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

Leaps and Ledges

Leaps and Ledges

Fall 2015 Games
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: MindWare
Price: $29.95

Leaps and Ledges is a game in which players race to the top of a colorful tower, knocking off opponents (and being knocked off in their turn) along the way. It is easy enough to get onto the tower -- any card in the deck will do it -- but staying on long enough to reach the summit is much trickier.

On every turn, a player produces one of the three cards from his or her hand and performs the action proscribed: this may be as simple as climbing a set number of levels (usurping anyone who is unsafely perched at the destination level), but other cards allow players to switch places with opponents in a more advantageous position, to move any piece (even an opponent's piece) up or down four places (possibly to avoid overshooting the top), to rampage past other pieces (knocking all opponents off in the process), or to make a precision move to land at the top or on another player's post. There is safety in numbers; anyone with two pieces on a level is secure.

In play, the rules are simple to follow, and game time varies significantly (5 to 10 minutes being the minimum for even a 2-player game) depending on how cutthroat the players choose to be. Games with more players (up to four) are longer but also see a lot more action; in four-player games, players can conspire in pairs to frustrate only the other pair's pieces as a means of accelerating the game and enhancing the drama.

Families familiar with the game "Sorry!" will recognize many of the same elements. Game play is somewhat faster in Leaps and Ledgers, and the smaller playing field means there is more inter-player activity in this game. The design of Leaps and Ledgers lends itself to the anthropomorphizing of the game pieces -- the pieces look like primary-colored, squarish people (in an amusing variety of poses) -- and ours usually were required to cry out ("Nooooo!!!!" "Aaaaah!!!!") as they fell, adding to the humor. Both luck and strategy play a role in the game, but the strategy is simple enough that even the youngest players can compete effectively against much older friends.

Emily Crawford   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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