The first thing players will notice about Moose Caboose is the eye-catching art of the fun circus-train theme. Each card comes rollicking with everyone’s favorite animals, whether a seal playing with a beach ball, a joey and his momma kangaroo, a cunning tiger, a proud lion, or a whole flock of funny flamingos. The animals are drawn in a friendly, cartoony manner that fills each with personality and spirit that make the deck fun just to look through.
In addition to the excellent art, the gameplay in Moose Caboose is very engaging. Four alligator-driven “Engine” cards are laid out to begin the trains, each with a different-colored edge. Players have hands of four cards and take turns adding cars to the trains by matching colors, drawing more cards to replace what they have played. A player may place a “Caboose” card (featuring the titular moose) to end the train and pick up all of the car cards, leaving the Engine to start the train again fresh. The player who captures the most train cards at the end of the game is the winner.
While most card games generally become more chaotic and less strategic with more players, Moose Caboose stands out as different. When only two players play, the possibilities of colors to match the given cards on the table are more limited, meaning the game may end with neither player being able to place a card even with cards left in the draw deck. For these games, a good strategy is to try to scoop up trains as quickly as possible. Otherwise, a player might still have a moose in hand, trying to get lots of points but ending up waiting too long.
In games with more players, trains will be longer as more matching cards are available. This will make players work to be more strategic, allowing trains to build up so they can grab lots of points with one caboose card. However, if another player has a moose, he or she may play it quickly, and grab those points.
Moose Caboose is a card game for two to four players aged six and up. Younger kids may also enjoy the color-matching and characters, making it great as a one-on-one toy. The real fun of planning tactics and recognizing patterns, however, comes out as older kids and parents pit their skills against one another to capture the biggest, brightest trains.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B013INMJWC]