Disclosure. This post is a review of products I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.
When Rosey from Jaques of London asked me if I would do a Christmas feature, I took a look at their website and was instantly drawn to their heritage. They are a long-established games, toys and sports manufacturer spanning 8 generations of the Jaques family back to 1795. It was refreshing to read that their products are still timber-based today. And not only do they make them, they have been inventing games and toys too. With my interest in genealogy, it was fascinating to read the family history of the oldest games company and sports manufacturer in the world.
I had a good browse round their website and saw that they sell toys suitable for babies upwards, family games and sports equipment like croquet. Spoilt for choice, I selected a couple of traditional classic games – Chinese Checkers and Shut The Box Game which they sent me free to review.
Dispatch was very fast and both games were beautifully presented with reproduction tissue paper and personalised cards from the team members who had hand wrapped them. You could tell a lot of care and thought had gone into that. They immediately made me think of “Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favourite things” from The Sound of Music. You won’t need to wrap these, they are ready to go under the Christmas tree. However the one thing that was definitely surplus to requirement was the single use plastic encasing each box, as they were already doubly secured with an attractive ribbon.
But since it is obvious that sustainability is something that is key to this company with its environmentally friendly wooden products and brown boxes in preference to shiny ones, hopefully the single use plastic is already on their agenda to remove. I didn’t manage to find a sustainability page on their website, but did come across an interesting article on their blog about What Wood is Safe for Children’s Toys.
So onto the products themselves. I was delighted to spot Shut The Box Game in their range. This is a game that I originally wanted to buy for son1 back in 2013 but couldn’t find it stocked anywhere. He had enjoyed playing it multiple times whilst in hospital with leukaemia. A great distraction for him at the time and educational too.
This dice game can be played by any number of players, even just one and is good for arithmetic skills. This is an attractive wooden framed version with a baize lining. Numbers go upto 12, but they sell various versions including one with numbers upto 9 and a travel edition.
The other game I chose was Chinese Checkers and when it arrived, I discovered a bonus. Chinese Checkers on one side and flip it over for a game of Go Bang. All the pieces of this edition have been beautifully hand carved.
Chinese Checkers is a traditional board game for 2, 3, 4 or 6 players. Each player chooses a peg colour and a starting point of the star. The objective of this game is to be the first to get all 10 of your pegs to the opposite star point. Jumping is a key feature of the rules and depending on the position of the pieces, we sometimes got lucky travelling right across the board in one move with a series of jumps.
Meanwhile Go Bang is a strategy game of territorial capture for 2 players.
All the games came with comprehensive detailed instructions. And very good value for money for excellent high quality products which should last a lifetime. These would both be great for Christmas gifts.
So I certainly recommend you have a look round their website. They currently have some great special offers. So many fabulous eco-friendly plastic-free fun toys, games and sports equipment. Plus you can get 15% off if you sign up to their newsletter.
Finally a random fact for the day, the origin of Chinese Checkers is in Germany and not China, so why do they call it Chinese Checkers?
I’d love to hear your favourite game or idea for inventing a new game.