Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Spring 2012 Games
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: ThinkFun Inc.
Price: $12.99

Memory games are as old as the hills, but in this troubling age of increasing Alzheimer's and dementia there's now a dual audience-youngsters building their memory skills and adults trying to retain their memory skills. As the name of this game suggests, Distraction introduces a gameplay element that's a bit out of the ordinary.

Players start with a deck of 54 round number cards and a deck of 50 rectangular "Distraction" cards. The number cards are dealt face-down to each player, and the question cards are stacked in the middle. Going clockwise, the first player turns over his top number card and says the number on it out loud: "Seven." The next player flips his top card and says the first player's number and then his own: "Seven, three." Next player does the same: "Seven, three, nine." And so on.

As the sequence of numbers grows, recalling them gets harder. Players can challenge a player they think got the sequence wrong. Also, players who draw an orange number card must draw a Distraction card and do what it says before trying to repeat the sequence of numbers. The distractions include such thought-detours as making the sound of three animals, reciting one line from a popular movie, naming an animal that starts with the same letter as your name, saying "hello" in three different languages, and more. All tasks add a little silliness to reciting numbers. And then, the player has to recite the sequence of the cards.

The first player to play his last number card and correctly recite the entire number card sequence wins the game. Not so easy, but fun-and the more players the better. Distraction requires a significant level of concentration and focus. And in a world that often seems fueled by interruption, the attention this game requires and hones is a much needed skill.

Don Oldenburg   ©2012 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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ThinkFun Inc.

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