For this HABA review, we’re featuring a game called Strong Stuff. It’s designed for 2-6 players and for ages from 5 upwards.
Setting Up: It’s easy to set up the game. The first time you play you’ll need to pop the some of the strong cardboard pieces out of the sheets they came in, but this is simple to do. The pieces are mostly strong cardboard or wood and I think some sort of resin, so they are strong and durable. The game is based around Bruno the Bear who is always hungry for honey. It’s essentially a game of balance and requires good control of your hands, so it’s a useful game for improving manual dexterity.
In play: Basically you move Bruno around the board carefully, as he is holding a tray above his head. Each player throws the dice and then loads Bruno up with a honey jar. You add to the jars with each turn. If a jar falls off you lose a life (represented by a honey drop), if a single player loses 2 drops then the game stops and the player with the most drops left wins.
To make the game more difficult, you can substitute a round tray for the square one. There is also another version to play, with an alternative die, which involves turning the bear around or moving with different hands.
The basic game is simple in concept and easy to grasp.
What stopped play? Frustration for my just turned 4 year old, as he doesn’t yet have the skills to play this game successfully. At 4 he is below the recommended age to play, but I felt he did learn a little from playing. We were able to talk to him about strategies for keeping your hands steady and maintaining sufficient control. He did better his performance with some coaching and I think Strong Stuff will be a useful, but fun way of improving his skills. So Strong Stuff will be going away for a few months, but not too long as I think it will be fun to try again soon.
Overall: A game made from quality materials and a simple concept which helps improve dexterity through play. A winner!