I think it has been more 10 years ago? (Yeah, I’m old.) I just started work with a group of like-minded and equally young (then) colleagues. One of our favourite places to destress after work was at a board game cafe called Mind Cafe at Prinsep Street. (Yes, Mathematicians play board games after work to destress.) I had many fond memories of the cafe, spending hours with my friends plowing through versions of Ticket to Ride, Carcassone, Blokus, Saboteurs etc.
If any of the above games sound familiar to you, and if like me, you haven’t touched board games since you had kids, I’m sure you would be excited to know that there is actually a kids-friendly board games cafe in Singapore. Located at Westgate, one of my favourite malls in Singapore, Mind Games was opened by the same minds behind Mind Cafe at Prinsep Street.
Mind Games, compared to Mind Cafe, was more family oriented. They had plenty of board games that were suitable for children!
We started the day with a classic game – Hungry Hippos. Surely you don’t need me to tell you what the game is about? If you do, maybe you and I have a generation gap. Anyway.. I was quite happy to let the boys go wild with their hungry hippos without worrying about the balls flying under my coffee table and sofa if they had been playing it at home.
Sumo Ham Slam
Next, the staff took out a game called Sumo Ham Slam – which I thought was hilarious. You roll the dice to see if you are supposed to feed, train or fight the hamster. It was very easy for young kids to understand and it was downright cute.
Here’s another game that needs no introduction and great for young kids. Though the boys got into an argument whether the winner should be the person who made more or less monkeys fall to the bottom. SHEESH. Do boys fight over EVERYTHING?
This one was outrageously funny, and what was more outrageous was the fact that the boys SUPER loved it! It’s a bit like Russian roulette. You put your face on the stand, and there is this hand holding a sponge, ready to throw the sponge at your face. Everyone take turns. When it’s your turn, you put your face there and roll a dice to determine how many times you need to turn the knob. If you’re unlucky, the hand is activated at your turn and it will throw the sponge at your face.
And we are back to another childhood classic. The boys used to have this game at home and MY could play it since he was what.. 2 years old? Definitely suitable for young children.
Gobblet Gobblers was sort of a tic-tac-toe game with a twist. It is played just like tic-tac-toe, except that you can take over your opponent’s space with a bigger Gobblet. So if your opponent put a small gobblet in the middle space, you can put your big gobblet over it to take over that space. There was some logic involved which was too difficult for 3 year old MY to comprehend. But 5 year old MF was sort of able to grasp the idea.
This was my personal favourite because it made the boys laugh so hard. The aim of the game was to see who could hold on to the most eggs – with different parts of your body. You roll a dice to determine which position you have to place an egg, e.g. under your chin, under your armpit etc.
The boys never got past two eggs coz every time we reached the third egg, they would have burst out laughing at how ridiculous they looked trying to hold on to their eggs. It was a super amusing game.
I forgot the name of this game, so I’m just going to call it ‘balancing cows’. Because the aim of the game was to try to stack as many cows up as possible without toppling, using just one cow as the bottom layer. It was too difficult for MY, so MF played it on his own and managed to build quite a tall stack!
While MF was playing the balancing cows game, the staff took a game called Tutti Frutti out – which was a very simple matching game. There were many of these round game pieces with pictures of different fruits on each side, and MY just had to find and match the same fruits. I thought it was pretty good for training his concentration and he actually managed to complete matching all the pieces.
Another classic that needs no introduction. Connect Four turned out to be too difficult for MY to comprehend, but MF was able to challenge me to a few games.
While MF and I were playing Connect Four, MY was asked to go to the shelf to find a game for himself. He came back with this Disney’s Frozen version of Spot It! I bet he picked it because of Frozen, but it turned out to be a good choice. It was again a matching game. Each time, two cards were placed in front of him, and he had to find the picture that appeared on both pieces.
Sounds very easy but when I tried to do it myself, my eyes went haywire after a while and MY was even faster than me on some occassions!
I asked the staff to recommend a game that both boys and I could play together and she took out this game called Ugly Doll. It was pretty easy – all the cards with pictures of different ‘monsters’ were scattered on the table. Once a player spotted 3 cards with the same picture, the player had to pick the 3 cards up and say “Ugly ugly” and that set of cards would be that player’s. It was easy enough for both boys to play and they were able to win a few sets each!
Carcassone for Kids
I have played the adult version of Carcassone at Mind Cafe, and this kids version was similar in concept. Each game card contained paths and figures representing four different coloured teams walking along the paths. By taking turns to place a card on the table, we had to try to complete a closed path containing as many of our team’s figures as possible.
We had a lot of fun at Mind Games and time just flew by so quickly! Not sure if that was a good thing considering they charged by the hour… Lol. Board games are great family bonding activities, and I don’t think anyone wants to purchase so many board games for their home. So the idea of a board games cafe was very appealing – to pay by the hour and have access to a wide range of board games.
Information on Mind Games:
Address: Westgate #04-K3, 3 Gateway Drive Singapore 608532
Getting There: Jurong East MRT (EW24 / NS1)
Play Rates: $2.50 nett per pax per 30 minutes for all ages
Find more family fun at Jurong East!
> Westgate Wonderland
> Westgate Kids Club
> JEM Playground
> Diggersite (J Cube)
> DREAM Outdoor Playground (next to J Cube)
> IMM Playground
> Singapore Science Centre Observatory
> KidsStop Singapore
Pin this up for later!