I’ve always been a fan of Peaceable Kingdom and their family-friendly cooperative games. Stack Up! is no exception. It follows a very similar formula to some of their other games but in a different manner enough to make it stand out in Peaceable’s lineup.
Playing Stack Up! is very simple. You spin the spinner, collect the color block listed, and stack it. If you manage to stack all 12 blocks everyone wins!
Of course, it can’t be that easy or the game wouldn’t be enjoyable.
The first hiccup in your plans is the Stack Smasher, a glove-shaped monster. If you the spinner lands on his picture then he gets to move up his movement track, ever closer to the stack. If he reaches the stack then it topples and everyone loses. He also gets to move if the spinner lands on a color that’s no longer available.
The spinner can also land on a challenge. When this happens a challenging tile is flipped over and the current player and the player to their left have to complete the challenge together, each using only one hand…or stick.
The last wrench tossed into the mix are the sticks. Older players can use these to provide a bit more challenge. Each stick has two sides: one with a wooden pin and the other with a spongelike tip. The sticks become even more of a challenge during a challenge. Then each player involved takes one and tries to stack the current block.
Of course, the game is really only very challenging for young children, which is the target audience.
Peaceable Kingdom is great about using recycled materials, and their boards, cards, and rules are all very nicely made. The Stack Smasher is a thick cardboard on a plastic stand and seems sturdy enough for the amount of use it will actually see.
The wooden blocks are light, painted, and fairly good quality. This isn’t fancy hardwood, but it works for what’s needed in the game. It would probably be a bit tougher to younger players if they were much heavier.
The sticks are solid, smooth, and put together rather well. The spongelike material on the ends doesn’t feel like it’ll come off anytime soon. I would suggest keeping an eye on little ones playing this, as they seem to think the ends look like marshmallows and need to go into their mouths.
Stack Up! is another great game in an already excellent line-up by Peaceable Kingdom. I’ve played this one will all four of my kids and they all enjoy it, though my two-year-old and six-year-old get the most enjoyment out of it. It’s not a game I’d really recommend for families with older kids as it really does get much easier to play the older the players get.
As a light family game for younger kids? It’s great. The dexterity element is really nice for the really little kids as it’s enough of a challenge to keep them interested, but not so hard that they easily get frustrated.
A copy of Stack Up! was provided free for review by Peaceable Kingdom.
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.
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