Melissa and Doug make games? Please don’t adjust you glasses. You read that correctly. Melissa and Doug and now more than just a company that makes great toys. They have branched into the world of strategy games.
For years I had been a fan of Melissa and Doug’s high quality toys. When I opened the box for Suspend, I starting wondering if their games would live up to the standard they set with their toys. Happily, it did.
The game is very simple to understand. Your goal is to add a series of metal rods to what looks like a modern art sculpture. It’s a little like Jenga and a little like Villa Paletti. There are 24 game rods which is divided up among the players. The goal is to be the first player that gets rid of all their rods. The rods all have notches and you can hang your new piece on a notch or a straight section of any existing rod. If you hand a piece that causes another piece to touch the table you must reposition you piece. If you cause one or more pieces to fall then you must pick those pieces up and them to your pile.
It’s that simple. Well, the rules are simple, learning to balance the piece you add might take a little practice. The official rules add a few restrictions, such as you can only use one hand to place a piece. You should really think of these restrictions as optional, since they only really serve to make the game more challenging. You might want to relax the rules for younger players, while enforcing them for the adults. This is a great way to give a slight handicap to the kids. Of course, I suspect that after a few games the kids will be better than the adults and you might have to give the adults the handicap.
The game base is wood and the rods are all metal with plastic nobs on the ends. It’s very high quality and should last for years and years. I must give Melissa and Doug high marks for placing a highly visible Choking Hazard Warning right on the front of the package. So many companies try and hide that warning. Melissa and Doug put it front and center. It’s obvious that children’s safety really matters to them, as it should.
One personal pet peeve:
The game package is a plastic tube. I really hate games that are not in rectangular boxes. The reason is that they do not sit well on the shelf. They are difficult to stack. Also, are much more susceptible to falling off the shelf. Of course, I have over 300 games on my bookcases, so having new ones fit well is probably a more important issue for me. I still love the game. I would just love it a little more if it came in a box.
The package says for Ages 8+. I think that is a very conservative recommendation. Younger players might need to use both hands, but they should have no trouble playing.
You can find this gem just about everywhere that carries Melissa and Doug products.
Here in Durham, I recommend going to:
702 Ninth Street
Durham, NC 27701