Kingbeast's Lair

Growling about the RPG industry and my gaming life. RPG and anime reviews from a passionate fan. (Formerly John's Hero HQ.)

Review of Richard Scarry’s Busytown: Eye Found It! By I Can Do That! Games

May 11, 2010 By: John Taber Category: Games, Product Reviews

Busytown Game

-== What is it? ==-

Richard Scarry’s Busytown: Eye Found It! (Busytown) is a cooperative family board game from I Can Do That! Games. Over the last few months it has won an astounding 6 family gaming awards. The I Can Do That! Games company was founded by Jacobe Chrisman of Cranium fame. Busytown was actually designed by Forrest-Pruzzan Creative, LLC. They are the design team behind several of the latest releases from I Can Do That! Games.

Busytown comes in a sturdy card board box that depicts the major characters from the Busytown Mysteries TV show. Inside there is a 6′ board in 3 sections, 4 counters (Lowly, Huckle, Sally, and Hilda), a spinner, a large ferry counter, a set of 10 magnifying glass tokens, 6 food tiles, a small deck of Goldbug cards, a small sand timer, and an instruction sheet. The manufacturer’s listed age is 3 and up.

-== What I Like ==-

The instructions for Busytown are VERY simple. The entire set of instructions fits on a 6″ x 6″ sheet of paper! Essentially the game is a race to get ALL of the players to a picnic lunch before Pig Will and Pig Won’t eat it all. Counters are moved by rotating a spinner. The spinner has several possible outcomes. There are movements of 1 to 4 squares, two pigs eat food areas, and two Goldbug areas. If any player spins a pigs eat food then 1 of the 6 food tokens is removed from the picnic. If Goldbug is spun then a card is taken from the Goldbug deck. This card depicts something that ALL of the players must try and mark with their magnifying glasses tokens. The amount of objects found before the sand timer runs out is the amount of spaces that ALL players are allowed to move. If for example the card is a balloon then all players must study the detailed 6′ game board to find as many balloons as they can before the sand runs out. Remember that this game is cooperative…everyone wins or loses as a team. The board has different paths to give players options as they progress towards the picnic. Eventually everyone must enter the ferry and proceed towards the picnic. The ferry really adds to the excitement as everyone ends up cheering for the player who is behind to make it on board so it can leave.

My family has been doing game night for roughly 6 months now. My boys are 5 and 7 years old. Often when I introduce new games the first questions is, “Is this a game where someone wins?” After hearing that I made it a mission to look for cooperative family games. Busytown is my first find. (Note that I have found others that will hopefully get purchased and played soon.) This time when the boys ask their question they got a very different answer, “In this game everyone either wins or loses together. If we play as a team we could ALL win!” After their little brains started digesting that they smiled and we gave Busytown a try. To put it mildly this game has been a huge hit for our family. It encourages teamwork, fosters turn taking skills, enhances their observations skills, and teaches basic movement strategy. Very importantly it also teaches the kids how to lose gracefully. It was really nice to hear them say after our first session in which we lost, “Wow that was fun but I want to play again so we can win!”

Busytown faithfully sticks to the theme of the Busytown Mysteries TV show from Cookie Jar TV. In show and the game a team finds clues around Busytown to solve a mystery OR in this case to get to a picnic before the food is gone.

The various components except for the egg timer are very nicely done and sturdy. The large playing board is colorful and detailed in Richard Scarry artwork. All of the counters are thick and the box is sturdy. All in all the package is very nice.

-== What I Don’t Like ==-

My only complaint with the components is the egg timer. It really needs a better stand as the game is made to be played on the carpet. We have lots of issues with it falling over or being out of view. Eventually we figured out to place it on some empty water near the ferry but since there is a lot of action around the board it can get knocked over. I think if I made a small stand for it that would help. Actually a better idea might be to ditch the timer altogether and instead use a small digital timer. 😉

Like a lot of family games I think the designated age is a bit off. I can see a 4 year old playing this game but it would be a bit tough in my opinion for a 3 year old.

We have been playing the game for about a month and so far it has good staying power but that is a concern. It feels like a game that might peter out after some use.

-== Summary ==-

Richard Scarry’s Busytown: Eye Found It! has the honor of being the first game that our family has absolutely loved. It is fun for adults and parents. This is the perfect starter game for a family with young kids. The price point of $19.99 at Toys R Us is ridiculously low for a game with quality components like this one. My gosh go out and but it already! 😀

You can get it from at this URL for $43.99. Toys R Us sells the game for a paltry $19.99 at this URL and right now they are offering free shipping!

I give it 9 out of 10 paws.

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