Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Toy Factor

After I finished another game of Pop the Pig with our son, I realized I’ve never actually written about that game.

And to be fair, there’s not much to write about, it’s a game for small children consisting of a plastic pig dressed like a chef. Roll a die to determine what color plastic burger you stuff in his mouth. Every burger has a number on the bottom and you pump his hat that number of times. After about thirty or so pumps, his belt will pop and if you’re that player, you win.

To summarize. Roll a die and do what it tells you. If you’re lucky, you’ll win. The only decision is whether or not to play.

Despite that fact, our five-year-old does like to get it out every once in a while. And at least it’s not Doggie Doo Doo, which has the same number of decisions but is themed around dog poop.

Pop the Pig combines two things that I have seen in a number of little kid games. Toy Factor and No Choices. And clearly, the only reason that it hits the table, at least in our home, is the toy factor.

Toy Factor isn’t great as the solitary virtue of a game but I’ll admit that it can add a lot to a game experience. Connect 4 is a decent little abstract that has a first-player bias but the experience of dropping the checkers, as well as dropping them all out at the end, is what sells it. It’s a game that teaches the basics of abstracts and the tactile experience is a fun one.

The first game that our son really played was Don’t Spill the Beans, which also has plenty of toy factor. There’s a not a lot to the game but it is a dexterity game so there is a skill element to it.

Pop the Pig, I can’t say the same props that I can give either Connect 4 or Don’t Spill the Beans. But he does play it and plays it by the rules so it has that for me.

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