Review: Gobblet Gobblers

Disclaimer: I received the game Gobblet Gobblers from Timberdoodle in exchange for an honest review of the product. All opinions are my own and my children’s.

A lot of people are gameschooling, and it’s easy to see why. In fact, when I was homeschooling my big kid, we would do a morning board game between our langauge arts and math curricula. One of our favorites was Lost Cities, another was the classic, Blockus. Since then, we’ve added a numnber of games to our home, and our family loves gaming – so it seems natural to add games into our homeschool. When Timberdoodle offered the opportunity to review Gobblet Gobblers, I jumped at the chance. I just knew that it would be a hit with at least Miss 6 and Mr. 4. Timberdoodle includes it in their Kindergarten complete currriculum kit.

What Is Gobblet Gobblers?

Gobblet Gobblers is a fun take on Tic-Tac-Toe. Like the game it’s based upon, it requires thinking skills and strategy. The game comes with a playing grid you put it together, and twelve game pieces. The game helps build memory, problem-solving skills, visual perception, and focus and attention.

Game play is simple, in addition to the rules for tic-tac-toe, the Goblet Gobblers can “eat” smaller game pieces of the opposite color. The goal is to get three in a row. Not only is the game great at encouraging those important critical thinking skills, but it’s also great fun.

What We Thought

We had fun. First, I played the game with Miss 6. She quickly grasped the rules and got a big kick out of the idea that she could “eat” my game piece. After a few games – they are very short, she won her first game, and by then, Mr. 4 was intrigued and challenged his big sister to a match. Both of them really enjoyed it, and Mr. 4 very quickly caught on and was using strategy to beat his sister (perhaps because he’s our resident tic-tac-toe afficionado…he loves creating a situation where there are two ways he can win).

Miss 3 came along, and while she thought the game was cute, it was still just a little beyond her. We’re still working on taking turns and following game rules with her, so we’ll try it again in a couple of months.

How To Use To Teach Thinking Skills:

When playing the game, here are some ideas for how to make the educational value stretch:

  • Ask about your child’s strategy when the game ends.
  • Talk about your own strategy when playing.
  • Come up with challenges: what happens when both players start with their biggest piece on the board? The smallest?
  • Try plotting out a partly-finished game and have your child see how they could win from the point the game is set up in.
  • Try to create a draw-game. Can you play where no one wins? (Our first game was a draw!)

Purchase Gobblet Gobblers ($15) or Timberdoodle’s non-religious complete kindergarten curriculum kit ($937).

Story Time Chess Review

Timberdoodle is offering Story Time Chess as part of its new 2020-2021 curriculum rollout. The game promises that children as young as 3 will learn how to play the classic game – no experience required from either adults or children. I received the game in exchange for an honest review.

About Story Time Chess

Story Time Chess includes instructions for playing the Story Time Chess version, Standard Chess instructions, a storybook to play through, a double-sided chessboard, 32 character cutouts, 1 set of custom chess pieces, 30 crown tokens, 1 crown card game mat, and 30 crown cards. The game retails for $60, but is available currently for $54.95 on the Timberdoodle website.

With a beginner – I played a little with my 2, almost 3-year-old, you begin with chapter one of the storybook. Read the story of King Chomper, and play through the exercises where you move him. This teaches children how the individual piece moves and prepares them for the next step. We had fun reading the story and practicing with the three exercises to gather all the pizza tokens. Once you finish playing through each exercise, the book reminds you to shake hands with each other – encouraging good sportspersonship from the beginning.

Once you’ve played through chapter 1, you can play through each of the other chapters – learning how each piece moves as you go, and learning the different rules of chess. It’s a lot of fun – and makes for a great curriculum. I could see this not only being useful for a homeschooling family looking for a way to use chess to help with critical thinking skills, but this would be a great resource for co-ops wanting to put together a chess club.

What shocked me the most in reviewing Story Time Chess was how easily my 2-year-old picked up the rules. Granted, she enjoys playing other games like Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, and Don’t Break the Ice, and she also will be 3 in a month, but she loved the characters, the colors, and the storytelling. The only reason I don’t have photos of her with the game in session is that she’s decided that while we’re all hanging out at home she’s completely abandoning the social convention of wearing clothing!

I can’t wait to play Story Time Chess more with her and introduce my 4-year-old and 6-year-old to the game. I’ve always enjoyed playing chess – my older brother taught me how to play and it quickly became a favorite – and my oldest was in the chess club at his junior high and high school. It’s definitely a fun way to learn to play chess and sharpen those critical thinking skills.

Gameschooling – the practice of playing board games as part of a well-rounded homeschooling curriculum has been picking up momentum. I personally prefer this practice to the practice of using apps to gamify concepts, and I would strongly recommend that this product make its way into your game cabinet.