Kiddie's Korner

The Jungle of Peril is an adventure book by Patrick Burston published by Walker Books (and yes the little bear on the logo does bear a resemblance to another more famous Walker whom we both venerate). The idea is really no more than an illustrated paragraph book. Rather than reading some of Joe Dever's deathless prose you turn to a page and see a very nice illo of what you face. Furthermore, instead of merely throwing a dice and zapping (or being zapped), you usually escape a nasty fast by finding a way through a maze, or finding something in the picture to help you. All good skill tests for young children. These usually lead to a choice of where you exit the page. You do not get killed in the game but you do get sent back to the beginning. Excellent illos and a tough scenario make this very good value at £3.99. There is a second book called the Planet of Terror.

Squelsh comes from the much abused Games Workshop and came out sometime ago (indeed the aforesaid Walker gave me the copy because it was clearly no good, and so much for his opinions). The game is a card placement exercise. Each of you starts with a Squiggly Hole and from this comes a stream of Squigglies. The latter are odd beasties well illustrated on large solid cards with a number of edges in red or blue. You must match these edges to your last placed Squiggly or you cannot place your card. Every so often Gobbos are drawn and may be placed on the same basis. Trolls also pop out of the pack and stamp on the Squigglies (you must turn them over and say 'Squelsh' as each Squiggly buys a ticket) but only as far back as the next Gobbo who halts the troll. If the Terrible Troll appears you try to pick up the Big Bad Gobbo cards and yes there are never enough, the Gobbo-less player losing his line of Squigglies and Gobbos. Winner is the one with most Squigglies. The squelshing is popular with children as is the clear characterisation of the cards. The colour matching also teaches a rather higher order of problem solving than Air Superiority. The game is very attractive with good components and not even in German. Very popular with my little hooligans.

Hog Holler involves four little piggies who are trying to get to the feeding pen first. Movement occurs by the players shouting down plastic tubes, with the noise causing the pig-tracks to vibrate, thus moving the pigs forward. Theoretically, the harder you shout the faster the piggies go. This is a very noisy game. Oddly enough your shouting affects other player's pigs so be careful. I find a series of bursts of noise are best to tip the pig over the brink. Waggish types can reverse the piggie model bases so the pig goes backwards (arf arf). The noise is so bad that throats usually give out before ears. Not quite as popular as Hungry Hippos, but not bad.

Is Subbuteo Angling another one of your droleries? Have you seen Magnetic Fish Pond from the Early Learning Centre? You get a big cardboard box with pictures of a section of river surface to bottom populated by fresh water fish. Inside the box (which means out of sight of the anglers) are deposited a number of fish (Bream, Char and Roach) together with sticklebacks, water weed, an old boot, a proprietary cola can and a piece of wood. Armed with magnets on the end of fishing rods one sees what one can catch. Each item having a small metal rivet punched into them, the magnets are usually strong enough to lift what you catch but occasionally it slips off and you get no points. You take it in turns to drop your line (if you will pardon the expression). Great fun with kids especially if you catch the rubbish pieces. Good production standards. Kids can have the odds evened by looking into the pond while fishing. Vasey Variants include Deep Sea Magnetic Fish Pond with Blue Marlin and Great White Sharks and Skein Net Magnetic Fish Pond (you just tip everything out so first come, first (and only) served.)

Do you want a review of Baby Shivers? No? Oh well, just asking. Sometime I must do a review on Playmobil figures which would be great for skirmish gaming.

Charles Vasey.

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