Tag Archives: game

What a Livin’ Doll

If you have daughters, nieces, or, gasp, sons or nephews who like playing with dolls (and no, there’s nothing wrong with boys who play with dolls), then there’s a very good chance that you have dolls on the brain. And the floor, the furniture, your car, and everywhere else. While the choices in dolls may seem as endless as that hour between dinner and bedtime, there are some fun, new twists on the basic baby doll that have recently come out, and your little doll is sure to love ‘em.

Peek a Boo Dolly (Gund)
peek a boo gundThis cute doll is great for the youngest children. She engages them in games and actually talks to them. Peek a Boo Dolly pulls her pink blanket up over her eyes and asks, “Where did you go?” and then, a few seconds later, lowers the blanket and announces, “Peek a boo, I found you!” She says six different phrases and plays for roughly 40 seconds at a time when her button is pressed. Dolly is soft and snuggly, and kids will love to hold her. With a sweet smile on her face and fleecy clothes, she looks happy, plush, and has no small parts to choke on or come loose. She needs 3 AAA batteries, which are included. Dolly’s cousin is a brown Peek a Boo Bear, who comes with a cream colored blanket. Each retails for $40 at your favorite gift- or toy store, as well as at http://shop.gund.com

PlayTime Baby Love Ewe (Adora)
adoraThis doll is so sweet, and would make a great Easter or spring friend for your precious little one. Dressed in a little lamb-covered one-piece outfit and pink headband, she is truly adorable and kids will gravitate to her. She comes with her own bottle, her eyes open and close when you move her, and she can suck her own thumb. The best part about this baby, though, is that she’s completely machine washable. You read that right! When she gets dirty, as your kid’s favorite toy is bound to, just toss her in the wash on gentle and hang her on the line to dry. Can’t get any easier than that. These doll are handmade and have a light baby powder scent, and you and your child will appreciate the life-like features of this toy, from her little fingernails to her turned up toes. Their “skin” is made of special “Gentle Touch™ vinyl” that makes them soft and cuddly as well. Available for $35 on http://www.adoradolls.com

Cozy Cutie Drink ‘n Wet Doll (Kidoozie)
drink n wetCozy will make your child giggle and keep her (or him) busy for hours. Give the baby her bottle and she needs to run (or be carried) to the bathroom right away! Just put her on her included potty and she’ll wet. This is a great way to get kids interested in potty training, and to encourage them to go themselves (“Hey, Cozy Cutie’s doing it, wouldn’t you like to give it a try too?” Or, “Who can get to the toilet quicker—you or Cozy?” Whatever works, right?) In addition, kids love all things bathroom related, as we all know quite well, so you might get a few moments of peace and quiet as your child gives the bottle and gets baby to the potty over and over (and over and over) again. The Drink ‘n Wet doll retails for around $20 from http://international-playthings.shptron.com and comes with a removable two-piece outfit, headband, bottle, and potty seat. Drink up!

Beyond the Game of Kings

Chess has been around for hundreds of years, and it’s always been associated with intelligence, strategy, and memory. But over the past decade—partly due to the increase in video and smartphone games—the Game of Kings, has lost some of its allure and its audience. This week we take a look at two great chess-like games that are fun, engaging, and at least as intellectually stimulating and challenging as chess.

arimaa gameFrom a distance, Armiaa looks like chess: There are two sides, each with 16 pieces, and it’s played on an 8×8 board. But the similarity ends there. The most powerful piece is the elephant and the weakest are the rabbits. All the pieces move the same way: one space left, right, or forward. And all but the rabbits can move one space backwards.

arimaa2The company’s tag line is “Intuitively simple… intellectually challenging” and they’re right. Unlike chess, where there’s only one way to set up the board, in Armaa, players set up their pieces any way they’d like (as long as they’re all in two “home rows”). The game’s inventor estimates that there are as many as 64 million ways to start the game, as opposed to only 20 in chess. And unlike chess, where weaker pieces protect the stronger ones, here, the strong protect the weak and the goal is to get one of your rabbits all the way across the board. Each turn, players can move up to four spaces—all by one piece or divided among several. You can use your turn to advance or protect your own pieces or to push or pull your opponent’s to less favorable spaces—or to one of the four trap spaces that remove pieces from the board. Sounds a little complicated, but the rules are easy enough for kids as young as five or six to learn.

Once the game is underway, there are an average of 17,000 possible moves at any given time (vs. about 30 in chess), Armiaa stimulates logical and strategic thinking, improves focus and problem-solving skills, stimulates creativity, and may even help with math. But more than that, it’s a delightful way for a parent and child to spend time together. $30.00 http://arimaa.com

Commander-in-Chief (X-Plus Products)
commander-in-chief 1While the goal of this game is similar to chess—capture your opponent’s leader—Commander-in-Chief turns the traditional 8×8 chess board on its head. Well, actually, on its side: the game is played with the board in a diamond shape. The 15 spaces in the corner facing each player are brown and represent land, and there’s a wide blue ocean between the two warring forces. The board is set up in a specific way and the 15 solid, nicely crafted pieces—which include tanks, submarines, helicopters, destroyers, fighter jets, bombers, and amphibian assault vehicles—can move through the air, on land, by sea, or in some cases, a combination.

commander-in-chief2Each piece has unique directional movements and restrictions, and keeping track of them can be tough. But every time you play (and you’re going to want to play this game over and over), you’ll get closer to mastering them—just like in chess. Until then, the game comes with two one-page reference guides—one for each side.

Commander-in-Chief isn’t quite as involved as chess, but it definitely requires logic, strategic thinking, planning, and logic. A great game for beginners and experts alike, it takes only about 30 minutes to play. And one especially nice feature that separates it from other similar games is that it can be played by 2 or 4 players. $34.00. http://www.commander-in-chief.com/the-game.html