As a father to twin four-year-olds, I consider it a life goal to keep them as far away from some of the usual mass market games as I can. You know the ones: Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, any form of Monopoly. So they’ve been fed a steady diet of games from HABA, Foxmind, and Blue Orange Games (among others). It’s a game from that third publisher we’ll be talking about today.
Tongues Out is a memory and matching game published by Blue Orange Games. In it, players are trying to collect adorable pugs with different color tounges. Is it a fun game to play with your little ones? Let’s find out!
The game starts with the dozen pugs in the center of the table. Each player grabs a player mat and the first player rolls the two dice. They must then choose two pugs from the center of the table and give them a squeeze. If the color of the pugs’ tongue matches one of the colors from the dice, they can collect it into their score pile. If they happen to select two correct pugs, they get to take another turn.
Players take turns in this manner until all the pugs have been claimed (or one player collects 6 of them). In which case, the player with the most pugs wins.
If we were rating games purely on a cuteness scale, Tongues Out would get high marks. Both of my kids loved the “toy factor” of the game. They immediately wanted to play with the little toy dogs. But alas, we must also learn the rules and see how the game is.
For the gameplay, it’s a pretty standard memory match game. Once you start seeing where the colors are, then it’s just a matter of rolling the dice and matching things up. Our kids were able to pick up the rules really quickly. If things worked perfectly it’d be an easy recommendation for those looking for a toddler game.
However, two issues hold this one back. First, is that the pugs don’t always work correctly. Many times you’ll squeeze one, and its tongue gets stuck out and won’t retract. Usually, we have to give it a few more squeezes to go back in. For my kids, it wasn’t a huge issue as they barely follow the rules anyway. But for anyone a bit older, it’s a bit of an annoyance. If your game is based on a gimmick, then that gimmick should work.
The second issue is what happens when you start getting down to the last few pugs. Eventually, you’ll roll the dice and know that none of the few pugs left will match either of the dice. At this point, the rules say you should pick someone else’s pug for a match. This is a pretty inelegant solution that not only required trying to remember what each other player had on their board (especially on my kid’s boards who are constantly playing around with theirs), but also trying to explain the shift in rules to players. It just caused confusion among my little ones.
Other than that, the game works well. It does a good job of teaching my kids matching skills and color recognition (although they are pretty past needing help on the second one). But it’s a fast game that can at least keep them entertained with the toy dogs.
For a game that you can toss to your kids to keep them busy for a while, Tongues Out is great. Its rules are easy enough to learn that my kids can play on their own. And when they eventually devolve from caring about the rules, the toy dogs give me a little bit of extra mileage in keeping them busy. But as a game for older kids or adults, there isn’t much here. There are better memory games in general that not only don’t have the component issues but have a better ruleset as well. As always, I don’t give out review scores for games aimed at this age range, because your mileage will very much depend on the age and experience of your little one.