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     Priced at about €12.00

TWIST! (aka Emoji Twist!) is a family game of speedy eye to hand communication. Designed by Arno Steinwender and published by Ravensburger this is for children who can count, the box suggests 8 years and upwards but as long as the child can recognise and differentiate between objects of varying sizes and, as I say, be able to count.

  

The gameplay is easy and the game is quick and very simple. The 11 number cards are shuffled and placed face up in a random circle around the box so that all players can see and reach them with ease. Then the emoji cards are placed in the box as a stack but so all the emojis can be seen, that is they are placed leaning against and slightly over one of the sides for ease of picking up. The spinner is passed around the players after each round of play.

The first card on top of the stack is laid out in full view of all players and then the player with the spinner flips the arrow. As soon as it stops, all players begin to count the number of the emojis on the card that are the same as the one pointed at by the arrow on the spinner. As soon as a player thinks they know the correct number they take the number card that equates to their answer i.e. if they believe there are 8 Smiley Faces on the card they take the number card "8". Other players can agree and give up or they can continue to count in case the first player has made a mistake. There is no time limit but each round is generally quite quick, it doesn't take long for all other players to either agree or disagree with the player who took the number card and take cards themselves or give up. Once the decision is made flip the emoji card over and the correct answer (for all emojis) is there on the card.The winner with the correct answer keeps the emoji card and the number card chosen is returned to the circle.

  

Play continues until all the 21 emoji cards have been won and then the player who has won the most emoji cards is the winner.

European families seem to really enjoy this genre of game as there are many similar available in game stores.With emojis so popular at the moment, every kid has their favourites and everyone loves Unicorns, so it isn't really a surprise that the author has picked up on this current craze and utilised it with a well used "find the" mechanic. 

The emojis on the cards are printed in a confusion of different sizes and in different orientations often touching or slightly overlapping others, and there are always just enough to make counting them just that little bit more difficult; there are never less than 5 of the same emojis on a card and never more than 15 which of course matches the numbers on the number cards.

    

The box itself is a novelty for kids to enjoy with the outer edges and the insides of the bottom section being a continuing mass of brightly coloured Emojis, you can also make up your own game of "spot the emoji" (like "Where's Wally?") using this inside; just flick the arrow on the spinner and see who can find the resulting emoji first. Another way of changing the game slightly is to shuffle and redeal the number cards so they are not in the same position each round.

EMOJI TWIST! is a fun challenge for young players to play together or with their Mum and Dad or Nan and Grandad. It helps eye to hand coordination and speed of thought and vision plus the number cards can be used to aid younger kids with counting and remembering numbers, rather like flash cards. For regular play the spinner has a good, solid, well designed arrow that spins round fluently and all cards are of sturdy material that will sustain fair wear and tear (well perhaps not so much the "tear"). The emojis are clearly defined and the cards designed with some emojis that are not in the game at all just to complete the confusion. We have played it with a 4 year old (nearly 5) and as long as we held back and gave him time he could eventually find and count the correct number, though to be fair to the game he mainly enjoyed playing "find the emoji" using the box base.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015