Tomy Pop Up Pirate
A classic, with a nice element of chance that makes it great for playing with younger children – they’ll get a chance to beat you!
Buy online at Tesco
Initial thoughts: I never owned Pop Up Pirate in my (obviously) deprived childhood. So I was excited to get to try it out at the grand old age of 24 (cough). Flea was pretty excited to get the box open – inside is a pirate, a barrel and 24 small plastic swords (non-pointy) of various colours. It’s a snap to put together, and we were up and running within two minutes.
To play the game, just twist the pirate into the barrel and then take turns putting swords into the holes around the side of the barrel. Sooner or later, the winner will cause the pirate to pop up out of the barrel.
We liked: It’s a simple classic. Flea thought this was really exciting, particularly because it’s a different sword and a different hole that causes the pirate to ‘pop’ each time. We played for an hour before dinner and then while I was cooking, Flea kept playing, and every so often would come charging into the kitchen, saying: “Guess which one was the secret sword this time? You’ll never guess.”
The game seems pretty robust and the pirate pops up satisfyingly high without risking injury.
We weren’t keen: Can’t think of anything I didn’t like – once Flea got the hang of how to put the pirate in herself this was something she’d play just as happily on her own as with friends and family. Possibly, it’s not as exciting to the over 10s as to the under 10s.
It’s perhaps a little disappointing that the barrel doesn’t fix to the base more effectively – you have to push the swords into the barrel until they click, but to do this you have to hold the barrel with one hand so it doesn’t topple over. Sometimes Flea ended up putting her hand over the pirate while she put the sword in, so she didn’t get the ‘pop’. She soon learned not to do that, however.
Overall: A nice family game for kids 4+, and particularly for little ones, I’d say – there’s a nice element of chance that means older kids won’t automatically win every time, no complicated rules and it’s not too fiddly. But I wouldn’t expect over 7s to be entertained by this one for all that long. Unless you were over 18 and looking for a drinking game. However – obviously – that’s not something I’d ever consider and couldn’t possibly recommend.
[By Sally, Who’s the Mummy]