Monday, 20 November 2017

Review: Bugs In The Kitchen Children's Board Game

You wouldn’t think Bugs In The Kitchen would be any fun, but when it’s the board game from Ravensburger it is great family entertainment.  We had ants in the kitchen once and I didn’t find it nearly as enjoyable as this game we were sent to review. The bug in this case is a HEXBUG nano: a small battery operated robotic bug which scuttles around changing direction when it bumps into something. Players have to try to direct it into their trap.

The Bugs In The Kitchen Board Game set up with a small hand about to turn a fork


To win Bugs In The Kitchen you either need to be quick thinking and tactical or lucky. The game is fast and I found that when either my eldest or I won it was definitely more luck than skill. There are 4 traps around the board so between 2 and 4 players can play at a time. If there are less than 4 players you can close the extra traps off. 

Before You Play For The First Time

There is a bit of setting up to do, but I found my children enjoyed this. You have to push out all the cardboard tokens (you get a token each time the bug goes in your trap and the first to 5 wins the game) and you have to push all the plastic knives, forks and spoons into the board. Fortunately once set up the box still closes keeping everything safe and you don’t need to take any of it apart. 

View inside the box when first opened. The cutlery is in two parts and in bags and the sheet of counters and trap covers is visible underneath

Setting A Game Up

At the beginning of each round you need to set up the cutlery in to one of 3 suggested patterns, but this is very quick to do.  To start you turn the HEXBUG nano on  (via a switch on it’s tummy) and place it in the centre of the board. 

A close up of the dice in a small hand with the Bugs In The Kitchen game all set up ready to play

Playing The Game

Each player rolls the dice in turn and chooses which piece of cutlery to turn based on the picture you roll. The options on the dice are: knife, fork, spoon or “?”. If you get the question mark you can choose to turn any piece. By moving the cutlery it changes the maze the HEXBUG nano goes round and you hope that it will end up in your trap. Based on our experience it doesn’t always go to plan which makes it a lot of fun and means it works well when players have a wide age range.

When the bug scuttles into someone’s trap it ends the round, the winner gets a token and the board needs to be reset (with the cutlery in a suggested pattern and the HEXBUG nano in the middle of the board). The first player to get 5 tokens wins the overall game.

Close up of the Hexbug Nano about to fall into one of the 4 traps around the board

What We Thought Of It

Bugs In The Kitchen is a lot of fun. While the fast moving bug requires players to concentrate the movement is a little unpredictable leading to laughter and groans. One minute my eldest was complaining “it’s not fair” and the next she was laughing at me. I only occasionally made moves purely for her benefit and some of those backfired anyway.

Playing with a toddler around can be a little challenging as she wants to play with the HEXBUG nano, as does my cat, but everything is sturdy enough that I wasn’t worried she would break anything if she made a grab for it. The bug has survived a few cat swipes too when we accidentally sent it running off across the living room floor. I have discovered there is a benefit to having loads of toys kicked under our sofas because when the bug scurried under one (probably to hide from a toddler and a cat because I’m sure a robotic bug is capable of that level of thought) it hit a few toys, turned round and headed back out.

I recommend this game for any family with children age 6 and older, who like to play fast, fun games together. I’m confident that most children aged 4 or 5 would be able to enjoy the game too, especially if they win, but I haven’t tested this out and it is younger than the manufacturers recommendation.

The Bugs In the Kitchen board and the HEXBUG nano


***Disclosure: We were sent Bugs In The Kitchen By Ravensburger for the purpose of honest review. No robotic bugs were injured in the review process.***
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