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Moo's Code

With the title Moo's Code, you'll be forgiven for wondering what came first - the title or the game. No matter, Anja Wrede's light-hearted children's game involves players taking turns for the role of Chef Moo-Moo, drawing recipe cards and tapping out codes for the ingredients in what is effectively a variation of Morse Code. The other players are listening to the codes tapped out, identifying which ingredients list they refer to and are racing to be the first to slap their hands on the correct ingredient card laying in the centre of the table. To vary the diet, the recipe deck also includes some mouse cards: when the Chef draws one of these they should shriek and drop the spoon used for tapping out the codes. Other players race then to slap the ingredient card showing the mouse.

Gameplay is really no more complex than the traditional Snap! card game. Moo's Code is aimed at younger children, and there's educational value in developing listening skills. Pre-schoolers will especially enjoy the physicality of making a grab for cards but they'll be reinforcing simple counting skills in the process. The codes for the ingredients all correspond to the number of syllables: egg (1), apple (2), white sugar (3), tho' chocolate bar (4) may sow some confusion among youngsters otherwise unaccustomed to annunciating the second syllable. They may be more used to pronouncing it as 'chocklet bar' with three syllables rather than four.

Jolly Thinkers have done a great job in the production of this simple children's game. Along with the decks of attractive cards - colour-coded so that you can strip cards out to make game-play even easier when playing with toddlers - Moo's Code comes with its own wooden spoon for tapping out the rhythmic codes. Between the multiple ingredients in a recipe, the Chef is also encouraged to make a stirring action with the spoon to separate out the constituent ingredient codes.

If you're looking for a stocking filler for a pre-school child, then Moo's Code could be just what Santa ordered.

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