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Orchard Toys Spooky Steps

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Official testerPRODUCT: Orchard Toys Spooky Steps ( Toys Spooky Steps

DESCRIPTION: A 2-4 player board game where players must creep through the spooky house to reach the magic cauldron and break the witch's spell. Contains 1 x jigged game board, 2 x slot together walls, 1 x 3D magic cauldron with spinner, 4 x frog playing pieces, 4 x plastic character stands, 42 x footstep card, 6 x ghost cards, 6 x cobweb cards, 1 x ghost board and instructions. Suitable for children aged 4 years upwards.

GOOD POINTS: This is a brilliantly simplistic board game which is ideal for young children who like things that go bump in the night!

The game is aimed at preschoolers although its design is likely to make it appealing to a wide age range. There are many components to the game (which all come in a sturdy box with carry handle) including a really lovely jigged game board, made of good quality thick card, which children will love piecing together (there are six jigged pieces in total).

The board has a really fun haunted house design, with wonderfully colourful illustrations of all things spooky (but not too spooky!!). The slot-together walls which fit into place on top of the board add a really nice touch, separating the house into rooms (with doorways) and offering masses of detail for children to enjoy. In addition, a fun 3D 'cauldron' sits in its own special position on the board, complete with game spinner on top.

The game comes with a large number of 'footstep' cards (i.e. cards showing either one, two or three footstep prints), as well as a smaller but equal number of cobweb and ghost cards. All these cards need to be shuffled and placed face down on the table.

To play, each child chooses a coloured frog playing piece and slots it into the corresponding colour character stand. Players then take it in turns to turn over one of the face-down cards - if it is a footstep card then the player can keep turning over cards until they turn over either a cobweb or a ghost card.

If they turn over a cobweb card then they can move forward the number of spaces as indicated by the number of footsteps they have revealed in total throughout their turn. However if they reveal a ghost card then they must move back the same number of steps! Ghost cards can be placed on a special ghost board which keeps track of how many such cards have already been uncovered (and hence how many more there are to come!).

The aim of the game is for the players to wind their way through the various rooms of the house to reach the magic cauldron, where they must then spin the spinner in an attempt to reverse the effects of the magic potion and turn them back into a human form (rather than remaining as a frog!). The winner is the first player to successfully transform from frog to human!

In our opinion, this is a really fun and imaginative game that has many educational benefits for young children, encouraging plenty of communication as well as counting, observation and even strategic thinking.

BAD POINTS: None, other than there are lots of separate pieces which may be easily lost over time. Orchard Toys do however offer a very useful replacement service for any elements of their games (excluding puzzles) that do go missing!

PRICE: £15.95

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