I had to work all day yesterday. But, when I got home last night, my daughter, who is on her winter break, had a surprise for me. She set up the Zhu Zhu Pets Wild Wacky Hamster Board Game she had gotten for Christmas so she could play it with me.
This was actually a game my wife found for her while doing some non-Christmas shopping at our local Shopko store. My daughter loves Zhu Zhu Pets and even owns a couple of them (she doesn’t play with them very often though because her little sister always gets jealous) and wanted the video game based on the toy. The video game was outside our price range and this seemed like a more affordable alternative.
The object of the game is pretty simple. The Zhu Zhu Hamsters are actually large marbles (with a picture of a hamster) and you need to be the first person to get across the finish line by rolling a dice and moving your piece to the corresponding color. However, to add an additional challenge, there are a variety of obstacles that include a wheel that can send you all the way back to start and a funnel that spins your hamster around and sends it down one of four tubes that lead to different parts of the board. Since you can choose to send either your hamster or someone else’s, the person winning the game could suddenly find themselves trailing.
Overall, I do feel this was a unique game that was pretty fun. However, I did think the pace of the game was a bit slow. I have found the best board games are those that can be finished in 10 minutes or less; simply because it’s hard to keep my daughter’s interest for much longer than that. This game, both times it was played (my wife and daughter played it earlier in the day when I was at work), took more than a half hour and probably could have gone much longer last night if we weren’t going out of our way to make sure my hamster got across the finish line first.
Part of the problem is the funnel. While fun the first couple times your hamster is sent down it, it is just too easy to either hit one of the many spaces on the board that send you there or roll it on the dice. And, since three of the four tubes send you to the middle of the board (the fourth one leaves you a short distance from the finish line), I think it is definitely possible to play the game for hours with no winner.
As I said before, this is a unique game and it is definitely fun. But, if you plan on buying it for your kids, be prepared to either play it for a long time in one sitting or to modify the rules a bit to guarantee you will have someone actually cross the finish line.