Review – Zozzle

2 -4 Players, Aged 4+ with a 15 minute playing time

The guys at Zoch Verlag kindly provided 4 review copies of their memory puzzle game Zozzle (the Kinder or young children's versions).
Zozzle - Kapt'n Red Jake, the box artwork
Of their most recent batch of games these were the ones I was least looking forward to and it has to be said I was very pleasantly surprised.

What follows is an overview of the game broken down into 5 sections: The Game Components, Setting Up The GameHow To Play The GameWhat Did We Think? and finally Who Do We Think Will Like It?. So if you don't want to read the whole review scan down to the heading that interests you.

The Game Components
Each box contains 5 sets of 9 tiles making up the image on the box, with a set of nine images combining to form a 3x3 square.
Zozzle - Playing a game on the floor

Setting Up The Game
Shuffle the 45 tiles face down in the middle of the table or playing surface where everybody can reach them. All tiles have an identical back and they should be spread so that that all are fully visible i.e. none of them should be partially covered.

How To Play The Game
The aim of the game is for each player to collect 9 pieces to make a complete copy of the picture.

On a turn, a player turns over two tiles:

If the images don't match or the player has previously claimed the two tiles revealed, they turn the two tiles face down and their turn ends.

If the images match and that player doesn't already have that image in their puzzle, they claim one of the tiles, turning the other face down, and take another turn. They continue till they turn over non matching tiles or matching tiles they already have.

The first player to complete their image wins the game.

What Did We Think?
As indicated earlier I really like Zozzle as did all the children I played it with. It has strong vibrant imagery that is fun and amusing to look at. With 4 very different themes for the artwork: African animals, Pirates, a Princess and her party or finally kids playing with some birds.
Zozzle - Prinzessin Lila, the box artwork
The Princess variant has a very pink box and whether it was the pink or the princess one of our young male play testers had a real problem with the game and wouldn't play it. Disappointing and perhaps a little surprising, particularly to his parents, that this normally enthusiastic games player would baulk at a game with pink princesses.

This is a fun memory game where children face the challenge of remembering from 45 identical tiles which two are the same.

It is the interaction whether intentionally or otherwise one player ends up helping the next one by turning over non matching tiles of which one has recently been seen and a another player remembers its location, that had the children going “Oh no” and ultimately increased their engagement with the game. We also had a lively game when I played it with a mixed group of young people (10, 15, and 19) with lots of laughter and banter as we guessed and guessed wrong!
Zozzle - Oskar & Sinchen, the tiles before they have been punched
There are some limited tactics in it in that some more switched on children having turned over a tile they already have may choose not to turn over another unknown tile, thereby helping the other players, but rather turn over a tile that everybody has seen a number of times and so has already identified.

The game could also be varied slightly:

1. Making it simpler by each player having one turn whether they guess right or wrong; the play then moves to the next player. This keeps everybody involved and makes it less likely that one child will be left significantly behind and so loose interest.

2. Making it harder by allowing players to replace non matching tiles face down in different locations rather than as we played it requiring that they replace them in the some position from which they took them.

The rules don’t actually state that the tiles should be replaced in the position they were picked up from, however we played it that way with younger players.
Zozzle - My completed picture
Zoch also do a Zozzle range with photo’s of animals that works on exactly the same basis, but offer greater challenge in that the images are simpler with large expanses of plain background and so the tiles are less varied. Not surprisingly this has a slightly older starting age of 6+.

As with the Alles Tomate I personally felt that this game (or at least this version of the game) would have limited appeal to adults but that the interplay around trying to remember where the tiles you want are and being certain one minute and crushed with disappointment the next will make this a fun game for all the family.

One of the parents who played the game made the following observations:

We have various educationally themed and not so educational versions of Pelmanism (picture pairs) and at first look I was not too enthusiastic about yet another variation. However, my first impressions / assumptions were wrong and this is an excellent game. It works well as 2 player and 3 player game, we have yet to try with 4 players, but I cannot see why it would not be as good. 

We played with 40 something year old adults who enjoyed trying to prove that bringing up children and the onset of middle age has not rotted their brains. It worked well with a mixture of ages with everyone feeling involved and having a chance of winning, although children tended to do better. The only criticism would be that the box is a little large for what is inside. This makes it easy to pack away and means it might catch your eye in a shop, but if they want us to buy lots of games, we have to able to fit them in the cupboards. I do notice that you can get different picture versions and wondered if they might be combined to make a larger, more difficult and longer game and then all be stored in the one box?

Definitely a winning game, fun for young and old playing together and having fun whilst exercising their minds.

Who Do We Think Will Like It?
As with Alles Kanone (reviewed here) Zozzle will appeal primarily to parents with young children looking for a simple fun game that the children will enjoy but that will clearly reward concentration that helps develop their social and memory skills.
Zozzle - Another game on the floor
In the nature of most games and particularly those targeted at the very young it could also be used by professionals to help support learning objectives around Personal and Social Development, Language and Literacy, Mathematics, and Knowledge and Understanding of the World.

If you liked this review then other games I have reviewed can be seen here

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