Pssst! I have a secret.
When I am looking to purchase games for the family, my top priority isn't an educational focus. It's not even a "joining" or "relationship" focus.
What I look for FIRST is the number of people who can play the game.
A lot of games are for foursomes. Or 2-4 players. Like toothbrush holders. Or family four-packs to sporting events. :(
We're a family of FIVE. My highest priority is a game that all five of us can play together.
I had to wait for Life on the Farm® ($25) to arrive to learn how many people can play this game, because I could not find the information on the company web site.
My second criteria is sturdiness. I have a child, who before she was two, could rip a board book in two. We are rough on games. This one is sturdy.
Third, fourth, fifth etc etc etc is a game that is simple enough for a child with developmental delays that is not too babyish for the sibs, a game that is fun and assists in our relationship building goals and objectives, a game that offers some educational value, a game that provides opportunites for making some discoveries, a game that provides opportunities for thinking. This game meets all the criteria.
We like this game !! -- it's not as complicated as the games you see in department stores that include play money. Because the rules are clear, we had no disagreement over interpretation of rules. We are learning new vocabulary words (slaughter, income, expense, for example). My homeschooler is getting experience counting dots on the dice and counting money. There's an element of uncertainty that adds to the fun: the expense and income cards add a wild card to the game, and a player who is running out of money can suddenly find himself a couple of thousand dollars richer by landing on the right square and drawing the right card. Or a player who is ahead in the game can lose a lot of it rather quickly, based on the circumstances of the game.
There are two versions listed in the rules, a regular version and a short version. The one downside for playing with a child who has attention challenges that come with autism is that even the short version is too long. My homeschooled princess joins us at this particular game for exactly a half-hour, which is INCREDIBLE. She's engaged the entire time, doing some math in her head and some not in her head, counting her money, counting the dots on the dice, learning about income and expense. But at the 30-minute mark, she is done. That will improve with time and practice. We may consider creating an even shorter version at our house.
I have a difficult-to-suppress urge to say "E-I-E-I-O" a lot when I see the game board or box. *wink*
It's fun, engaging and entertaining, and with rules that are "just right" (not too complicated yet not too simple). We don't have to leave out a family member because it accommodates up to six players. MULTIPLE THUMBS UP!
The game can be purchased directly from the company, at specialty retailers, and at KMart.com ($19.99 at KMart dot com).
We R Run sent me the Life on the Farm® board game, free, as part of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew's review program. I received no monetary compensation for the review.
To read the reviews of my fellow First Mates about this product, go here.