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Cloverleap Review by Jennifer Harrison

Simply Fun Games
11245 SE 6th Street, Suite 110
Bellevue, WA 98004

While I love to play games with my family, I'm not generally very patient with games intended for young children. I have felt the boredom of a never-ending game and have often desired to liven things up. But I know there is tremendous value for my children in these games. In addition to the quality family time and the development of social skills, games also help build thinking skills as young players learn to predict possible outcomes, recognize patterns, and follow deductive logic. So I suffer through Candyland for the greater good of my children.

Occasionally, a game comes along that I am able to enjoy right along with them, but these are few and far between. Simply Fun's new game, CloverLeap, is one of these gems. It is intended for ages 5 and up, but children as young as 3 can play with assistance from parents. Each game takes about 20-30 minutes to play and is intended for 2-4 players. My two daughters and I sit down together to play, and it only takes about 20 minutes. Every time. This is relatively long in comparison to most little kids' games, but we all enjoy it and it doesn't drag on with molasses swamp monotony.

Each player has two wooden sheep that hop around the board and collect clover tiles. These tiles are color-coded and contain words. Players get points for each tile collected and extra points when they are able to form complete sentences with their tiles. Players do not have to be able to read to enjoy the game; young players can have fun simply by rolling their dice and collecting tiles for points. When it comes to building sentences, non-readers can simply collect tiles according to color. Deductive reasoning is developed as players recognize that while moving left will give them a tile, it is another yellow tile, and they need a blue tile to finish their sentence. Players also absorb some grammar lessons, because all of the white tiles represent subject nouns, blue tiles represent verbs, yellow tiles represent adjectives, and red tiles represent direct objects. These combine to make simple sentences, such as "I see pretty birds," as well as silly sentences, such as "We race hairy cows."

This is a game we can all enjoy. Even my 14-year-old son will sit down to play a game with his young sisters, with the understanding that he gets to use Star Wars Lego characters instead of sheep. The adorable sheep are just too "cute" for his taste. Because the game relies on a good bit of luck and strategy, it can be enjoyed by all ages.

CloverLeap is one of the highest quality sets I've played with; the tiles are very thick and durable. The playing pieces are made of smooth, painted wood, making this a beautiful set. The game is a little expensive at $34.00, but it is sturdy enough to last for your grandchildren to visit and play someday.

Product review by Jennifer Harrison, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2011