We are a family which loves to play games. Card games, board games, outside games, and other games that seem to defy description. When Parent Bloggers Network was looking for someone to test the Discovery Store game Rapelli, we were happy to give it a try. The Rapelli Game is a 15 minute game which is part of the Discovery Store’s new line of bamboo products, and is designed for kids ages 4+.
Bamboo is a renewable resource which has become popular for creating everything from sheets to flooring. Bamboo grows and matures quickly, making it easy to harvest and then plant another crop, unlike slow-growing trees. Bamboo’s versatility is well-utilized in Rapelli, the pieces are multi-sectioned caterpillars, dice, and a cylinder, all of which look just like wood. Discovery has a pop-up window which explains more about their eco-friendly products, the natural materials, and environmental sustainability. Usually the consumer is torn between wood, which is natural but requires cutting down trees, and plastic, which could contain any number of chemicals, but doesn’t use up the forests. Bamboo offers a third choice which combines the benefits of both, without the negatives of either. Bamboo grows well in China, and the Discovery Store collection of bamboo toys are made in China in conjunction with several agencies.
The set-up for Rapelli takes only a few moments, the two halves of the cylinder snap together, and then the 18 caterpillars get stuck into the cylinder. The directions are easily understood – choose 2 or 3 caterpillar colors (2 if 4-6 players, 3 if the game has 2 players) to be yours for the game, then roll the dice, and follow the directions on the dice. First, find a caterpillar that matches the color on the first die, then either pull it out or push it in 1-3 segments based on the arrows on the second die. Your goal is to collect as many caterpillars of “your” colors as possible. If having players choose colors and sharing colors becomes confusing for some children, you can instead play with the goal of collecting the most caterpillars regardless of color.
We brought Rapelli to our homeschooling coop a few times, and it was enjoyed by the pack of 4-5 year olds there, in addition to being enjoyed by our family. When our family played, we followed the original directions, and while that was fun, there were certain individuals who had a hard time with the idea that their chosen color was someone else’s chosen color as well. So, when there were four 4-5 year olds playing, I tried using a variation on the directions, just collecting whichever caterpillars you could pull out. This worked much better for that age group, and while no one was happy to lose, there were fewer tears.
I am very impressed with the quality of the materials used in Rapelli, as well as the thought behind the choice of using bamboo. The game itself is fun, but several kids were confused by “pick a color” and then rolling the dice and having a color they didn’t choose appear on the die. However, once we made “house rules”, the game went smoothly, and was chosen frequently. There are 22 pieces in Rapelli, and 20 of them are relatively small, so it isn’t a game for chewers, babies, or people who always lose pieces.
I knew Rapelli was a hit when there was a chorus of “not fair!” when we had to start picking up at the end of coop. While the box says ages 4-99, it was enjoyed most by the 4-6 year olds, and they enjoyed it a lot. A combination of eco-friendly, well-made, lovely, and fun make Rapelli a winner here!
We thank Parent Bloggers Network for the opportunity to review the Discovery Store game Rapelli, We give it 4 spotlights out of 5, as the original directions were very brief and confusing to the kids, though the game was lovely enough to inspire creating “house rules”.
(This entry would usually have some great pictures of the kids playing the game, but unfortunately my camera broke)
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