Disclosure. This post is a review of products I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.
Regular followers of my blog may have seen when I featured the family fun we had playing Chinese Checkers and Shut The Box about 6 weeks ago. So I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to review another two products for free from Jaques of London, .
Their wooden toys all look excellent for younger children and some are suitable for babies. And it is excellent that they are made from 100% sustainably sourced wood. However as the boys are both in double figures now, I have chosen two traditional classic games – a Draughts Set and Tiddlywinks.
Once again very fast dispatch and beautifully presented, although still encased with the needless layer of single use plastic. I did highlight this to Jaques following my previou post and they have passed my comments onto their Product development team. It is something that they are looking into changing for the future of being a sustainable business.
I was very interested to read that Tiddlywinks was a Jaques invention back in the 1800s, patented under the name Tiddledy Winks. Those who have more than a passing interest can read all about the history and official tournaments on the Tiddly Winks Association website. Yes you read that right – the game has its own Association. Who would have thought that this game, which I had always imagined to just be a fun children’s pastime, is actually as strategic as the likes of chess?
The version of Tiddlywinks that I received is the travel edition, so it didn’t include a playing mat, but no problem, we just mapped out an area on the carpet with the Jaques ribbons. Good bit of thinking that. No idea if it was the correct size though, so might be worth specifying on the instructions. However don’t worry, for the purists amongst you, they also sell a full version including a baize mat. Plus bonus points – the full edition has been manufactured to the original 1800s Jaques design which looks amazing.
I was wondering what the winks would be made of, as I’ve only ever seen plastic tiddly winks. However these are also plastic which was a slight disappointment. Also the instruction sheet needs some proof-reading, since it is inconsistent in regards to the number of tiddly winks, as to whether each person plays with 4 or 6. But we didn’t have a choice, as only 4 were included apart from lucky red who got 5.
As we read the rules, we did laugh over some of the terminology. The large winks are called squidgers which makes sense, but if your wink lands on top of another wink, the one on top is squopping and the one underneath has been squopped. Where did they come with those words? However my son managed to do something which hadn’t been defined. He got a wink trapped under the pot. Who can come up with an equally silly name to define that?
We found Tiddlywinks was a fun game to play, although I couldn’t seem to get the knack, as almost every time, my wink ended up outside the playing zone, so I kept forfeiting my next turn. I didn’t manage to actually pot any winks. We left the pot open, so we effectively had 2 chances at potting, but even so nobody got all 4 potted in the time limit. 2 was the best, so we definitely need more practice. We cetainly won’t be entering any tournaments anytime soon. Not sure whether the pot should have been left open or closed, but if we had closed it, none of us would have potted, as all winks potted were in the larger lower pot.
Tiddlywinks can be either played as 2 teams of 2 or upto 4 individuals. A great game for all the family apart from very young children due to the risk of swallowing small pieces. Perhaps Jaques could consider producing a version with giant winks as the hand coordination element would be good for young children.
Moving on to the second game. The solid wooden draughts board looks very elegant but I am in two minds as regards the quality of the pieces. This is because one piece doesn’t look as attractive as all the others. So on the one hand I am pleased since they are hand-crafted but on the other hand I want them to look perfect as a set. Sorry am I being too greedy?
I don’t think I’ve played draughts since childhood, but the instructions were clear to follow. However I think I should have chosen to play my first game against one of the boys rather than my husband as he remembered the rules no problem and absolutely whooped me in a very short time, crowning 3 of his pieces. A great strategic game.
Both games are very good value for money, for excellent high quality products which should last a lifetime. Suitable for children or adults. Buy for yourself or as gifts. And lots of screen-free fun family time together.
The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed I got a surprise bonus in the draughts. A prize code. So keep your eyes peeled when you order, in case you get extra lucky too!
Jaques of London have an amazing heritage. They are a long-established games, toys and sports manufacturer spanning 8 generations of the Jaques family back to 1795. 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 certainly recommend you have a look round their website. They 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. And they currently have a promotion where some lucky shoppers will win their money back.
So what is your favourite game?