Despite not having any children (at time of writing) I have loved playing some of the children’s games brought out by, among other companies, Haba (the front-runner and the specialist in the industry – Rhino Hero Super Battle anyone?).
Like the Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel (best game for connoisseurs) there is a Kinderspiel (Children’s category) for game of the year. Whilst many games are listed as ages 8+ (such as Catan, however I know six-year-olds that play) I consider this age banding fairly wide, generic and open for all.
The kid’s versions of games, such as Junior Catan is definitely more for the young. I can’t recall trying either a Pegasus Spiele nor Reiner Knezia kid’s game so I thought I would try my luck and ordered Mmm!
Mmm! - The Game
Luck needs to be on your side as you are a mouse who is looking to get food from the house before the prowling cat catches you. It’s a press your luck, dice rolling, co-op game for one to six players.
You have a double-sided grid-like board (with food symbols arranged in lines, so bread, cheese, cucumbers, fish and other tasty items appear…at different lengths) – and there is an easy and hard side. The game involves you collaboratively rolling dice (with food symbols) and assigning them to squares on the board. The aim to be able to play a dice on to a square so that it helps the mouse to eat. The mouse must eat once in a round. In the games we played, we were always a three. If the mouse cannot eat, the cat moves one space closer (from 10).
Some food may only be three squares in length, however, you must assign all your dice to the same row or column. Do you complete something small now, or hope someone else aids you for something bigger (which may be harder later on in the game)?
We tried and completed it on easy (not having the cat move once) and tried it on hard and we completed it with the cat moving forward four spaces. There is an even harder variant which I’ll let you discover, and we completed that as well.
Final Thoughts on Mmm!
So, is Mmm! worth it if we found it the game to be that easy? One of the players was a father to a four-year-old girl. By the end of the first round he had ordered two copies. (This was pre-Christmas) He’s since said he’s daughter has loved it. As a game whereby you have to balance risk, luck and strategic placement, it’s a great intro before they move onto Terraforming Mars!
As a co-op it is naturally high in entertainment (for everyone to feel involved), the dice are nice, nothing special but not just something cheap and plastic (these are bigger – thankfully for kids). Players interact suggesting optimum placing of dice and families will enjoy seeing what everyone’s thought’s are when all you roll are e.g. fish!
When we completed the game we didn’t need to play it again, but, at least for one daughter, the entertainment has continued (as well as for the family) so it has some legs in terms of replay-ability. Mmm! is easy to set-up and teach and to involve new players for new games).