The BBC series is far better than the excellent NBC one. Now go watch it.
This is not me but I have been known to dance like David Brent on occasion.
Ages: 4-99 Players: 2-7 Time: 20 minutes
The box is sturdy with a colorful mural cardboard insert. The game consists of a specialized die, 8 large tiles, seven wonderful wooden pig meeples (all in different colors) and seven corresponding colored wooden tokens. The tokens are about the size of a quarter hence the 4 and up age recommendation. *Little kids will eat stuff*. The pigs and tiles are large which make them easily manipulated by small hands. Nothing makes me cringe more than a child trying to fingernail a Carcassonne tile off a table.
Speaking of which the eight tiles are configured much like the river add-on in Carcassonne. The game board will always be different. I believe the instructions said there were milliions of possibly configurations.
Once you have the board set up you line the pigs up at the start of the first tile, the person with the next Birthday coming up starts. Play then continues clockwise. The six-sided die is numbered 1-4 in yellow and then 1 and 3 in black. If you roll a yellow number you simply move your pig and the next person goes. If you roll a black 1 you move 1 space and roll again. If you roll the black 3 and you are in last place you move 3 and roll again. The real fun comes when you land on another pig. You don't just stand next to him on the square, you actually (and you probably knew this already) get to piggyback onto him! The pig meeples are cut so they fit perfectly on top of one another. You can actually stack them in all sorts of crazy ways but for the sake of completing the game in 20 minutes you should probably stick with the standard stack. Younger kids could have a ball playing with the wooden pigs and stacking them in circus formations. As long as you don't let them have the smallish tokens they should be fine.
The tokens are actually used as place setters. When one pig gets close to winning another players can take the first tile and move it to the end of the last tile thus giving them some time to catch up or at least hop on top of the leader and let them carry them off to victory together. Others continue to take the tiles from the back and put them in front of the leader until everyone that wants to do this has done it once. When you move the tile you place your color token on the board so people don't add 2 or more tiles to keep this fun game going all night.
I played with 4 kids; 7 and 14 year old boys and 10 and 11 year old girls. The owner of the game was the 7 year old and they all had a blast playing it. My dice boot went over really well also. It kept the die from flying all over the room and knocking into the tiles and they also had fun watching it roll down the boot.
I recommend this game. The piggyback them is hysterical. The game reminded me of a cross between Candyland and Carcassonne and as much as kids love Candyland wouldn't we all love to see them play more Carcassonne?