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Subject: Sub 2000 reviews: the mysterious Forest - games are for kids! rss

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Contrary to what I've been told online and occasionally by my wife, I am an adult human.

Children's games then are not for me. They are made for tiny fleshy sausages that will one day become real people. However we have been buying board games for my niece these last few years which means that I've done entirely too much research into the best board games not only for her, but for her father. It's why we bought a copy of Ticket to Ride: First Journeys and had it smuggled north of the border by friends who travel to the US regularly. It's why we also bought a copy for ourselves and had entirely too much fun playing 6 minute speed rounds with our adult friends. For “research”. It is in the name of that research that my wife and I played The Mysterious Forest designed by Carlo A. Rossi.

A fledgling game collection consisting of Ticket to Ride, The Enchanted Tower and Skip-Bo. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my niece absolutely loving gaming with her father, my brother. Knowing the joy that they get means that I want so badly to nail every other game I find for them. This means that my wife and I play as many childrens games as we can at our local café. The Mysterious Forest was one that caught my eye immediately. We sat down, read the rules, soldiered forth.

We won, but not nearly as easily as I would like to admit.

Published by Iello it should go without saying that the art and production is predictably well done. For being a $25 box with nothing more some cards, tokens, 4 dice, a tiny plastic child and a backpack, The Mysterious Forest is a nice package. At it's core it's a memory game as so many kids games are. You take the cards randomly selected to be your adventure and lay them down face down on the table. One by one you may turn a card over, memorize the tokens needed to get past it, and then turn it face down hiding that information until you encounter it again during the game.

That sounds like it is a simple process but I immediately found myself unable to remember icons that I looked at not 20 seconds ago.

If you'll excuse a short aside, I have a complicated relationship with my memory. I seem to have no problems remembering rules, facts, pop culture references and several variety of building code essential to my trade. Not so easy for me is the short term memory and dates. So when I tell you that my inability to remember things is often a point of contention with me I want to put that into context.

I sat at this table infuriated by how quickly simple information left my skull. If I can't remember this sequence how the hell will my young niece do so!

Ignoring that, we proceeded.

Once you've flipped all the cards face down and forgotten literally every single symbol you saw, you pick up the 4 dice and roll them. You must choose 2 of the symbols rolled to put into your backpack, desperately trying to think ”Did we need 4 cloaks or 3?” or “I don't think I saw any dragon claws...but lets take one just in case.” You continue doing this until your backpack is full to the brim.

Now we get to the part of the game where the game won me back slightly. We flipped the cards, discarding tokens to pass each trial, and were more or less correct. Despite the fact that my memory is bad enough that i couldn't remember any of these icons, we managed to have enough bits and pieces floating around our brains to get close. I'd like to say I contributed but my wife did most of the driving on this trip. Her short-term memory being generally superior to mine. Our boss battle was our last few tokens in our bag, cutting it close to the wire.

I was happier than I should've been at this moment in time.

Great! We're adults who just beat this kids game, but it is beatable and my brother and niece would probably enjoy this. It's on the short list. I wonder if they have any variants in the back?

We played on the lowest difficulty. Of 6 difficulties.

If you know a child in the 6+ range who you think should have a new game for Christmas this year then there are certainly worse options than The Mysterious Forest. It's affordable, small, pretty and genuinely fun. Even for this big idiot and his wife drinking ciders at a café. I'm not sure it will work for my little munchkin as she prefers competitive games which this is most certainly not. Perhaps we'll try and get her to widen her horizons and improve her memory so she doesn't end up like her uncle.

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