:

~$12 at Amazon and other places Think Fun games are sold.  Other variations include: Sight Words, Word Builder, 1-2-3, Time-Telling, and many others

2-4 players

~5 min.

Ages 4-8 (parents might find it fun too)


Add yours
  1. Nathaniel Tice

    Kim – ZINGO is my kids favorite game. My 9 yr old plays with 6 to 9 boards and 4 yr old plays with 2 or 3. Their variation requires that all the boards be filled in order to win and the tiles get recycled.

    Another variation has them stacking one card with as many of the same tiles as possible. It is very funny to watch as they scramble for tiles and the stacks do not stay up very well.

Comments are closed.