Cake? Check. Presents? Check. Silly cone-shaped hats. Check? Other than a rousing game of pin-the-tail on the donkey, there is no activity that brings a birthday to mind quick like blowing out the candles on a cake.
Publisher, Gigamic, is looking to recreate this timeless tradition with their combination dexterity and memory game Happy Party. In this quick playing game, players are trying to blow out specific candles on the cake, and if successful, find the presents on their wish list. The theme and concept sounds unique for sure, but is it fun? Let’s dive in and find out.
Happy Party is a dexterity and memory game for 2-4 players that takes about 5-10 minutes to play. Happy Party plays well at any player count.
In Happy Party, each player has a wish list of four presents that they want for their birthday. On their turn, a player will roll dice and try to blow out the matching candles. If successful, they can hunt for their presents. The first player to get all four of their presents wins.
For such a simple game, publisher Gigamic did a great job with the components. The game box, which is used during the game, is illustrated to look like a cake. The candles, cardboard standees, are then placed on it to be blown out. This worked out well and has a nice thematic touch.
Each player gets a wish list with 4 presents on it, with every list having 2 duplicate presents. The 16 present tokens are made of a nice heavy cardboard and contain thematic illustrations. Finally the game comes with a pair of wooden dice showing different colored candles.
The rulebook, while thick, is in about a bazillion languages. There are also advanced rules if you feel like you want more of a challenge in Happy Party.
How to Play:
The game play in Happy Party is very simple. Starting with the start player, each player takes a turn by rolling the two dice. The player must then blow out the candles that match the icons on the dice (or all of them if the cake is rolled). Depending on the result of their attempt a few things can happen:
- The candles that fall are the exact ones show on the dice: The player gets to pick 2 presents from the grid, if they match their wish list, they keep them, any they don’t are put back.
- The player blows out the candles they need, plus extras: The player may pick one present instead of two.
- The player blows out the wrong candles, not getting any of the required ones: No presents are chosen and their turn ends.
The candles that fell are then placed back on the cake and the next player takes their turn. The first player that claims all four of their presents, wins.
Happy Party is a kids game from start to finish. If you were hoping this was going to be one of those crossover games (such as Adventure Land or Karuba) that you could play with your family and friends alike, you are going to want to keep looking.
Our primary testers for Happy Party were 5 and 8 years old (I’m not saying my age) and, for the most part, they had fun with Happy Party. The nice thing about the game is that blowing out candles on a cake is pretty much second nature to anybody (child and adult alike), so rules expiation is going to be minimal.
The hardest part for any child is going to be understanding how the dice work and that they need to be targeting specific candles. At first, our youngest tester was just trying to blow over as many candles as possible, but eventually we were able to make him understand that he only should hit specific ones.
For the present aspect, most kids seem to be naturals at memory match. Probably because they don’t have 100 different things going on in their head while they are trying to remember what present was were. So it’s not surprising that the kids routinely beat me at this game.
I will say that some of the excitement I heard when they found a present on their list almost made me double-check to see if it was a real present. They certainly had fun both in playing the game and also beating me at it.
They ended up having a good time playing Happy Party, and even wanted to play a few games in a row. However, eventually they were ready to move on to something else. Which brings me to one of the major downsides of Happy Party. There is not much here for older gamers.
For adults, you’ll mostly be playing to spend time with your kids. Happy Party’s game play probably isn’t going to do much for you, or even more mature kids. Fortunately, the game is short enough that you can play a few games in 15 minutes and then move on.
If your kids have already moved onto more complex games, like Carcassonne or Sushi Go!, then chances are they are going to be bored with Happy Party. This is definitely a game that’s best played with younger players.
The gameplay in Happy Party is actually pretty clever and it can be a lot of fun for kids in the right age bracket. The components are really good, highly thematic and seemed to hold up well to our little gamer’s abuse.
However, I think Happy Party is only going to appeal to a small set of age ranges due to its lack of depth and complexity. While some family games have managed to straddle the line and still appeal to adults, Happy Party isn’t one of them. Happy Party does score points for its uniqueness in both theme and mechanics, and was a hit with our younger testers.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of Happy Party, you can get it for about $20.
Final Score: 3 Stars – A clever game that will be fun for younger gamers, however there isn’t much here for adults or even older children.
• Unique game play that will feel second nature to everyone
• Great, thematic components
• Quick play time and scales well
• Too simple for adults and older children
• Not much variety in the game play