Cranium Brain Breaks, the latest game from the line of creative, wacky, super family-friendly games by Cranium, was a fantastic surprise for us tonight! Homework was finished early (no…it wasn’t an earthquake you felt, just me keeling over in shock…), dinner, dessert and showers were done, so Ellie, my nonstop nine year old asked if we could play a game. She usually picks the longest one she can find, but this time, I pulled out a bright purple plastic brain, and said we were going to try a new one tonight. After I finally extracted the brain from the top of her head, we pulled out the pieces and read through the directions. The game was filled with a deck of two-sided challenge cards, a die, clay, a timer, six letter cubes and a small notepad. The only thing we had to find was a pencil, which we easily added to the brain at the end of the game.
The game says it’s for 2 – 6 players, but the instructions (super easy & short – my favorite kind!), do have a section on how you can play with teams, so I’d imagine you could play with ten people if you’ve got teams. It also says that it’s for kids 8+, but it could easily be adjusted for 5+, I’d say, as some of the parts involve writing, and the timer is only one minute, so it could be frustrating for the younger set. The game also incorporates the classic Cranium categories – Creative Cat, Word Worm, Star Performer and Data Head, so it covers all the bases to keep everyone happy.
Ellie and I started playing – my eleven year old thought she was far too cool to join us. The rules say that the person with the next birthday got to go first, so Ellie was already up – 1-0, and we hadn’t even begun! Ellie picked a random card from the deck, read both sides, and then picked which challenge she wanted to complete. She had to run around the house, and count all the plants we had inside before the timer ran out. After a quick loop, she came back and reported that all of our plants were outside. Correct!
Some of the challenges involved running around the house counting or collecting different items. Some of our favorites were: how many lights do we have, find ten blue things and find six things that make noise. One favorite was the Loop-the-Loop Challenge – I had to make a paper airplane and Ellie had to make a ring out of the clay, then I had to fly the airplane through the ring.
After about half an hour of playing, Emily sauntered over, asking if she could play just one card, which turned into about ten more rounds. The hands- down favorite for the night was Emily’s Costumes Challenge card, where we had to close our eyes and draw our favorite Halloween costume. Ok…I cheated, I just wanted to see if the girls really had their eyes closed – to my surprise, they did. Emily drew a cat, Ellie had a witch, and I was a hula girl – my favorite costume ever, from when I was five years old!
Half an hour later, we finally put the game away. We had only lost once – we had to roll the letter dice and try to come up with family members whose names begin with each letter rolled. We got the Z, and sadly, there are no Zane’s, Zelda’s or Zachary’s in our family.
The majority of the challenges involve teamwork and cooperation, which is something that every person in the world can use more practice at. The true genius of the game is that each challenge is only one minute, so you can play for as long (or as short) as time allows. The only downside I can see is that some of the cards really do need more than two players to make them fun. But, with over 200 challenges, you can always put it back in the deck and find a new card. The objective is to try to collect as many winning challenge cards as you can, but honestly, we were working together, so it didn’t really feel like one person was winning, and someone else was losing. I’m thinking this is one of those games that’s going to see a lot of action at our house. With the holidays coming, I know a few good little boys and girls who would absolutely love this – time to start checking people off my list!
Cranium Brain Breaks, (Hasbro, Inc.) – is available in stores and online for $12.99 at HasbroToyShop.com. Keep up with Family Game Night at www.facebook.com/familygamenight or follow us on Twitter: @familygamenight.
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* We did not receive monetary compensation for this review. That’s IT Mommy received Cranium Brain Break from Hasbro free of charge to facilitate this review. Giveaway item will be provided by sponsor. Sponsor has the right to refuse filling prize for duplicate winners from other blogs. This will in no way sway our opinion of the product or service. The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your results and opinions may differ.