Mouse Trap game (Milton Bradley)

MousetrapGame

Summary: Players (mice) construct a Rube-Goldberg-style mousetrap piece by piece, collect cheese wedges, and avoid a predatory housecat and grouchy dog.  Ultimately, the mice end up circling a cheese wheel until one gets to start up the Rube Goldberg contraption while another happens to be on the space beneath the net (the final step of the mousetrap).  The collected cheese wedges can be traded for chances to roll the die and hopefully move opponents’ mice onto the target more quickly.  The last mouse left uncaught wins.

~~This original/vintage version has been replaced by Hasbro’s “Elefun & Friends” version, which appears to be not a traditional board game, but a pre-constructed trap with a jungle theme, geared toward younger players with more primitive fine motor skills.~~

Antonio (9): It was very bad because at the end you just go around in a circle.  I did like building the mousetrap, though.  ~GET RID OF IT~

Alice (5):  Fun!  My favorite part is when the mouse got trapped!  ~KEEPER~

Mom (old enough to have seen The Breakfast Club in theaters; too young for Breakfast at Tiffany’s…):  Mouse Trap is genuinely fun for all ages, while you’re building the mousetrap.  After it’s complete and all players keep circling the same six spaces (including “Turn the Crank” and the target cheese wheel), the game can be – literally – interminable.  That it’s not the humans or annoyed pets constructing the mousetrap; nor the mice banding together to avoid capture; but the cute, little 3-D cartoon mice themselves constructing the instrument of their own demise, in hopes their friends will be done in first is pretty horrible.  Luckily, I have yet to meet a child who has thought about that.  They naturally focus on the fun mechanics of the trap.  Besides, by the time you’ve gone around the final loop 5 or 15 times, you have a fairly suicidal attitude toward your mouse.  Let him die – let one of them die – anyone, as long as the game eventually ends!  Best to create your own rules for wrapping it up.  ~KEEPER (for younger visitors)~

Target age? 6+ (We say 4-8. Even two-year-olds are attracted to this game, although most kids under four would be frustrated by how much help they’d need to construct the trap; or how easily it can be set into motion prematurely while moving the mice around the board.  If a child over eight has played it before and remembers how the trap works, it will probably bore them.)

Players? 2 to 4  (Adding more players would reduce how much each child got to build.)

Game length? Long (min. 1/2-hour;  We played for a whole hour and ultimately had to cheat, to end the game.)

Set-up? Tricky, but part of game play (Some parts of the trap require careful balancing and not bumping the board, which may be challenging for young players.)

Easy to learn? Yes (Basic follow-the-path board game.  Rules about the cheese wedges aren’t obvious, but once you explain, young kids can easily follow them.)

Reading required?  Kind of (Pre-readers couldn’t play this alone, but if one player reads the game to a younger player, it won’t hamper play.)

Strategy? Almost none; luck-based (You can choose how cautiously to “spend” your cheese to handicap your opponents, but even that is ultimately subject to the roll of the die.)

Attractive? Yes (The colorful, 3-D mousetrap is eye candy for young players.)

Durable? Average (double-fold cardboard game board; cardboard cheese; indestructible rubbery mice; some parts of plastic mousetrap are thin and can break fairly easily)

Pieces to lose? A reasonable concern (You can still order replacement mousetrap parts cheaply, through Hasbro; but you can’t play the game without all of them.  Mice can be replaced with other markers.  The total number of cheese wedges is pretty irrelevant.)

Price: ~$15 used (Amazon, eBay or the like); ~$20 for the new “Elefun” version