Colouring is a joyous activity. For children, it allows the opportunity to focus, develop fine motor skills, practice holding a writing utensil, and feel a sense of accomplishment at completing a task. For parents, it can provide a moment of quiet, buying us a moment of time to catch up on chores or just take a break. For adults, colouring can offer mental health benefits, and a way to escape a world that always seems to be closing in around us.
So it’s no surprise that colouring has made its way into the sphere of tabletop gaming. Perhaps we should be surprised that it took this long! Regardless, it’s here, and HABA is on board with a new entry simply entitled COLOR IT!
HOW TO PLAY IN A NUTSHELL
Inside the box are four varieties of illustrated sheets, coloured pencils in five flavours, two traditional six-sided dice, and two six-sided dice displaying the five colours to match the pencils (as well as a “wild” side represented by a sparkly star). Each turn in Color It involves rolling the four dice, followed by the selection of one number and one colour. The chosen combination is used to fill in one shape on the sheet, which must contain the number of pips from the selected die. As the sheets are brought to life with colour, players will eventually find themselves unable to use some numbers rolled, creating a race to the finish, as one player will eventually have every shape on their sheet filled with colour, which will secure them the victory!
In true HABA form, multiple modes of play are offered in the rulebook. For younger children, each player takes turns to roll the dice and colour their sheet. Meanwhile, groups of older players can take turns rolling the dice, with ALL players simultaneously selecting a combination to use. Of course, the game system is simple and flexible enough that groups should be encouraged to be creative with their game rules, finding a way to play that brings players the most joy!
WHAT’S GREAT ABOUT COLOR IT?
Bringing this game to the table in a variety of configurations, I’ve seen the different moods that Color It encourages. When it’s just adults at the table, there is a stillness that rises up, and it’s a really lovely energy to swim within. In setting the game up for my after school club kids, the energy is more frantic, with a race-like feeling, as whoever finishes first grabs the dice to prepare for the next round. And with both adults and children playing, I found a tug of war emerging between those two forces!
The game is extremely simple, but the variety of subtle emotional experiences that emerge out of that simplicity is really enjoyable.
LITTLE THUMBS : HOW IS IT FOR KIDS?
My children and their after school friends enjoyed playing Color It, and compared to many other children’s games on the market, makes for a quiet and calming experience. Due to the lack of explosive moments, it might not be a game that young players request often, but its uniqueness makes for a worthy addition to a family game shelf.
If your home is anything like mine, there is a bin of coloured pencils hiding in a cupboard. Allowing the little ones to pick out their favourite shade of each colour on the dice is a way to further extend the life of the game, and with an endless array of printable colouring sheets available online, parents could easily homebrew some fresh pages for additional variety.
BIG THUMBS : HOW IS IT FOR ADULTS?
The core concept of Color It is one that could potentially be expanded upon for an adult colouring experience, but that’s definitely not the intention behind this product. If you’re picking this game up for your children, it’s well worth having an adult-only play or two, but it’s not the kind of experience that you’ll regularly return to without children involved.
Our fingers are crossed for some more sophisticated colouring pages being developed in the future, with some rules for using multiple shades of each colour on the dice. Perhaps we’ll even tinker with some house rules of our own to extend the game to meet our tastes!
CONCLUSION : TWO LITTLE THUMBS UP!
Thank you to HABA for sending a media copy of Color It to make this review possible.