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Going on a Bear Hunt

On a recent family trip, I was looking for some new travel games to test out with my kids, who are finally old enough to enjoy playing games together (sometimes). I discovered a new line of games from Melissa & Doug, the venerable toy company known for their colorful and interactive wooden toys and puzzles, as well as a stable of well-priced jumbo stuffed animals.

Their new “Flip To Win” series of games is a traveling family’s dream. The games are based either blatantly or subtly on classics, but the flipping wooden windows are securely attached to the game board, meaning there are virtually no pieces to lose. There’s a Hangman, a Memory game, a Four-in-a-row (think Connect-Four) game, and my personal favorite, the Bear Hunt.

Similar in concept to Milton Bradley’s best-selling Guess Who game, Bear Hunt is one of those rare occasions where the knockoff is better executed than the original. The players spin a wheel with different bear faces to determine which bear their opponent is trying to identify, and then ask yes-or-no questions to try and guess each other’s bear. Like Guess Who, there are pictures of each character that can be covered as the questioning rules them out. In Bear Hunt, the pictures of the bears are printed on the wooden game board, and the wooden doors flip down with a satisfying “click.” Because of the spinning wheel system, it is possible for both players to be trying to identify the same bear, but that didn’t seem to pose any problems when we were playing.

We had a lot of fun with this game. The kids were able to play together, or with one of us.

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