The cardboard box on our doorstep always draws a crowd when the kids see the return address of Timberdoodle.

They’ve come to associate the company with really fun products that they get to evaluate with me.

I mean, I think their opinion matters, since the Timberdoodle products are primarily educational, even when they are fun.  And they are the students, so I love to hear what they really think.

We are a family who already loves games so we decided the Tenzi dice would be the first out of the box for the review.

I love games, but I love games even more when they have simple directions and multiple ages can play them together.

Every member of the family is currently and officially a Reader these days but some family members are more skilled than others in the category of reading so we still enjoy a game that requires less reading to keep the competition levels more equal.

Tenzi is a dice game so it is a counting game, but it’s also just good fun.

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The concept is super simple — each player has ten dice.  Roll your set of dice until all ten of them are on the same number.  Yell the word ‘tenzi”.  You win!

Here are several ways that I knew Tenzi was a keeper in our home:

  1.  I packed this as one of the only games that we took across country to the dude ranch with us.
  2.  At Lost Valley Ranch, the kids actually played this game with some of their new friends.
  3.  When we are home and friends come to visit, this game comes off the shelf.
  4.  Grown ups and kids say “yes” to playing without any of the eye rolling and self talk that comes with agreeing to play such games as Risk and Monopoly.

From Timberdoodle we actually received two sets of Tenzi – one with regular dice and one with smiley faces in place of the standard dots.

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My first thought was, “Hmmm, I can share the second set after we finish playing the game.”  After playing a few rounds, however, my thought became, “How great to own two sets – now all six of us can play at the same time – along with a couple other buddies.”  I’m glad I kept them – there just are’t too many games that eight kids can all happily agree to play at once.

By the way – on a wooden table with exuberant dice rollers, the game can certainly get a little high volume.  You’ve been warned.  Or you could play it on carpet.  I wonder why that never occurred to me until now.  Not that we have any carpet.  We don’t.  But we have blankets you guys.  I could have been playing this on a blanket.

Besides the two Tenzi sets, a little Tenzi card deck was stashed in our box of goodies.

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When you’ve played the basic version of the game and you want to try your hand at a mix up, you can pull out these cards – 77 Ways to Play Tenzi.

They’re so fun.  You just play Tenzi but follow the card’s instructions.  The card might tell you to all roll 7’s or it might instruct you to switch hands between every roll or to only roll with your left hand.

Or – you know – to talk like a pirate and keep one eye closed.

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Do you know how challenging it is to roll dice without the use of your thumbs?

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I like the extra silliness and challenge of the cards.  The kids come and go on their opinion about the cards.  Piper and Bergen and I are fans.  Otto is uncertain and London and Mosely prefer the classic method.  With all these different opinions, we have been playing a Winner Decides kind of version of our own crafting.  Which is just what it sounds like – each time you win a round of Tenzi you get to decide if you pick a card, play regularly or even just make up your own rule.

That seems about right for our family – almost following the rules but just altering them a tiny bit.

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All around, Tenzi is a fantastic addition to a game shelf (or a game closet or game-too-messy-to-give-it-a-title space).

And – the shape of the container is fun so I think it makes a great looking gift.  (Maybe a good purchase for birthday gifts for kids entering those tricky in-between ages.)

This is a definite thumbs up from our house to yours.