In our age of tablets and apps, it can be hard to stay engaged with the world around us. Many younger children have just been around screens and see that as a primary form of entertainment. Classic forms of fun such as board games might be fun for a little while before they go back to playing something online. Things can be just as hard for adults to play something that isn’t coming out of a screen. It can also be hard to gather round with friends and play something new without having to learn a million complicated rules. Its hard to be too upset by the shift since iPads and laptops can be invaluable tools for education and reference. Still, there is nothing like playing with something tangible that can create memories that virtual things can’t. Having a game that everyone can play and learn together is a true rarity. Luckily, T.A.P.E.S! is around to do just that while also turning your entire house in a space for creative thinking.
T.A.P.E.S! (Turn-based Approximate Proportion Estimation Showdown) has many of the trappings of a board game but without the actual board. The game, which is charmingly packaged to look like a construction grade clipboard, has a spinning wheel and score cards.
What makes the game unique is that it comes with a set of measuring tapes. Along with the normal units of measurement like centimeters and inches, there are a wide variety of strange units that include gummi bears, hamburgers, and pizzas. The rules are simple: players take turns picking objects around them and then spins a wheel to determine how that object will be measured. Everyone then has to estimate how many of that unit equals the length, width, or height of that object. The player who comes closest to the actual measurement wins the round.
What makes the game so good is that it sidesteps many of the roadblocks that comes from playing board games. The quick setup and easy to follow rules means that there isn’t a complicated introduction that might overwhelm kids or adults. As long as they understand how to measure an object, they already understand the main mechanics. That is not to say T.A.P.E.S! is too simple, as there are optional modifiers on the spinner that can add some extra challenge before a game begins.
Where the game truly shines is that it allows people to get up and move to look for objects to measure. Not being tied to a single location means that players can go anywhere in the house to find something that could be fun to measure. The form factor of the game itself means it can also be played indoors or outside. Having the flexibility to have a new environment to play gives the game an incredible amount of staying power.
The variety of units of measurement makes the game entertaining for all ages but also adds a very welcome learning element for kids. Figuring out how many Weiner dogs make up a mailbox makes for random fun, but it also teaches concepts like scaling and ratios. In our household, our children had extra fun just going around measuring things without playing the game. It just became a fun way to think about the world and how things relate to one another. Playing T.A.P.E.S! became a conversation starter about how to measure and estimate sizes. Even if your children are older, they can still have goofy fun combining squirrels and tables.
T.A.P.E.S! is a great pick up and play experience that pretty much anyone can enjoy and make their own. Regardless of your age range, you can find something fun to engage with. Whether its for an official game night, or while on a road trip, the game is perfect regardless of where you are. Most importantly, it gets us away from our phones and tablets just long enough to have some laughs and connect with friends or family. You owe it to yourself to keep this game handy for parties, family gatherings, or just to pass the time.