Toy name: Yeti In My Spaghetti
Manufacturer: PlayMonster (formerly Patch Products)
Price range: $12-$15
Suggested age range: 4-15 years
Needs batteries? No
Yeti in My Spaghetti is a game for pre-schoolers and up that will provide a nice break from endless repetitions of Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. It is simple to play but amusing and suspenseful enough that it can be fun for a game with a group of friends the same age, or with older siblings, or as part of a family game night.
Yeti in My Spaghetti comes with a red pasta bowl, 30 yellow noodles, and the white and blue yeti figure. All pieces are made of plastic. To set up the game, put the bowl in the center of the table or other playing area, lay the noodles across it (it’s easiest to hold them in a bunch and let them spread over the top of the bowl randomly, replacing any that roll too far and fall off) and then perch the yeti on top of the noodles.
The style of play is similar to pick-up sticks, Jenga, or other games where the object is to remove pieces until something falls. In this case, each player removes one noodle, trying to avoid letting the yeti fall into the bowl. If you drop the yeti, you lose the game!
Because the rules are easy to understand and there is no reading or complex thinking involved, even toddlers can enjoy this game, and it’s a fun one to pull out when you have kids over a range of ages because everyone will get into it. For the same reason, it’s fun for a family game night. The game only takes a few minutes to play, so you can play multiple times or just have a quick game while waiting for dinner to cook.
Besides the concepts like taking turns that all games teach, Yeti in My Spaghetti helps build dexterity and fine motor skill, as well as visualization (as you have to look carefully at the structure of the noodle pile and anticipate whether a particular noodle will cause the yeti to shift position). Older players can even learn strategies of choosing moves that leave the yeti perched precariously for the next person’s turn!
The manufacturer’s recommended age range is 4-15 but I think 3- and even 2-year-olds could enjoy it with older kids or parental assistance. On the other end of the age range, it’s silly and funny enough that older kids and even adults can enjoy playing with younger ones.
The only complaint in the user reviews I checked out was that the box itself isn’t very sturdy and it’s hard to get the game back into it. Only one review mentioned this, and they said that they tossed the box and keep the game in a ziplock bag — problem solved!
As a relatively new game, Yeti in My Spaghetti has received a good amount of acclaim. In 2015 it won a Parents’ Choice Recommended Award, the FamilyFun Magazine “Toy of the Year” Award, and the TillyWig “Best Family Fun” Award.
And all of this fun is very reasonably priced, as well. The suggested retail price is $17.99, but most stores have it for somewhere between $10 and $15 (as I write this, the Amazon price is $12.71). I would recommend it as a go-to inexpensive gift for pre-school age kids, and it fits the price range for a reasonable birthday gift for a school or neighborhood friend’s birthday party as well.