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“Worm Up!” is a race game that can be played by younger children and adults with equal delight. It is fun and interactive and easy to play. It is also a good introductory game for developing strategic thinking and small motor skills. The game can be played on any flat surface that has at least two square feet of usable territory.

This game is played with five different colored ‘worms’ consisting of seven ‘segments’. Each player receives five tiles in a color that matches their worm… 4,5,6,7, and an X.

There are four upright wooden posts in the game, two used to mark the start line and two for the finish line--they are placed about 2 feet apart. The finish line posts can be readjusted by a player who draws an X tile. By holding one post steady and rotating the other end to a new angle, the player brings the line closer to their worm or moves it away from an advancing worm. (Sometimes it can even be manipulated to cause your worm to cross the finish line).

Everyone secretly selects one of their five tiles, which are then revealed simultaneously as a bid for movement. Players have to try to guess, second-guess or out-guess what their opponents might bid because two bids of the same number cancel each other out…an X allows a player to choose any number…the lowest number shown goes first allowing for strategic blocking. If you are the only player who has bid a certain number, you are allowed to move that many segments of your worm by moving one segment at a time from the back to the front. Worms will typically squirm all over the place, trying to block out other players and get to the finish line first.

Strongly supports the practice of the following skills:

  • The Relationship of Parts to the Whole
  • Assessing Risk, Taking Chances and Using Good Judgment
  • Measurement
  • Connections and Sequences
  • Pattern Making
  • Analyzing Opportunities
  • Probability

“Igloo Pop” is an active children’s game where refined auditory skills pay off. It consists of some colored wooden disks, a deck of Eskimo-bearing cards and plastic igloos containing between 2 and 13 beads. Participants shake igloos filled with beads to guess the number inside. With experience, a listener can develop the auditory skill to correctly guess the number of beads bouncing off the inside walls of their igloo. Each player takes wooden disks in his or her color at the beginning of the game. Nine cards are placed in a circle and the igloos are placed in the center.

Players simultaneously grab the igloos and shake them. When a player thinks they know how many beads are inside an igloo, a wooden marker is placed in the slot on top of the igloo and then the igloo is placed on a card showing the correct number. The player is then free to pick up and shake another igloo. This part of the game is fast and competitive.

Once all the igloos have been placed on cards, the igloos are turned over to reveal the numbers on the bottom. If the number matches the card, the player gets the card as well as their wooden marker back. If the numbers don’t match, the player loses that marker for the rest of the game. The game continues until one player loses his or her last marker. The risk factor is great and the play demands quick decisions based on very little information.

Strongly supports the practice of the following skills:

  • Analyzing Opportunities
  • Assessing Risk, Taking Chances and Using Good Judgment

In this game for 2 to 5 players, each person takes on the role of an iconic detective following clues to solve a big caper on the streets of London by collecting ‘Evidence’ Tiles. Although the theme drives the illustrations on the cards and tiles, finding the particular ‘loot’ isn’t really related to the very clever game mechanics. This is an engrossing game that requires skill and finesse in card management. It has short and easy directions and a quick set-up with a random element that insures a different game each time it is played. It demands high order thinking to win.

The components of the game include 72 Witness Cards that are illustrated to represent waifs, organ grinders, London Bobbies, and high society dames. There are 25 Evidence Tiles and 5 round Loot Disks. The Loot Disks sit at the top of 5 columns of mixed ‘Evidence’ Tiles and give bonus points to the winner of that color. At the start of your turn, you collect cards and combine them into melds that will enable you to ‘buy’ your way up the columns of evidence. Once a “crime is solved”, that is, when all of the Evidence Tiles related to a particular crime/color are collected, the detective with the most evidence grabs the Loot (bonus) Disk for that crime/color.

There are several strategies that include ‘destroying’ Evidence Tiles that make it more difficult for your opponents to collect the Evidence Tiles they need to win. The game ends after the fourth ‘case’ has been solved. The fifth ‘case’ remains unsolved and all respective Tiles and the respective Loot Disk of that color are returned to the box without being scored. Players now total the values of their Evidence Tiles and Loot Disks and the highest total wins the game.

Strongly supports the practice of the following skills:

  • Analyzing Opportunities
  • Probability
  • Algebraic Reasoning
  • Assessing Risk, taking Chances and Using Good Judgment
  • Connections and Sequences
  • Number and Operations
  • Set Attributes and Decision Making
  • Pattern Making


This is a fast and easy game with a theme of exploration. It can involve 3 to 8 players at a time. Incan Gold challenges players to search for gold and treasure in a quick and fun risk-taking game that can be played by both young (5 years) and old. As ‘explorers’ move further into the cave by turning over ‘stay or leave’ cards, more treasure or danger appears. Each player has two choices, to stay in the cave or to leave and take the treasure back to their ‘tent’. Each turn of a card either treats players with treasure or threatens them with the loss of everything!

There are five rounds of exploration and whoever has the most treasure at the end is the ultimate winner. Will you continue to move into the cave or will you walk out of the cave with what you already have? This is a ‘push your luck’ game that is appropriate for children!

The rules are easy to understand and easy to teach. The only thing that might slip past is that one of the danger cards does not make it back into the deck after you get stung, bit, smothered, etc. It is removed from play. Other than that, it is a matter of pressing your luck and running away with the most treasure. You can begin to assess the probability of being ‘wiped out’ by measuring how many cards have been played, but the removal of ‘threat’ cards makes it more difficult. The luck factor is high.

Strongly supports the practice of the following skills:

  • Assessing Risk, Taking Chances and Using Good Judgment
  • Pattern Making
  • Data Analysis and Probability
  • Set Attributes and Decision-making


Copyright © Cindy Thomashow and FRED Distribution, Inc., 2009, all rights reserved



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