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Pickles' Pig Tales Review by Cindy West

Simply Fun
11711 SE 8 th St, Suite 110
Bellevue, WA 98005

Pickles the Pig is excited to enter Castle Feastalot for a great feast. Unfortunately, the gates of the castle only open when someone tells a creative (and often silly) story. All the players work together to tell Pickles a cooperative story as he advances on the path toward the castle. By the time he reaches the castle, he will have the creative story he needs to enter for the feast.

Pickles' Pig Tales is a very creative game for children age 6 and older. Players roll a die to move Pickles along on the path toward the castle. On most turns, they are expected to draw a picture card from a draw pile and place it in front of them. From the beginning of the game, a story is begun with the cards. The first player says a sentence about his card; the second player repeats the first person's sentence and then adds a sentence of her own about her card; the third player repeats the sentences from the first two players and adds a sentence about the card he draws. In this way, a story is built.

Because the cards are placed in front of the players as visual clues, memorizing the story is not an issue. But beware--sometimes cards must be removed from the board, meaning that part of the story must be deleted the next time it's told. A few other twists and turns keep players on their toes. When Pickles reaches the castle, play is over and the person with the most cards remaining is the winner.

Let me give you an example of one of the stories we were able to come up with.

  • Knight card--"One day an angry knight stood at the castle gates."
  • Kite card--"The knight had packed a kite with him since it was windy."
  • Caterpillar card--"When he pulled out the kite, he found a caterpillar crawling on it."
  • House card--"The knight decided to take the caterpillar to his house to see if it would turn into a butterfly."
  • Lunchbox card--"As he was leaving his house, he remembered to pick up his lunchbox."
  • Mitten card--"He also picked up his mittens in case it got cold at the castle gates."
  • Moon card--"He watched over the castle gates the entire time the moon was out and then went home to sleep. He wasn't angry anymore."

The game promotes several in-depth skills, such as storytelling, imagination, creating a sensible plot, using visual clues, remembering details, and cooperating with others. While it drove me crazy to tell such silly stories, my kids loved it and grew in all of the abilities mentioned above. And, as would seem reasonable, these abilities transferred to their writing as well. It's a tad expensive, meaning I probably would not have purchased it had I not received it for review. However, if you are hoping to boost certain skills, price may not be an issue when such a fun option as a game is available.

Product review by Cindy West, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2011