Homeschooling,  Lifestyle

Review: Clumsy Thief Junior

I love words. Numbers not so much.

I remember struggling mightily with long division and fractions in 6th grade… and then barely squeaking by in high school algebra. You know why? Because I never memorized all the addition and multiplication facts. For me, “mental math” involved trying to calculate in my head, not just automatically knowing that 6 x 7 = 42. (Even now, I found myself mentally doing the calculation to make sure that was right.)

Obligatory disclosure: I received this game from Timberdoodle for my review. As always, opinions are my own.

Clumsy Thief Junior

Clumsy Thief Junior is an extremely fun way to imprint the sums adding up to 10 without kids even realizing they are practicing math skills. It’s a country-themed card game for 2-4 players. It is recommended for ages 5 and up.

What’s Included

The artwork on the box and cards is adorable. The star of the show Clumsy Thief is a mischievous raccoon who wants to steal the farm produce. The box is designed to look like a wooden produce crate. It’s a sturdy box with a lift-off lid that will hold up to lots of play, unlike the flimsy little boxes card games often come where you have try to cram the cards back into and just hope you don’t tear the box.

How to Play

First, all players are dealt 7 cards each. The remaining cards form a draw pile in the middle of the table.

Next, everyone checks to see if they have any pairs that add up to 10. (A helpful hint and visual cue, especially for younger children, is that the produce matches on pairs: plums, pears, peaches, cabbage, and corn. That can be a little tricky for the younger ones because the numbers do have to add up to 10. For example, two sevens do both have peaches but that wouldn’t be a pair because it doesn’t total 10.) Any pairs are laid out on the table faceup in front of each player.

Once everyone has laid out their pairs the dealer says, “Go!” Now we check the cards in our hands against the visible (top) cards on the table. If I have a 7 and I see a 3 on the table I can slam place my 7 on that stack and snatch take it for my collection of stacks. Play is fast and furious at this point.

There are 4 thief (raccoon) cards and 2 trap (bushel basket) cards mixed into the deck. A thief card can take any stack, where a trap card can take a stack that was taken by a thief.

Once everyone has taken all that they can, we replenish our hands by taking cards from the draw pile until our hands are back up to 5 cards. Then play resumes again. This is repeated until all cards are drawn and all possible cards are played. The winner is the player with the most food cards.

My Thoughts

Just the artwork on this game makes me smile. I love that it incorporates a key bit of learning in a fast-paced game that doesn’t feel educational. This is one of those games that adults won’t mind playing with the kids.

It’s a compact little game that makes it perfect to take along camping or on a family vacation. (You do need a table to play, so it wouldn’t work very well to play it in the car.)

If you’re looking for some fun family gifts, check out Clumsy Thief Junior and other “crazy smart” games at Timberdoodle.

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