Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Board games or Bored games.

As the nights draw in, my electricity bill goes up, Victoria Wood starts threatening another Christmas special and for some reason my thoughts begin to linger on long family walks followed by cosy afternoon teas - Monopoly board out, a pot of Earl Grey, cucumber sandwiches, a bit of battenbug and a little friendly family banter...

Yuh-huh. Back on Planet Castle I'm sweating away in the kitchen, cooking the Sunday roast and Simon's slumped on the sofa drinking Stella Artois and watching Bond films. Arabella is painting; using every piece of craft equipment she owns - on the dining table that I will shortly need - and my 1 year old son is trying to find a plug socket to stick his wet finger in. Happy days.

Not every Sunday is like this. I did manage to get Simon to go for a walk once. I promised there was a pub at the end. He sulked the entire way and then insisted on getting a taxi back.

It wasn't, therefore, with enormous optimism that I accepted a brand new 'Boggle Flash' game to review recently. Sure, I'd probably enjoy playing it but then I'm easily pleased. You can sit me down with a bag of marbles and as long as there's a competitive element, I'll be - er, in my element. (Note to self. Arabella is five. Beating her at Scrabble is not an achievement.)

Back to Boggle. You will probably remember the original of this. Back in the day, when the only computer game was Donkey Kong, children didn't rule the roost and Simon Cowell had yet to sell his soul to the devil, you might have had one. It had a big perspex dome that you pressed and as it popped up, it agitated all the little lettered dice in it. You then turned over your egg timer and had 30 seconds to make as many words as you could out of the letters you had been given.

Clearly the bods at Boggle have cottoned onto the fact that today’s children will sneer at anything that doesn’t beep, bong, move on its own, or interact with their friends in another room. Bits of paper and an egg timer just ain’t gonna cut it with today’s tech-dependant youth. And so the Boggle Flash was born… and by golly, it’s clever.

You get 5 separate little digital cubes. Each can read the other, and so you arrange the cubes to make the words out of the letters they give you. It will both time you and beep when you make a correct word. There are three games – you can either play alone or with others.

I was most impressed with the quality of the box they come in. It fits easily in a handbag and would be great for going on holiday. Fun for a dinner party too, I think.

The gadget aspect of it entertained my husband. Arabella enjoyed using her alphabet to make words, and I – well I was just happy everyone was sitting down together. Toddler Alex, resolutely suicidal, kept us on our toes by trying to get the coals off the fire. The cat, who is mildly psychopathic, watched in the hope that he would manage. All in all, a pleasant afternoon.

I did think it rather unfair that Simon, by now enjoying himself, managed to score the best word of the day with ‘WALKS’.

The mind boggles.

The Boggle Flash is available from all good toy retailers, starting from around £14.99.


  1. I was looking at that game the other day thinking... perfect! Sounds a blast.
    By the way, love the post. Laugh out loud funny family moments. You describe what could be a night at home for me... oh tales of woe.
    Thanks for the giggle.

  2. It's definately worth the money. I'm not sure how often I'll manage to bribe my family into sitting down and playing it, but it's good quality and would make a great prezzie.

    Thanks for the kind words on the blog - your profile is private so I am afraid I couldn't visit yours.