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Bingo has been turned into a great children's game

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Image courtesy of ThinkFun
It's Bingo... there, I said it. All of you who want to make fun of me training my children to park their walkers and ink up a bunch of score cards before going down to Luby's Cafeteria for lunch should have at it.

But then you should shut your traps and take a look at a number of things the (sadly uncredited) designer of Zingo has done to plain ol' Bingo to turn it into a great children's game.

How Bingo Became Zingo

Rather than using the letter/number grid, they used icons with the words beneath them for a variety of very common objects, which makes playing the game with small kids very easy.

They used the sliding revealer goodie from their earlier game, Smart Mouth, so that rather than calling a single item, each turn two items are revealed. The game moves faster and you have more to take in each time.

There's a real-time component to the game -- only the first person to call the name of the tile gets it.

There are 2 or 3 of each symbol in the tiles... so you aren't out of the game if you don't snap up the first tile of a type.

The game boards have two sides -- an "easy" side (where you don't have a lot of overlap with the other boards) and a "tough" side (where there is lots of overlap). You can choose the side that makes more sense for your group -- whether you're just playing with the grandkids (easy side) or playing for blood (tough side).

Finally, rather than trying to get five in a row, you're simply competing to fill a 3x3 board. Again, this makes the game much more accessible to the younger set.

Zingo Works Well for Younger Children

My three-year-old also plays Zingo (if someone else is manning the revealer goodie) and pays attention not only to his own board but also to his mom's board. (He likes to help her out.)

The components are well-made (kudos to whoever designed the icons -- they're very easy to read and recognize) and it works well with small or large groups.

For those who love comic books, there's a Marvel version of this game as well.

One warning: the tiles must be reloaded into the revealer goodie -- which, due to tile orientation, is not a job for small children. So this isn't a game you'll be letting the littlest members of your family play on their own, even though the age range is appropriate.


Zingo is for 2 to 8 players, ages 4 and up. The designer was not credited, and it is published by ThinkFun.

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