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Shaky Manor by Blue Orange Games Review

Theme and What is it?

The manor on the hill seems to be cursed. Legends say that the manor rocks and tilts during the night and things are moving behind the windows. To break the manor’s curse, one must summon into one room some of the ghoulish ghosts, wandering eyes, slithering snakes, crawling spiders or other creepy objects that have been hiding in the manor’s walls. Will you be the first to end this curse?

Shaky Manor is a dexterity game for just about all ages. Players each have their own maze box with creepy objects inside. Players shake their box to meet objectives on cards. There are two ways to play the game.

Gameplay Mechanics

There really is no setup. Once the manors are built, they are in the box with all the pieces inside. Players each take a manor and shake the manor up and then pass it to the player to their right. The cards are double sided. One side shows the room color and the other side has the objects that can be in a room. There are two variations of gameplay:

Game 1

  1. Shuffle the cards and set aside with the objects side face up.
  2. Players will only use 1 meeple, 1 ghost, and 3 treasure chests inside their manor.
  3. Turn over the top card to show the specific room.
  4. All players compete at the same time by tilting and shaking their boxes to get ONLY the meeple and 3 treasure chests into the specific room. The ghost cannot be in the room.
  5. The first to complete, gains the room card as a point and the player to their right chooses one of the other objects to add to the winner’s manor. This makes it a little more difficult for future rounds as only the meeple and 3 treasure chests can be in the specific room.
  6. The first player to get to 5 points wins the game.

Game 2

  1. Shuffle the cards and set aside with the room side face up.
  2. Players will use all of their objects inside the manor.
  3. Each round, players will shake their boxes and pass to the left before beginning the round.
  4. Flip the top card to show the objects. Players compete to get the objects from this card into the room shown on the top of the pile. No other objects can be in the room.
  5. The first to complete, gains the room cards as a point and the first to 5 points wins the game.
  6. There is also a game variation for game 2, where players have to get all of the objects missing from the one card into the room instead of what is shown.

Initial Impressions

The game box is designed where you can play inside the box without opening it. It has an open window on the front and back. You could walk into a store and play it before buying it or opening it. I think this is a great marketing tool, especially for the younger audience. I enjoy dexterity games even though I am not good at them. I knew my nieces and nephews would enjoy this one because they love Halloween and “creepy” things.

Game Build Quality

The game is well made. The manors are a sturdy box with inserted walls. A couple of the walls bend a little but doesn’t affect game play. All of the objects that go inside the manor are wooden with the exception of the plastic spiders. The cards are small and square and are good quality.

Artistic Direction

This is a children’s game. Although it has a horror theme, it is not scary and meant to be fun. The artwork reflects that. The artwork is mostly the rooms and is done well. The meeples and other objects are designed in a fun way as to not be scary.

Fun Factor

The game is very fun to play with children. There is no board. I felt like everyone was engaged even if they were too young to play. Everyone was paying attention and not distracted. And the game plays very quick which is good when playing with a younger audience.

Age Range & Weight

The rules suggest 7+. I agree with this for understanding the entire concept of how to play with the cards. However, we played with my three year old niece and she was happy and content with just shaking the pieces around or playing with the pieces inside her manor. She assumed she was actually playing.  This was good because she felt apart and we could play normally without modifying the rules.

Conclusions

Shaky Manor is a great family game. I enjoyed how everyone is playing simultaneously and there are no turns. This is great when playing with children. And even though this is considered a children’s game. It is still fun for an older audience. I love the theme and it blends well with the mechanics.

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