Sunday, May 24, 2020

Racing Games for Kids and Families You Might Not Already Know About

by Rich

Racing is a compelling game concept and has long been the subject of popular board games from Candyland to Parcheesi.


The competition to be the first to get there is instantly accessible. But there are a whole lot of games that use racing as their foundation for adults and kids alike. Today I want to mention 3 games that you might not already know about that are favorites for the younger crowd here at Labyrinth Games & Puzzles:

Snail's Pace Race 

Snail's Pace Race is a beautiful introduction game. It gets young children comfortable with using dice, the six colorful wooden snails are lined up to win the race, but which snails will move each turn is determined by the two dice we take turns casting. Roll pink and orange? The pink and orange snail both scoot ahead one spot. Roll yellow twice? The yellow snail moves twice! It's as simple as that, but the components are fun and tactile and there is a genuine thrill to be had by young ones: playing to find out what happens next!

This is a great game for the 3-5 years old range, especially if you're looking for a low-key game that they can handle without needing too much oversight. Just pick a snail to root for and roll those dice! (Full disclosure, this game has been around in different editions since the 80's; I played it with my grandmother when the flowers in our garden were still at nose height. Racing these wooden snails made a great break from searching for real ones outside, so I am unapologetically sentimental about this game!)

If Snail's Pace Race just isn't your speed, maybe you'd get more mileage out of Monza!


Monza is a longtime favorite of Labyrinth's Game Club with the early childhood groups. Monza features little wooden race cars instead of snails. It's a trickier game than the easy-going Snail's Pace Race, Monza has way more dice to roll and many more choices to make. Once you've cast all your dice it's time to pay careful attention to where your car is on the board and what colors you are touching. You can only move your car if one of your dice matches the color of a space that is next to your piece on the board, and once you spend that die to move, you don't get to use it again until your next turn. You want to be sure to spend your dice in the right order so that your car goes as far as possible. It's much more competitive than Snail Pace Race, with room for strategy and planning. If we're feeling ready for an older challenge maybe Monza (Ages 5+, 2-6 Players) will get our engines going!

Looking for a racing game that's a little older still (6-7+)? And maybe without dice? Maybe something a little more high energy? (Something that might also be a fun challenge for the grownups at the table?)

Please have a look at Ice Cool!

Ice Cool

I was initially skeptical when we first got it in stock, but I now find it very hard to play Ice Cool without grinning. It takes a moment to set up, as the box comes apart to form a penguin high school (yes, this game is about penguin high, and it covers a fair amount of table space, but don't be intimidated! Assembly is very straight forward and cleanly laid out in the instruction book. When you're done playing, everything fits neatly back into the box it came in. And it's a flicking game! We're bouncing our penguins down the halls, flicking through doorways and hopping over walls to collect the most tasty fish before our opponents. One of us, however, is the hall monitor, and they are chasing the other players around with every flick, trying to crash into them and snag their hall pass. This is not a game easily played sitting down, so you'll want to circle around the board like a billiards table to line up that perfect flick, and while you can play with just two players, it's really much better at 3-4 players.

We hope this list offers you some fresh options for games to keep the family occupied. We really miss seeing our friends in the shop and hope everyone is staying safe and finding time for fun!

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