Reviewed by Louise Totton
We are going through a phase of playing lots of board games and card games in our house at the moment. A lot of the reason for this is I’ve become quite aware of how much time my girls have been spending on their tablets, and just how anti-social it is. My eldest would quite happily vanish upstairs to her bedroom after school with hers and stay there until bedtime if she was allowed.
So I’ve started really rationing the time they are spending looking at screens (including the TV), and playing games together has become a really good replacement for it. We have lots of board games, but sometimes they can go on for a little too long, or the girls just want a very quick game of something before their tea. Drumond Park’s Dig In! seemed an ideal game to try them with – it isn’t fiddly to set up (I’ve actually hidden Mouse Trap on the top of my wardrobe, I’m so fed up of setting it up), it’s quick to play and most of all, it looks great fun.
Dig In is aimed at ages 8+, and is for 2-4 players. The premise of the game is really very simple, and involves a bowl of 128 pieces, 32 of each shape in 4 different colours, a timer and a playing card with images of six of the 128 pieces on.
The game takes literally a minute to set up. It’s just a case of pouring the pieces into the bowl, each player selecting a playing card and putting the timer in the middle of the table. The aim of the game is quite simply to dig in and retrieve all of the six pieces depicted on your card before anyone else retrieves their six pieces.
The instructions are really simple. There are no complicated rules to learn, and both of the kids knew exactly what they had to do. The game starts with each player having 15 seconds (arbitrated by the timer) on their own to locate as many of their pieces as they can. Once the timer pings, play passes to the next person, and once everyone has had a go, all of the players can Dig In together to try to complete their cards. The first player to collect all six pieces wins their card, and the first player to collect three cards wins the game.
Whilst the box does say ages 8+, I played it with my girls, one of whom is very nearly 8 and the other is 5. They both love it. The game allows for an easy version (player can collect any colour as long as the shape is right) and a hard version (both colour and shape have to match). As simple as the game sounds, when playing the difficult version, it really is fiendishly hard and was beyond the capabilities of either of the kids, but the easier version was ideal for them.
Whilst you are supposed to have each player using the same rules, it was a great natural differentiator to have the kids playing with the easy rules and the adults playing with the harder rules. It also works really well to remove 2 of the colours completely to halve the number of pieces. I found this made the game more fun and less frustrating for the kids and made for a quicker game with more rounds. Older kids of course wouldn’t need this adaptation, but the premise of the game is so simple that the rules can be adapted really easily.
We absolutely love the game, and it isn’t one that the kids will tire of any time soon. When they get older and start to find the adaptations make it too easy, we’ll change the rules back. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to play the game with just another adult, but I can imagine it will be great fun when I do. It’s a game that will suit all ages and can be adapted for all abilities. It’s much harder than it looks and can be incredibly frustrating – in a good way. It’d be a great fun game for a kids’ birthday party, sleepover or having friends over after school.
The pieces are all pretty sturdy and seem to be made well. The bowl is made of slightly flimsier plastic than I would like, so we have been placing it inside the box when we play as I’m not sure how much frantic digging in it would survive without the extra support. There are a lot of pieces, and careful putting away is required, as discovering there is a lost piece during the game would be pretty annoying.
We do love this game though, and I would absolutely recommend it. As per the instructions, I probably wouldn’t buy it for a child much under 8, but if a younger child in the house wants to join in with an older sibling’s game, it’s easy to adapt and make the game accessible for the younger child.
Available to buy from Amazon here.