Today I’ve got a trio of HABA games to go over: Mix and Match Robbers, Tambuzi, and Space Planets. My thoughts on the three vary a good amount, but overall my kids really enjoyed all three. Myself? We’ll get to that.
First off if Mix and Match Robbers, a game of speed matching. Each round a new head, torso, and set of legs are flipped over from 3 separate decks. These three cards will show you the robber that needs to be caught. The players then search all the face up characters and try to find the one that matches the revealed robber. The player who finds it first get that card as part of their victory pool. The game ends when there’s no more combination cards left, or no more matching character cards in the pool. The player with the most robbers wins the game.
It’s light, fun, and I was even able to play this one with my 2-year-old son (though he’s a bit slower than the older kids). It’s fast, and only costs $7.49. Will it have much staying power in my household? I’m guessing the kids may take it out now and then over the summer, but will probably tire of it quickly. It’s a great game for me to take out and play alone with my youngest, so I can see it getting more play that way. I’d recommend this up to age 6, max.
Next up is Tambuzi, a larger game with an electronic component that plays sounds, dictates how players move, and signals a round’s end. We we really excited to play this one, but it kinda fell flat for me. Each player has two tokens that they’ll move around the board while trying to get the animals to shelter, or at least not outside the board when lightning strikes. The electronic component has a button that players press to dictate their movement, or allow them to enter a hut if they’re next to one. After a while it’ll also emit a crack of thunder. Whichever player is off the board (the player currently moving) will have that piece removed from the game. Play continues until only 3 animals are left on the board, and then points are added up.
The trick here is that you need to play really fast. When you hit the button you get a movement number between one and three. You can also get a hut. When you move, you move outside the board in a clockwise motion. If you land next to a space with an animal on a door mat you swap with that animal and that player then hits the button. If the other animal is already in a hut, you hit the button and move again. If you happen to be next to a hut and get the hut icon, you move inside, swapping with the animal already in there if there is one. If you’re on a blank space, you go again. The goal is to do as much as you can, as fast as you can, so another player gets caught outside when lightning strikes.
You keep playing, with the highest scoring player getting a water token, until all the water tokens are gone. The player with the most tokens at the end winds. To tell you the truth, the game feels way too long playing that way, so my kids and I basically just played until the end of one round, and the person with the highest score won. My 6-year-old son and 10-year-old son enjoy the game to a point, but usually stop after a couple of times. I really didn’t like this one, as it’s purely luck, with nothing really happening except hitting the button as fast as you can. Basically musical chairs with a savanna theme. At $35.99, personally I’d skip it. It’s probably the first HABA game I’ve ever suggested to skip.
Last, but most certainly not least, is Space Planets. This one really hit all the right buttons for me, my 6-year-old son, 9-year-old daughter, and 10-year-old son. It’s a dexterity game where you’re trying to roll a die onto a card in a 3×3 grid. If you’ve got enough fuel you can snag the card, and maybe even get a bonus if there’s one listed on the card. Can’t buy it? That’s OK, you can use the roll to refuel.
Each card is worth a certain amount of points, and like I said earlier, some let you take special actions. Once one player has taken five tiles each player takes one more turn and the game is over. The player with the highest points wins. Plants are worth what they say, and any extra fuel you have left over can be converted to 2-1 for points, too. It’s really quick to set up, simple to learn, and a whole lot of fun.
Space Planets may be one of my new favorite HABA games, and I can see this one coming out for play time and time again in our house. At $11.99, this one is a no-brainer to purchase if you’ve got kids in the house. If you were to get only one of the three games I’ve covered here, this would be the one to get.
Anyway, there you have it. I always love getting the chance to play HABA games because you generally can’t go wrong. While Tambuzi wasn’t my cup of tea, my kids did enjoy it. Mix and Match Robbers provides a good amount of play for the price, and Space Planets is a gem.
Copies of Mix and Match Robbers, Tambuzi, and Space Planets were provided free for review by HABA.