What I love about Clumsy Thief is that not only is it fun, but it also helps my kids with their math skills. My almost 9 year old is pretty good at math, but he still gets confused sometimes and thinks that 85 plus 25 is 100. Some things just take practice, and this game is a great way for kids to get in that practice without even realizing it. Another thing I love is that even thought the box says 8+, if we modify the rules just a little bit, my 6 year old can play independently with a cheat sheet and my 4 year old can play with a little adult help. The rules are easy to understand. It’s just the adding that is a little tricky for them.
Product: Clumsy Thief
Company: Melon Rind
Recommended Age Range: Any age (Even my 2 and a half year old plays. He might not get a whole lot out of it, but he has fun.)
Price Range: ~$10
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Comments: My 8 year old son started playing Clumsy Thief in our homeschool co-op with other kids in 3rd through 5th grades. He thought it was so much fun, I ended up buying it for our family. To play, players are supposed to make stacks of money that add to $100. Stacks of money can be stolen from other players if the top card of their stack can be combined with a card in your own hand to make $100. Money can also be stolen using thief cards. Once a thief is put in jail, that stack of cards can no longer be stolen.
The way the rules are written, all of the stealing happens simultaneously in a free-for-all until no one can play. Then everyone gets a new card. Although my 3rd grader enjoys playing like this with kids his own age and older, it would have been too overwhelming for my younger kids. Instead, we take turns going around in a circle. If you can’t steal on your turn, you get to draw a card. This might not be as fast-paced as the game developers intended, but it is still fun.
In order to tell which cards add to 100, my daughter looks at the cheat sheet I made her. I just look at my 4 year old’s hand and tell him when he can steal. I saw recently that there is not a Clumsy Thief Junior that lets kids practice adding to 10. I think I might buy that for my 4 year old for Christmas. Also, note that if you’re playing with younger kids, my family uses these card holders for the kids that can’t hold their own cards.
The biggest problem with this game is that my kids need a lot more practice to be able to steal from each other without occasionally losing their minds. As with Ruckus Junior (see my review here), the game is a lot of fun, but sometimes having a brother or sister take your cards is just too much to bear. Good sportsmanship is an ongoing challenge in our household. However, if I start young, I hope that the day will come when they will realize that playing is more fun than pouting.
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