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



Lego Games City Alarm

Lego Games City Alarm

Spring 2012 Games
Ages: 6 & Up
Manufacturer: The LEGO Group
Price: $19.99
Review:

In traditional "Lego" fashion, Lego City Alert is a game that is as fun to assemble as it is to play. The Lego line of tabletop games is generally strong, and the Lego City Alert game is a solid addition to that line-up, with engaging, interesting game play that is challenging for adults and kids alike, but which still leaves enough room for kids to be competitive with adults.

Lego City Alert is a two-player game. One player plays the police force of Lego City, and the other plays a band of thieves trying to rob various buildings around the city. If the police can catch all the thieves before they steal ten stacks of money from the city, they win, but if the thieves manage to steal ten stacks of money, even if all but one of them are in jail, then the thieves win.

The game looks simple, but it is an excellent introduction to basic strategy and analysis for kids. There is enough luck involved to make the outcome uncertain no matter what your skill level: there are layers of strategy that open up as you play, and kids are able to understand them once they have played a game or two.

A seven-year-old will be able to follow the directions to create the buildings, but construction is as much a family activity as the game itself. Reviewer's Note:I find that the best way to construct the Lego products is to serve as "piece finder"; I'll find the pieces and get them ready, and then my son will attach them to the model, with guidance as necessary.

The Lego board games are modular as well; should you desire to move the buildings around, or invent new ones, you can. In fact, the rule book encourages you to develop your own alternate styles of play and includes a few suggestions to get you started.

One concern we had with the game was that it had our child playing thieves, looting buildings and running from the police. Is it a good idea to have kids identify with "the bad guys"? After playing the game, I am less concerned with this, as it actually generated some discussion about the role of policemen in society, and the actual ethics of looting (as well as the consequences). The component quality, social activity, and gameplay value are all high, and make "Lego City Alert" a worthy companion to others in the series. If your child likes Lego at all, they will enjoy this game.

Barbara Chamberlin   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Barbara Chamberlin researches and develops educational software and media at New Mexico State University's Learning Games Lab. She and her husband have two boys.

Look for this product at:
The LEGO Group
860-763-3211
http://www.lego.com
Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B005VPRCPU/parentschoice-20

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