Spot It! Review
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Players: 2-8 (ages 7+)
Playing Time: 5 minutes or more

Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, everyone was looking for Waldo—a bespectacled guy in a striped shirt, who hid in strange and magical lands in a series of boldly illustrated books. If you loved staring at the pages of a Where’s Waldo? book—and if you happened to have a talent for spotting Waldo in the tightest of places—then you’ll love the fast-paced picture-spotting game, Spot It!, too.

Spot It! includes instructions for four mini games, which can then be combined to create a Spot It! tournament, lasting as long (or as short) as time permits. All four games use a deck of 55 circular cards, each of which includes eight different images—for example: a cactus, a cat, a pencil, cheese, an apple, a balloon, a dolphin, maybe even a word (like “ART”). No two cards are alike; in fact, no two cards have more (or less) than one image in common.

The challenge, then, is to spot the matching images on any pair of cards. The faster you can spot it, the better. Depending on the game you choose to play, you could be collecting cards, getting rid of cards, or giving cards to your opponent, but the goal is always the same: to find those matching icons faster than your opponents do.

I have no idea how Spot It! works. I don’t know how the designers managed to create cards in such a way that every single pair of cards in the deck has just one image in common—no more, no less. I don’t know what kind of mathematical equation was required to make it all possible. I do, however, know that the resulting game is a whole lot of frantic fun to play.

Though Waldo never shows up on the Spot It! cards, the idea is the same. For the most part, the rules of all four games are simple—and once you get a feel for the cards and their magical matching icons, you’ll have no problem playing. In fact, Spot It! is a great game for players of all ages. There’s very little reading involved (just a few short words), and there aren’t any strategies to learn, either. Though a few of the images might be somewhat confusing for some younger players—who might not know what to call a knight from a chess board, a G-clef from a line of music, or a yin-yang symbol—they’ll learn quickly (and, like older players, they’ll often make up names as they go along).

Playing may be easy, but winning is a completely different issue. Like those Where’s Waldo? books, it’s a whole lot trickier than it sounds. No matter which mini game you’re playing, you’re constantly in a race against your opponents—and that pressure often makes it all the more difficult to focus on the pictures in front of you. It’s a nerve-wracking, high-energy game—one that requires you to think fast and blurt out answers before anyone else does. But that’s what makes Spot It! such an exciting game: it’s fast, it’s crazy, and it’s anybody’s game.

If you have an eye for detail and lightning-fast reflexes, you’ll love this lively little game. And since it comes in a small tin, you can pack it in a backpack and play a game or two whenever you have a few minutes to spare.

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