Card Games. They are some of the first games we learn to play as kids: from Uno to Memory to Go Fish. These classic games taught us not only how to play be the rules but also how to be competitive and have fun! While games like these will always be classics, there's nothing wrong with putting a new spin on an old favorite. Move aside Old Maid, these days it's all about playing Mermaid Beach!!
Gamewright generously provided our family with our very own Mermaid Beach! The game box is nice and small, perfect for storage and travel. Angie and I couldn't wait to try it out together, and opened it up that very night!
How to Play: The game is suggested for ages 6+, but at age five Angie caught on to the rules right away! At first I was skeptical about all the different types of cards, and I was worried that Angie and I wouldn't be able to remember all the different rules. Well, my fears disapeared when we started playing! You start the game by dividing the cards into two piles, the shell deck and the beach deck. The goal of the game is to be the player with the most shells when everyone runs out of beach cards!
|Box Cover of Mermaid Beach!|
Both players start the game with five beach cards. Angie and I loved that it says right in the rules, "the player with the waviest hair goes first!" How cute! On your turn, you can do a number of things to win shell cards: the most common are to put down a Mermaid card or a pair of beach items. Either one will win you a shell card! There are also seaweed cards, wave cards, and a "crabby" sea monster card, among others!
The most exciting part of playing the game for Angie was seeing the Mermaid cards. Angie is such a girly-girl, and she LOVED the surprise of no two Mermaids being the same. To be fair, there are Mermaids and Mermen; this game is by no means a girls-only game and would be totally fun for boys too. Every Mermaid card has a shimmery border and features a different Mermaid/Merman with his or her own personality and unique name, such as Betsy Bubbles. Angie couldn't wait to hear each new Mermaid's name, and loved that the Mermaid cards were the most valuable. She easily caught on to the idea of trading a Mermaid card for a shell card, which I thought might confuse her at first but didn't at all.
Mermaid Beach also had a trading aspect to it, very much like Go Fish. If you don't have a Mermaid card or a pair of beach items, you can ask one of your opponents for a matching beach item to one of your own. Once you have a pair, you can put it down for a shell card. This trading process teaches critical descision making and logic: Angie learned that if she saw me pick up a sand castle and she was holding a sand castle card already, she could easily get a match.
|Kids learn counting and matching from Mermaid Beach!|
The Sea Monster card, sneaker wave cards, seaweed cards, and mean Mermaid cards all have special functions as well. The Sea Monster is the Old Maid of the deck; you have to trade it away befor the game ends! The sneaker wave card can pull an opponent's shell cards back into the discard pile! The seaweed card forces your opponent to take another beach card. Either of the mean Mermaids, who use their powers for evil, allow you to take one of your opponent's shell cards! There are also starfish cards who force their owner to pass a card to the left. This can actually be beneficial for getting rid of the Sea Monster! While this seems like a lot of rules to remembers, most of the cards in the deck are either beach items or Mermaids. When we did come across some of these special-function cards, it was easy enough for us to look in the directions and figure out what to do! Game play was very smooth and both Angie and I felt the game was both easy to learn and fun to play!
The game ends when one player is out of beach cards. At the end of the game, both players count up their shells by laying the shell cards flat and counting up the individual shells they've collected. Game play averages about 20 minutes for us, and we actually played multiple times in a row. Counting up the shells was a great way for Angie to practice her counting skills, especially with number over 10 and 20. I have to say, I have yet to beat Angie at Mermaid Beach, and I'm actually trying!
|Angie with one of her favorite Mermaids - we love the sparkles!|
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