My three and five year old kids are both HUGE fans of Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood. Needless to say, they practically danced a jig when they saw the Welcome To Main Street board game. I brought it out on a rainy Saturday afternoon when the kids were full of energy but locked inside. It proved to be an excellent distraction… and I apologize if the pictures are a little dark but the electricity was going in and out due to the storm. It didn’t put a damper on our board game fun though.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Welcome to Main Street Game
Another quality product from University Games! All of the materials are sturdy, glossy and durable to withstand years of use. I was a little nervous when I saw the huge quantity of small pieces included but once everything was snapped, clicked, fitted together and arranged on the board it was surprisingly manageable. I did use a few snack sized baggies to organize everything before putting it back in the box though. Still, I was very impressed with the design and quality of the game.
This game is for ages three and up and can accommodate up to four players. It is a typical “spin to move” game with some “choose a card” and “collect token as you pass” stops. There are also unique “Gift” stops that require the player that lands on them to give a token to a player of their choice. The rules were a little vague about these “gift” stops. We originally interpreted it as meaning the player that lands there has to give one of their own tokens to another player. It soon became clear that this was not the case though, since the tokens each players collects have to match the ones pictured on their unique game board [more on that issue later]. Instead, if a player lands on a “gift”spot, they need to choose a token that another player (of their choice) needs from a location their chosen player hasn’t been to yet and give that to them. The gift recipient does not move their piece to the location that the gift token came from, but they are required by the game rules to tell the gift-giver “thank you”. No really, it actually says that.
You’re not alone if you think that sounds a little over-complicated. I myself was shocked by the surprisingly long list of (sometimes necessary) rules, some of which we ended up tossing out after the first round. First, part of the setup involves placing standing images of various buildings on specific spots throughout the board. The buildings do not actually play a role in the game (the locations are clearly pictured and labeled on the board) and are purely for visual effect. I’m assuming the they’re intended to give children the impression that they are physically walking their Daniel Tiger character game pieces through a three-dimensional “neighborhood” as they play. In reality though, there is no way to keep the buildings in place (or even standing) when playing with kids, especially since each player is required to collect tokens from each of those locations as they land on or pass them. Consequently, buildings get pushed around and tipped over, knocking payer’s pieces off their spots and causing many tears and debates over which spots to return them to.
The tokens themselves caused some unnecessary stress too. Each player is supposed to pick the one at each location that matches the tokens pictured on their “backpack” game board. The concept is good in theory… until the five-year-old wants the “bread” token (even though it doesn’t match his card), and the three-year-old throws a fit when her “O the Owl” figurine lands on Baker Aker’s Bakery and the bread token pictured on her board is already missing. That’s when they go for each other’s throats and the ensuing tandem tantrum ends the game.
We avoided the drama in future rounds by removing the buildings and instating a “pick your favorite token from the ones that are left” rule for each location on the board. The resulting peace treaty ended years of violence and unrest in the neighborhood. Last I heard there were talks of working together to organize a rebellion against King Friday to remove the monarchy from power, establish a democracy and start funding the public transportation system so Trolley can take a much needed vacation. We can only hope.
Game Play and Overall Thoughts:
Once we removed the “tantrum makers” (a.k.a. freestanding buildings and the matching token rule) the game played very smoothly. The kids loved “playing” the characters from the show and even made them “walk” and “talk” as such during their turns. This was part of the reason flexibility in token choices became necessary, since sometimes Daniel Tiger really felt like reading a book at school instead of coloring with the crayon token pictured on his “backpack”. Every time the game ended, the children continued to play with their game pieces as figurines too, even utilizing the freestanding building pieces that we banned during actual game play.no longer use in the game. The tokens were utilized as the items pictured on them and the cards became mail that they sent to each other. That being said, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Welcome to Main Street Game serves both as a board game AND as a figurine playset for freestyle imaginative play… which is amazing! As much as I love seeing my children succeed at playing structured games together, it warms my heart to see their imaginations running free. I highly recommend it.
Disclaimer: This item was provided to me for free in order to facilitate this review. I pride myself on being an honest person though, so my opinion was not influenced in any way. I am also in no way obligated (or compensated) to share it here. I test hundreds of products and only a fraction of them are shared on my blog. That’s because only a fraction of them are extraordinary… in my opinion, anyway!