The Easter holidays have been an excellent opportunity for playing lots of board games. As part of the Orchard Toys blogger team, we periodically get sent free board games to test, in exchange for an honest review, so today I have a new game from them to share with you that we have been testing during the holidays.
Money Match Cafe is a game designed to encourage money handling skills, and as my 7 year old has been learning all about coins and money values at school in the past term, this came at the perfect time.
What’s in the box? The game includes quite a few pieces: 16 food cards, 32 money cards, one spinner, one till board, one tray board, and four 3D tables.
Setting up: Before starting the game, you slot together the 3D tables. We placed them in the middle of the kitchen table we were playing at, but to make the game a bit more active you could also space them around the room. Optionally, you are encouraged to use your toys as customers, so Oskar fetched some of his favourites to sit at the tables – it’s probably the only time you’ll see a Transformer, a My Little Pony, a T-Rex and Skeletor in a cafe together, lol.
The money cards are placed face down in between the players. There are two different sets – the green set is slightly easier, and shows two coin on each card. The red set is a little more difficult, with three to five coins per card. Choose which set you want to play with, and put the other back in the box. The spinner, till and tray boards are placed at the side, and each player is dealt four food cards, food side up. Now you are ready to go!
Game play: The game starts with a player turning over a money card. You then need to add up the coins and see if the total value matches the price on any of your food cards. If you think you have a match, you turn over your food card, which all have the value in coins on the back, and if the picture of the coins on your food card matches the picture on the money card, you get to deliver the food to one of the cafe customers.
You do this by placing the money card on the till board, the food card on the tray board, and spinning the spinner to see which number table you will be serving. Then you carefully carry the tray to the respective table and hand the food over. If you don’t have a match, then the money card goes back face down on the table. The winner of the game, is the first person to serve all their food.
Our verdict: To begin with, the instructions felt a little overwhelming, as there are quite a few steps to go through. But after playing it a couple of times we knew the routine off by heart and stopped referring back to the rules all the time. So if you find it a little confusing at first, my advice it to stick with it! It really isn’t as complicated as it first seems. I personally also initially felt that some of the steps could have been cut out, it all seemed a bit gimmicky with the toy customers, and delivering the food on a tray. Surely the game could have been simplified a lot. Well, I obviously know nothing about designing games, because it was the ‘gimmicky’ bits that Oskar enjoyed the most. From the very important step of choosing which toys would be lucky enough to sit at the cafe tables, to serving meatballs and cupcakes to a T-rex (hilarious!), to having to play the game again and again because his favourite toy hadn’t received any of the food as the spinner never landed on his table number. So in hindsight, I think all that held his attention for the game twice as long. Though it did at one point end up with a bit of a competition to see how many food cards T-Rex could fit in his mouth!
As for the money matching part of the game, the more often we played the game, the quicker Oskar became both at adding up the values of the coins and at spotting a match, so I think the game does really help to train those skills. It also helps to develop memory skills, because if another player’s discarded money card matches one of your food cards, you need to remember which card it was since they all look the same once they are face down again on the table. And I love that you can start with the easy cards, and progress on to the more difficult ones, thus increasing the longevity of the game.
Overall, I think this is a really fun way of practising adding up the value of coins and getting a better grip on how money works, e.g. that the number of coins and value of coins are not the same. And as mentioned, Oskar really loved the added role play cafe aspect of it too. So this is yet another Orchard Toys games that gets a thumbs up from us! Money Match Cafe is available from the Orchard Toys website, and retails at £12.50
Disclosure: We were sent a free copy of Money Match Cafe by Orchard Toys, in exchange for an honest review. However, all images, words and opinions are our own!