One of my recently adopted criteria for a good family game is total length – from setup, through play time, to teardown. In this, Clear for Takeoff excels. Designed by Hagen Temeryazev, an airline pilot, illustrated by Etienne Hebinger, and published by Blue Orange Games, Clear for Takeoff is a card game that has you racing to get all three of your planes down the runway and into the air before anyone else. Hampered by an over-dependence on luck, and at times descending into maddening waits for just the right card draw, the game is still a fine amusement for a wide age range when you’ve got only a few minutes for play and even fewer for reading a rulebook.
Test tubes clank as their contents are poured back and forth. “Eureka!” a voice shouts. “I’ve got it!” Dr. Eureka promises fast-paced, family-friendly gameplay. But does this dexterity-puzzle game master the formula for fun?
I love playing games with my kids that have either a simple setup, a simple cleanup, or simple rules. Battle Sheep, designed by Francesco Rotta and published by Blue Orange Games, has all three. With just a handful of quality components and a very limited set of choices to make each turn, games are breezy fun with your little lambs, but there’s surprising strategic depth when playing with older ones.
Let’s take a look at the game, and I promise to not use too many baa-d puns.