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Friends of mine were getting married, and even though they had a small ceremony, we wanted to get them something. They have a young daughter, so we thought we’d get them a family game. We considered Best Treehouse Ever, but it was out of stock on Amazon. I did some searching and stumbled upon the Family Pastimes games. They’re cooperative games with rules for 5-7 years old, 7-12 years old, and 12+. We really like cooperative games, but there aren’t many that are for younger age groups. I ordered one game for them, and put Ogres and Elves on my wishlist. Then Christmas came around, and Ogres and Elves was one of my gifts. I had completely forgotten about it!

First of all, it’s not exactly quality craftsmanship. The board doesn’t lay quite flat and the pieces are cheap cardboard. If that’s the sort of thing that’s going to bother you, just skip this one. I wasn’t thrilled when I was punching out the tokens (several stuck), but I still wanted to play the game.

You put four treasure chests in the middle of the board: King, Queen, Prince, and Princess. Each treasure chest wants various gems. You mix up the gem tiles and place them randomly around the board. You do the same with the ogres on the castle spaces. The goal is to fill up the treasure chests. Each ogre likes certain gems and will steal them if they encounter them on the board (a dice roll determines ogre movement). You can use special tiles to protect the gems on a certain number of spaces and can move those protection tiles around on your turn. If you encounter an ogre, you can make him go away by giving him a gem as a gift, or he captures you until the next time he moves. The protection tiles can also protect you from getting captured. Your player board can hold 4 gems before you have to return to the treasure chest and distribute the gems.

Despite the game being for a younger age group, we made a few mistakes while playing. A few times we could have placed the protection tiles better, and we forgot that we could move through the ogre castles. We got stuck a few times because we thought we were trapped between ogres. Otherwise things went smoothly. We filled up all the treasure chests. We didn’t give any gems to ogres as gifts for bonus points, but I thought we did really well for the first play through.

We’re looking forward to trying it out with our son once he’s older. I’m not sure how the game is going to hold up over time, but hopefully it’ll last until we can play some of our favorite cooperative games with him.

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