This game for pre-schoolers from Djeco is as versatile as it is charming. What you get in the Ludanimo box is a set of 15 hollow blocks of various shapes and sizes - all open on one side, a set of six cute soft plastic animals and two oversized custom six-sided dice, but the rules offer three completely different games that can be played with these components.
'Walking the Animals' is a simple roll & move race game. You lay the 15 blocks out at random, each with the side face up that shows a coloured disc. Players each choose an animal and they roll the die that has a different coloured disc showing on each face. You move your animal to the next block that matches the colour you roll. If another player's animal is already there, you need to try to balance your animal so that it can share the location. If either falls off, you have to relocate your animal at the previous block of the same colour.
That's it. But it's enough to generate an enjoyable game that even three-year-olds can play together with little adult direction. They'll probably struggle with the small dexterity element, which comes more into play with slightly older children who have more advanced fine motor skills, but they'll have fun reinforcing their colour recognition and learning how to take turns.
The 'Hide and Seek' game is very different. This is a memory game that just utilises the three larger cubes and three larger cylinders and is designed for children to play with an adult. The idea is that the adult conceals the six soft plastic animals under the blocks. Children then roll the die that has animals on each face, and they try to find the animal they've rolled. Younger children may initially find that the pictures on the blocks give them confusing misdirection, but that's part of the game. If they identify the blocks by the animals shown on them, then they'll come to think in terms of, for example, the pink pig being located under the yellow cow's block. Again, this is a game that can additionally be used to reinforce learning on colours, prepositions and related vocabulary.
Finally, 'Tumbling Animal Tower' offers quite a challenging dexterity game that can be played either solo or competitively. Players roll the dice to generate a colour and animal, and they must then add one or the other to the stack. If you cause the stack to collapse, you lose. This is unlikely tho' to discourage younger children, who will probably have as much fun seeing their towers tumble down as they do building them up.
Full marks, as usual, to publishers Djeco for the sky-high production values in this game, from which pre-schoolers are sure to get a huge amount of play value.