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I ordered A World of Adventure after seeing it on a recent Geeklist (Haba Haba Haba). Up until then, I hadn't heard anything about it. But one look and I thought my six year-old (boy) would really enjoy it, and my four year-old (boy) would play it often enough to justify the hefty expense.
I ordered from an online source, since my FLGS doesn't carry Haba games. When the package arrived, it was quite big and I was a little surprised, since I had only ordered two games. Well, it turns out that A World of Adventure is not your average ordinary Haba title. It's huge. The box measures approximately 16 inches square by 4 inches deep. That's about 4.5 inches taller and wider (and one inch deeper) than a big box game from Days of Wonder, by comparison.
The components are every bit as impressive. The figures included with the game are huge (check out the picture with them standing next to the meeple to get an idea) and have that typically great Haba craftsmanship that I have come to really appreciate. These are games that - barring a major catastrophe - will get passed down to my grandchildren, I'm sure.
And check out the dice shaker for the jungle portion of the board. It would have been soooo easy for Haba to just throw in two unique dice and call it good. But it's nice touches like this that make me appreciate these games a little more than most kids' games offerings.
Of course, there are a couple of downsides to the big box and hefty components of this game. The first is that its pretty unweildy for a kid to carry. My six year-old could lift it, but it was a bit of a workout. I don't think I want my four year-old carrying it - I'm afraid the dog will get hurt. But that underscores the fact that this isn't a game that the kids will be able to pull out and play all on their own. They will need some adult supervision, at least to get them going.
The game also requires a very large play area. There are four boards, each about 15 inches square. That's a lot of real estate if you try to play the big, combined game and have all four boards laid out in front of you. And storage can be another issue.
There are four games to go with the four boards. They can be played individually, or together as one big globe-hopping game.
The first game is called Journey Through the Jungle. It takes place on the jungle board with the monkeys. Each player selects a pawn and tries to make their way from one side of the jungle to the other. This is done by correctly guessing the colors of the two monkey dice and reacting quickly when doubles are rolled.
Each player gets three monkey cards - red, green and yellow - that match the colors of the monkeys on the dice. There are also three wooden monkeys - also red, green and yellow. Each round, players place two of their three monkey cards in front of them. That will be their guess as to what is rolled. Then, one player gives the dice shaker a good rattle. If your cards match one of the monkeys rolled on the dice, you move forward one space. If your cards match both of the monkeys on the dice, you move forward three spaces. But if both dice show the same monkey - ie you roll doubles - then the first player to grab the large wooden monkey piece of that color moves forward two spaces. The others get nothing. Play continues until someone makes it all the way through the jungle.
Like many Haba games, this one has a large element of luck. There is no strategy or logic as to which color of monkey that you leave out of your guess. The skill comes in having quick reactions to grab the right wooden monkey piece when doubles are rolled.
The second game is called Expedition to the Antarctic and takes place on the board with the ice floes. This game reminded me a lot of Chicken Cha Cha Cha. Each player takes a pawn and puts it in one igloo. A wooden penguin marker serves as a placeholder throughout the game. The goal is to reach the igloo on the other side of the board.
Several round tiles are placed face down on the board. Each of these tiles has a picture (polar bear, eskimo, snowman, seal, etc) that corresponds to the pictures on the blocks of ice. On your turn, you must match picture on the next empty ice block by flipping over the corresponding tile. If you are unsuccessful, your turn is over. If you are successful, you move the penguin to that spot. Now, you can choose to continue onward and try to match the next empty space in front of the penguin, or you can stop and move your pawn to the penguin's space and pass your turn to the next player. The trick is knowing when to stop. If you have a good memory, you can move quite a few spaces at once on your turn.
Both my six year-old and I enjoyed this game. I'm not very good at memory games, so it was a fair fight. Although, after a few rounds, it suddenly becomes very easy to remember where each tile is. But that's really not a big deal - with older kids, you can simply institute some sort of switching routine at the end of each turn to make it a little harder.
The third game is called High Above the Ravine. This takes place on the board that looks like a top view of the Grand Canyon. A large bridge is assembled and placed across the river, with a "bridge gaurdian" (the tall guy with the walking stick) placed at one end. Players must make their way from one side of the board to the other, with the chief task to get across the bridge.
The planks on the bridge have two sides to them. One is a rickety old side that is unsafe for our adventurers to walk on. (The bridge guardian has no trouble standing on these, however.) The other side is a nice, new sturdy wooden plank. At the start of the game, all planks are turned to the rickety side.
On their turn, players roll a special die. It has 1-4 and two special faces - a green 1 and a green 3. (The green numbers are encircled, to help tell them apart.) If a player rolls a 1-4, he advances that many spaces forward. However, if doing so would make him land on a rickety plank, he does not move. Instead, he spends his turn replacing that plank with a nice sturdy one (ie flips it over). Play goes over to the other player.
Trouble is, the bridge guardian doesn't like anyone on his bridge. When the green 1 or 3 is rolled, the bridge guardian advances. If he lands on the same space as you, he pushes you off the bridge - forcing you to essentially start over. The first one to get past the bridge guardian and make it safely to the other side wins.
That's all there is to it. This game is based completely on the luck of the die.
The final game (and the one my six year-old was most excited about) is called Across the Volcanoes. This board features a cool metal volcano in the middle, with a large round opening. It also has a catapult. Essentially, this is a game of quarters, without the beer!
Players are trying to move from one side of the board to the other. They do that by launching wooden water droplets off the catapult and into (or toward) the volcano. A shot into the volcano ring moves the adventurer ahead four spaces. Hit the dark gray area (raised up a bit) around the volcano's base, and you get to move ahead two spaces. Hit anywhere else on the board, and you move one. Miss completely and you're stuck where you're at.
Fortunately, the game comes with two water droplets, in case you lose one. That could be easy to do, as it doesn't take much to make the catapult really send those things flying way up in the air.
This is a fun little dexterity game and seemed to have about the right difficulty for my six year-old. It was challenging, but not so much so that he gave up. In fact, after the game was over, he continued to flick water droplets at the volcano, trying to land that elusive ringer.
So there you have it, some quick reaction, some memory, some dice rolling and some dexterity. All rolled up into one really big box.
There are rules to play all four games together. But frankly, it doesn't work quite so well in practice - especially with two people. The reason is that one player will advance to the next board before the other. So, what fun is grabbing the wooden monkeys when doubles are rolled and you're the only one on that board? How hard is it to find a match on your turn on the ice floes if you essentially have unlimited turns? I think a better way to handle it would be to award first/second/third place points for each game and total up the scores at the end. I think that's what we'll do next time, with the volcano scoring double, since it's the coolest game.
All in all, it's a big gaming experience for the little guys. Not quite as engaging for dad as say Piratten Pitt or as thrilling for the kids as say Mouse Rally - but it's another very good offering from Haba and one that I'm sure my kids will enjoy many, many more times.
Wow, thanks for this review! It's very comprehensive and really makes me want to pick up this game!
We played another session a few days after my original post. It was me, Jared (age 6) and Alex (age 4).
We used the modified scoring that I described in the post above, awarding 300 for first place, 200 for second and 100 for third on each board. The last board - the volcano - was for double points.
We started off in the jungle. I placed the board such that the wooden monkeys were right in front of Jared and Alex and across the table from me. That gave the boys a slight advantage. Jared was lightning quick on grabbing the wooden monkey when doubles were rolled. Alex wasn't. Fortunately, he guessed correctly with his cards and got a few turns where he could advance three on the track.
Jared won. Alex and I were tied with only one space to go. Alex matched both of his monkey cards for second place.
Next up was the Arctic Ice/memory game. We had a hard time finding the eskimo! Once we got going, Jared did real well finding matches quickly. But he tried to do several without stopping and forgot the location of a tile. That allowed me to pass him. Meanwhile, Alex was getting a few matches here and there. We allowed Alex to ignore the penguin rules. That allowed him to move up each time he made a match and essentially have a free miss to end his turn.
Jared and I were neck and neck for a while, but I passed him with a long run at the end for first place. Alex made a very nice run (with some help from Jared) and actually passed Jared briefly. But Jared finished with a long run of his own for second place.
Next up was the Ravine and the mean Bridge Guardian. We all got thrown off the bridge several times. But Alex managed to roll perfectly, pass the Bridge Guardian and land on the solid wood planks. He easily took first place. Jared and I were running neck and neck once again, but Jared got the better rolls toward the end for second.
Last up was the volcano. We gave Alex a few practice rounds. I decided that he would score 2 for landing on the board (instead of 1) and 1 for missing. His first couple of attempts were pretty wild, but then he settled down and started hitting the lava area to move 3 spaces. Meanwhile, Jared was hit or miss. He sunk two in the middle of the volcano. But he sandwiched those with two complete misses. I was getting a mix of 1 and 3s. At the end, we were all 2-3 spaces away and it was litterally anybody's game.
Alex scored a 3-shot to win, followed by me.
Jared took the consolation prize of hitting two volcano ringers in a row, of which he was quite proud and bragged about to his grandmother later. I don't think she had any clue what he was talking about, but she seemed impressed nonetheless!