Christmas Toy Reflection Reviews

Now that it’s been a month since Christmas, I thought I’d take a look back on some of the toys we got and give them two ratings from 1-10. The first for anticipation levels leading up to the Big Day, the second for actual fun and value. Because hey–we all know that some toys soar and some crash. Maybe our experience can help you find some great toys. Here we go:

Dominoes:
Anticipation: 0–I got these as a surprise for the fam. The kids hadn’t expressed any interest in having some, but I got them anyway.
Actual fun: 7–We’ve played with them as a family at least four times since Christmas, and everybody has a great time. We’ve stuck to Mexican Train so far, and the rules are simple enough that TRC can play on his own and beat me and Denisa as often as we beat him. Great purchase. Cheap, and lots of fun. Definitely worth it.

LEGO Master Builder Academy:
Anticipation: 5–TRC really wanted more Legos. I looked around for a while and ended up getting a family subscription to the Master Builder Academy, which sends us a pack in the mail once a month, and supposedly teaches all sorts of tips and tricks to become a master builder.
Actual fun: 8–Again, TRC loves it. Getting stuff in the mail as a kid is never a bad thing, and he’s really taken the lessons to heart. I’ve seen his constructions improve. It’s a fun kit, and I’ve enjoyed getting them myself. Hey–you can never have too many Legos.

Rocksmith:
Anticipation: 10–I had huge hopes for this. I’ve blogged about that already.
Actual fun: 10–Until I broke my elbow, I’d played this every day I could, usually for at least an hour a day. One of the biggest bummers I have about my broken elbow is the fact that I can’t play this game for now. It’s that good.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Anticipation: 8–New Zelda, with cool sword 1:1 motion accuracy? Sign me up!
Actual fun: 6–A bit of a let down–especially at first. It took too long to get into the game. But now that I’m into it, it’s going much better. It’s a great game for me to be able to play while TRC watches, and I expect the actual fun rating to end up around a 7 or 8, which isn’t too bad, all things considered.

7 Wonders Game:
Anticipation: 7–I’d heard really good things about this game, and I thought long and hard before I chose it as the game to buy this year for Christmas. That’s a lot riding on one game.
Actual Fun: 0–Big disappointment. Not because the game is bad. I haven’t had a chance to play it. I broke open the rules, got ready to play with Denisa, and found out that it’s designed with three or more players in mind. It’s got a 2 person variant, but it’s supposedly too confusing if you haven’t played with 3 or more already. That ain’t gonna fly with Denisa. So this one will have to wait for a few years until TRC can play, too. Big bummer.

Apple TV:
Anticipation: 7–I wanted this to fill a few holes in my AV library–primarily as a way to get content from a computer/iPad to my TV screen.
Actual Fun–5–Not quite what I wanted, but it scratches most of the itches I wanted it to. I’ve used it to watch TV through my iPad onto my big screen, and I’ve streamed music with it. Mainly disappointing from an “it ought to be capable of more” standpoint.

Nerf N-Strike Maverick
Anticipation: 9–TRC really wanted a new Nerf. He loves these things
Actual Fun–2–It broke not too long after he got it. He still uses it a bit, but it was, on the whole, a let down I think.

Those are some of the highlights. Other items that went over well were the Yoga DVDs I got Denisa–she’s used them almost every day, which I count as a roaring success. The Kitchenaid cover? Not so much. She just uses the Kitchenaid too much for it to make any sense covering it. I should have seen that one coming. Whoops. Still, it was all told a fairly successful Christmas, mainly due to avoiding buying the garbage they advertise on TV and going for quality, well-reviewed products, instead. For that reason, it’s been really useful to not have TV for TRC and DC to see ads for the crummy products. Much easier to get them excited for things that are actually worth getting excited for. Ya know?

How about you? Any particular toys/items that were very successful or disappointing? Do share. I have two kid birthdays coming up, after all. Always looking for ideas . . .

3 Comments

  • By Kristy, January 24, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

    Brenna has been loving Scribblenauts for her DS. She’s still not a fantastic speller on her own, so we play together a lot, but she loves figuring out ways to solve the puzzles, and just uses me as a spell checker. 🙂

    She also got more parts of the Egypt themed Lego set that she adores, and that’s been a big hit.

    Jonas’s bit hits were a remote controlled dumptruck with a construction zone set and a LeapPad.

  • By james, January 24, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

    Here are some game ideas: 2 person for grownups: lost cities (card game) and Architekton (map building game).
    For family games we’ve enjoyed Kinder Bunnies, the kid friendly version of Killer Bunnies card game (multiple versions of gameplay should help the game get more complex as our kids, 5 & 4 get older- simple version still keeps us entertained).

  • By Bryce Moore, January 26, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

    Kristy–Thanks for the suggestions. Egyptian Legos sound especially awesome.

    James–Denisa and I love Lost Cities. I’ve never heard of Architekton before–I’ll have to check it out. Killer Bunnies I haven’t played–that’s another one to investigate. Thanks!

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