MRS. ROCKYMOUNTAINNAVY leaned in to help a friend this summer, meaning that we quite literally had a 5-year old little girl running around Casa RockyMountainNavy many days. With school back in session, Mrs. RMN wanted to give her a present. Naturally, she turned to me and asked for boardgame suggestions. I recommended Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Stacking (HABA, 2019). Little Ms. A played the game and she, her mother, and Mrs. RMN all give it a giant 5 UNICORNS!
Although our kids are older, Mrs. RMN tutors younger ones meaning we have a collection of children’s games on hand. These include perennial favorites from HABA like Rhino Hero (2016) and Animal Upon Animal (2005). Little Ms. A only plays boardgames when she is at our house so she has lots to learn. She has played Animal Upon Animal and liked it, but we (OK, me…) was looking for something similar yet different. Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Stacking combines both a dexterity and cooperative game into one. Perfect for small children. Don’t believe me? Check out this video from Game Trade Media filmed at Origins Games Fair 2019 for a great explanation of the game and example of play.
We played Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Stacking with Little Ms. A today. Actually, we played three times. We won all three games (although one was really close) and Little Ms. A really enjoyed it. She still needs to be guided (she occasionally throws the die instead of rolling it) but she caught on quickly. Mrs. RMN declared we are going to purchase at least two more copies (one for another student and one for our collection) because it takes the best of Animal Upon Animal and adds the cooperative play element. She also points out that the pink box is key.
OK, we all need to stop adulting for a minute and remember that Mrs. RMN wants these games for young girls. Little girls that Want to be little girls and don’t understand anything about gender neutrality packaging. Sure, they like the yellow HABA boxes but Little Ms A was very proud to show the box to her mother and proclaim, “Look! A girl’s game!”
To be clear, HABA does not market any of their Unicorn Glitterdrift games specifically towards girls. Even so, the pink box and colorful unicorns screams this is a “girls game.” So, am I evil to allow this sort of gender gaming? Too bad; the game is great and if it helps bring a little girl into the hobby then so be it. More importantly, Little Ms. A also sees the RMN Boys playing the game with her. If they don’t want to play a game because “it’s for girls” THEN we have a problem. But they don’t, and Little Ms. A earns not only a sense of ownership (“Let’s play MY game”) but also a reason to keep playing in the hobby. We can worry about gender neutral games later.
In the meantime, I have a unicorn castle to build.
Feature image Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Stacking components courtesy BGG
Postscript: Kudos to HABA for providing a multi-lingual rulebook in this game. Surprisingly, one of the languages is Korean – the primary language of the families Mrs. RMN teaches. Little Ms A was tickled pink (pun intended) with the Korean title of the game which translates as “Twinkle, Twinkle Unicorn.” Yet another way she was able to connect to the game and find an inviting hobby waiting for her to explore.
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