"Team-up to beat the ogre!"
Most board games are competitive, pitting players against one another to maximize the thrill and effectiveness of a worthy opponent. But there is also a great deal of fun to be found in cooperative board games in which players team up, pooling their resources to achieve a goal. These can serve as great teaching moments for kids, showing that there are times when we can all win together or unify against an opponent. Race to the Treasure! from Peaceable Kingdom gives a spirit of unity alongside exciting gameplay.
The environmentally responsible game, constructed of paper from managed forests, ink from soy, and plastic from corn, finds players “racing” against an ogre to reach the bag of treasure at the corner of the board. The ogre has a shorter path, and the players must first collect three Keys, seemingly giving the ogre an advantage, but teamwork can give players the victory.
Each game is different as the Keys and an “Ogre Snack” (a special token that removes an ogre tile) are placed on the numbered grid by rolling two dice. Players then take turns drawing from the tile bag to reveal a path card or an ogre card. The path cards gradually build a connection to the treasure. The ogre cards show his own progress toward the treasure. First party there is the winner! The randomizing mechanic of drawing gives a balanced sense of play as well as building tension. Statistically, the ogre and the players will approach the treasure at about the same time, making for higher and higher stakes with each draw from the pile.
Strategy is very important, as the players take turns. The players must collect three of the four Keys, which will make their path wiggly around the board. The Ogre Snack is optional, and players must decide whether to pursue it and slow the ogre down or to make a break for the treasure and hope for the best. Because players take turns, it is ultimately the decision of each player where he or she will place the tile, but there is plenty of room for discussion with other players as the goal is cooperative. It can also be a teaching moment for players who might be a little bossy in knowing the “proper” move. Since no one can tell what the next tile will be, there is no one right answer.
Race to the Treasure! is a cooperative game for two to four players aged five and up. It is a reasonably long game at about 20 minutes, not too long to begin again in case the ogre wins and the players feel like taking up the challenge until they are victorious. With the cooperative mechanic, solitaire play is quite fun, though not as fun as sharing the goal with a group and feeding off one another’s excitement.
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