Big Game Hunters. Maxi 4 : Bigger is Better
It is the simple and traditional games that are the most effective, fun, and timeless. Everyone can enjoy them and they are a great way to bring people of all skill levels together through play: siblings, cousins, friends, parents and their children.
Connect 4 Game
Do you remember the game Connect 4 as a child? Whether you are 2 or 72, or somewhere in between, I think this game has a real charm.
This two player game consists of a frame with a slot along the top which you place your counters in (red or yellow) into the slot so they drop to the bottom and can be seen through the holes on either side. The object of the game is simple - taking it in turns to get 4 of your colour counters in a row. When you do this, you win! If you get more than 4 in a row you have lost or forfeit the game (e.g. if you have no choice but to put a counter in a gap which does this), and you draw if the frame is completely filled and no one got 4 in a row.
Last Christmas my son was gifted a table top sized, plastic version, of this game. At the time he was nearly 3. I have to say I thought he would be too young but he really enjoyed playing with it. Disappointingly we lost several of the counters over the last year, they were just so small.
The UK based company, Big Game Hunters, have a super-sized version of this game which is called "Maxi 4", and they sent us one to try out. It is part of their range of giant games, great for the garden, but also just as fun indoors too.
What is Big Game Hunters "Maxi 4" like?
This wooden game arrived really quickly (I actually missed the delivery, but the courier that Big Game Hunters use in France informed me that they had delivered it to a very local business who kept it safe until I could collect it). It was very well packaged, such that all the pieces contained inside were perfectly intact.
I did notice that the counters needed a little wipe down as they were a bit dusty.
It is a good quality game, made of wood (which is always a material I like for the children's toys), and the counters that it comes with are plastic.
It was VERY easy to construct. It took me no longer than the time to drink my cup of tea (whilst also chatting to my sister on the phone!) to have it all up and ready.
I didn't need instructions at all, although I did receive some electronically (usually they would be contained with in the box).
What do the children think of the Maxi 4?
The children have loved playing with it. We have had some unseasonably lovely Autumn weather recently and so we have been able to enjoy it outside, as well as inside.
My 2 and 3 year old are at the very bottom of the age range that this game is for. It has been lovely to see my 3 year old son, understanding the concept of taking turns and rules, whilst counting, and starting to understand the concept of strategically making a pattern - although he is a long way from getting this right. I do often have to point out to him where he could put a counter and why!
My 2 year old daughter is starting to learn how to count and recognise colours. She gets it muddled a lot, and counts 1,2,4,3 at the moment (but makes up for this with bucket loads of enthusiasm). I have to chuckle when I ask her what colour she wants to be (having said they are red and yellow) and she squeals excitedly "BLUE!!!". However, she really is getting to grips with the concept of taking turns which is nice.
At the end of a game the children love nothing more than taking out the 2 little wooden pegs and twirling the board around so it is upside-down and all the counters fall out everywhere! They figured out how to do this themselves very early on.
I do have to make sure that they are gentle with the game. Being 3 and 2 they have little perception of their own strength and what is appropriate (*read: they are both rather clumsy!) If they were to lean on it or do anything silly, I don't think the game would fare very well. So when they are playing with it, I make sure I am there supervising and gently guiding how they use it.
How Much is it?
The Maxi 4" that we have from Big Game Hunters costs £44.99. But at the time of writing this review (October 2017) they are on sale for £29.99. Size wise it is: 58.5cm x 61.5cm x 31cm (weighs 4kg). We were also sent a few spare counters (you have to order separately), lest some should go walkies.
They come even more super-sized too. There are several different ones but the largest is the "Big 4" which is 120cm x 120cm x 4.8cm, and costs £149.99.
Delivery within mainland UK is £4.95 for any orders under the total order value of £150, and delivery to France currently is £22.88.
The customer service received from Big Game Hunters at every step along the way has been really refreshing. They have been a lovely company to work with. As well as the giant garden games, they have a product range including climbing frames, play houses, swimming pools, sandpits, sports hoops and dolls houses. You really should take a look at their website here.
We have friends with children of all ages, and there are some toys which transcend this difference. This is one of them.
I have every confidence that our Maxi 4 is going to be a loved game for many years.
P.S. We were sent this Maxi 4 game featured above for the purposes of testing and review. As always, the opinions I have given are honest and my own.