I’ve always believed that every board game is in some way, shape or form educational. One of the biggest things I think EVERYONE can learn from playing games is how to be a good winner or how to accept defeat gracefully. And now there is this new category of games cropping up in which players either win or lose together as a group. There’s no one winner nor is there one loser – and players compete TOGETHER against the game itself. So maybe these games won’t teach you to be a good winner or good loser but they will teach you teamwork and group strategy – and that’s not a bad deal.
Any of you who have met me in person know that I love competition…I thrive on competition – especially when it comes to Boggle. (Which I won last night, oh yea!) So how do I feel about these “cooperative” games? I actually like them. One in particular I fell in love with initally because of the game’s look is called Hoot Owl Hoot and after playing it, I think it’s a great game for kids.
How to Play
The object of the game is to get the owls to the nest before the sun rises. There is a a little sun token that starts by the moon at the top of the board and if it reaches the sun before all of the owls are in the nest, the game wins. The sun moves forward one space everytime a player discards a sun card. To start the game off, you decide how many owls you’d like to attempt. For younger kids, you start with 3 owls and then work your way up to using all 6 owls for the hardest game. Players each are dealt 3 cards and on their turn if they have a sun, they must play it and move the sun token forward one space. If they don’t have a sun they can play any color card in their hand. Then they move any owl forward to the next available space of that color. The strategy is to get owls jumping over each other because the nearest space of that color is occupied. If all of the owls make it to the nest before the sun rises, the players win!
Hoot Owl Hoot is for kids ages 4 and up – but just to make sure it was actually fun for adults AND there was a real chance that the game would win, I played with my husband. Just the two of us tackled the hardest version with all six owls on the board I’m happy to say that we won only 3 out of 4 and the one we lost, we lost BAD. Why does that make me happy? Because I want to know this game is decent competition…and it turns out it is. The odds are in the favor of the players, but if you lost all the time would you ever play? Probably not. Which brings me to another important point: parents make sure you have time to play 2 games in case the sun wins the first one.
Couple other things to note: the rules are in the box top – and it’s a NICE box so you probably won’t smash or mangle it for many years. Also the game is “Green” meaning it’s made of earth-friendly materials including soy-based inks. Even the pieces come in a paper envelope instead of lots of little plastic baggies. I have to say the design, artwork and planet-friendly parts make me smile.
Hoot Owl Hoot Stats
$15 at Hoot Owl Hoot on Amazon, local game stores
2-4 players (must omit challenge cards with 2 players so 3-8 is better)
Ages 4 and up