dadcraft Favorites: Blue Orange Games

  by Andrew Wolgemuth

Our household enjoys several games made by Blue Orange, and so it felt natural to say that Blue Orange Games are a dadcraft favorite. But then I discovered: Blue Orange makes a ton of games!

Amazon returns 204 “Blue Orange” results. Blue Orange’s “games” section on its website feels like an eternal scroll (though it’s not, and it allows you to narrow this potentially overwhelming list based on the age of players).

That to say, many Blue Orange games are favorites, but we’ve only scratched the surface of what they offer. Here are six of our favorites from this favorite game-maker.

Spot-It – If you know of a single Blue Orange game, it’s likely Spot-It is that game. It’s simple to play: two cards are flipped over and each card has multiple objects on it. Two (and only two) of the cards’ objects match; players race to find the match and call it out. What happens then depends on the variant of the game you’re playing, and you and your kid(s) will find the quick gameplay and unique skill of object-matching to be captivating. If you play slowly, young children are capable of playing.

Pengoloo – Essentially, this is classic “match” with a twist: rather than flipping cards and looking for matches, you’re picking up hollow penguins and attempting to find a colored egg that matches the roll of your dice. There are a few twists that add to the fun (such as being able to steal eggs from your competitors) and a few variations that allow you to make the difficulty pair with the participants’ abilities. Blue Orange suggests that kids 4 and up can play the basic game.

Kingdomino – This one is a bit more complicated than the two above, and it’s suggested for kids 8 and up. It’s a relative (if you will) of classic dominoes with a sort of Monopoly-like twist as you make strategic decisions about what types of landscapes you’re building your kingdom with. Fortunately, Kingdomino has a very un-Monopoly-like game length of 15ish minutes; games move quickly and vary nicely in how events unfold.

Zimbbos Animal Stacking – Zimbbos works for older toddlers on up as – in its simplest form – it’s just a fun stacking game. Stack the animals in a tower, keep the tower from toppling, and be the person who places the tenth animal to win.

Double Shutter – Blue Orange suggests that this game is for those 8 and up, but I’ve found it to work with kids much younger. You can play solitarily, competitively, or cooperatively, and the cooperative approach works well for younger kids. A player rolls the two dice and then turns down numbers that add up to the total of the dice. In the process, basic strategy is learned and math skills are incidentally developed.

Go Gelato – At its core, this is a matching game: players seek to match the color of their ice cream scoops and cones to a card. But it’s has a bit of strategy as players move scoops to cones in order to shift from one card pattern to another. It’s also an action and dexterity game as players are racing each other to move through their cards. The full game is recommended for kids six and up, but my toddler son likes to work with me to just do the cone/card matching element.

The above games are current favorites; the six below look to have the makings of future favorites (descriptions are from product pages with marketers’ breathless exclamation points removed):

Fastrack – A wooden tabletop game for 2 players, ages 5 and up…a high-speed disc-flinging game powered by your finger. Use the elastic band to fire all of the discs through the tiny slot to the other side of the track. Aim carefully but act fast or you’ll be bombarded by your opponent’s zooming discs. Ride the fine line between speed and accuracy to win.

Photosynthesis – 2 to 4 players. Ages 8 and up…the green strategy board game. Plant and shape the ever-changing forest as you cultivate your seeds and your strategy. Take your trees through their life-cycle, from seedling to full bloom to rebirth, and earn points as their leaves collect energy from the revolving sun’s rays. Carefully pick where you sow and when you grow, as trees in the shadows are blocked from light, and from points.

New York 1901 – For 2-4 Players. Ages 8 +…a game involving territory control and city building during 1901. Players try to score the most points by constructing, demolishing, and rebuilding skyscrapers on the famous streets of New York City. On your turn, you will have a simple choice: would you rather acquire new land to build on, or knock down your existing buildings to make room for bigger and better ones? You will need to expand your territory and construct your buildings shrewdly if you want to rise to the top of the real estate moguls of New York 1901.

Clear for Takeoff – 7 years and up…gather enough cards to send airplanes through the different stages of takeoff, and then high into the sky. Navigate weather problems, mechanical failures, and your opponents’ strategies in order to successfully launch your whole fleet. Get all of your planes off the ground before your opponents do to win.

Kaboom Family Action Game – Ages 6 and up. 2-5 players…Enter a war of destructive construction where builders erect teetering towers that saboteurs try to smash with their demolishing dice. As the master builder, you must assemble your tower against the chaotic onslaught of catapults to try to get the most points. But come next round, you’ll be the saboteur behind the catapult creating a catastrophe for your opponent builder. Will you build multiple towers against your enemies? Or will you try for the grand prize and master the Mega tower?

Djubi Dart Ball – 5 – 15 years…Djubi Dart Ball game brings a new twist on the game of darts. With the Djubi balls and launcher, take turns firing away at the target. Whoever gets to 500 points first wins.


A few other favorite games include these four card games, Otrio, and Pass the Pigs.

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Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash