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One of the many joys of being an Uncle rather than a Parent is that I get to hand back my Nephew at the end of the day, without having to deal with the tantrums and crisis’s that inevitably go hand in hand with a four year old boy. Of course while he is in my control I have to make sure I fulfil my role as doting Uncle by entertaining, educating and amazing in equal measure, and while I try my hardest to rely on my wits for this purpose I do occasionally need outside help. Being a Chef I wanted to find a game or toy in a similar vein, to show my Nephew what it was I did for a living, and to interest him and maybe even get him to follow in his Uncles footsteps! After a little searching I found a game called Crazy Chefs made by Orchard Toys, since they were a company I’d heard good things of and because the game was described as a memory game, blending enjoyment and education, I purchased it without delay.
What’s in the box?
Firstly you get five brightly coloured place mat style boards with a happy chef holding a dish. There are seven squares around the edge of the board with little pictures of ingredients, as well as the completed meal on the dish the chef has in his hands. Next you get thirty-five small square pieces each with a colour picture of an ingredient or utensil, be it peppers, flour or a frying pan. There are also five small plate shaped cardboard pieces and the same amount of the completed dish. Finally, you get a circular spinner with six equally sized sections, two featuring a picture of a plate, and the other four showing pictures of children with forks akimbo, ready to eat.
How to play
The box and instructions state that two to four people can play, but as there are five boards I see absolutely no reason why that number cannot play. The object of the game is to become the first player to collect all of the ingredients and utensils on your board. Players choose a board to play with; there are five to choose from each with the ingredients and utensils needed to prepare your dish. The dishes are Shepherd’s Pie, Kebabs, Fairy Cakes, Pizza and Shrimp with Noodles. Next, all of the small ingredient and utensils squares are placed face down on the table, players take it in turn to pick up a square and try to match it with one they need for their board. If the square does not match it is placed face down on the table again and play moves to the next person. If the picked up square does match one of the ingredients or utensils needed you place it on your board. Once all seven ingredients and utensils are successfully picked up and the board is full the spinner comes into play. When it’s the turn of the person who has a full board they spin with the hope of landing on the plate icon, if this happens an empty plate is placed on the board, if it doesn’t happen play simply moves on and another spin is taken when it becomes the persons turn again. Once the plate has been won another spin is needed where the icon required is of a child sat at the table, once this is successfully spun to the dish is completed and that player wins.
Once a child gets a favourite game then it’s inevitable that that game gets played to destruction time and time again. This is the case with my Nephew and Crazy Chefs, and while lesser games might have me climbing the walls rather than yet another outing, Crazy Chefs is interesting and engaging enough that it doesn’t get boring. It’s a great test of memory, trying to remember where that ingredient square you need is harder than you’d think, yet my four year old opponent manages it well. The colours and pictures on the boards and squares are all bold and colourful, and the emphasis on fun learning is such that memory and observation skills are tested without realising it. It is also a good opportunity to point out what each of the ingredients is and further educate in that way. Four stars out of five from me, at only three to four pounds this is a well thought out and interesting game with plenty of replay appeal and learning potential. Now if I can only work out a way of winning once in a while I’ll be sorted, my family think I let my Nephew win, if only I was that good!