Overall Rating: 8/10
GLAM Age Range: 3-8
Number of Players: 2-7
Playing Time: 10 min
Available At: Amazon.com
Quick Take: Kids love bingo style games! There are a few different versions of Zingo! out there, and the game varies quite a bit with each version. In the rules below I go through the differences between three of the versions: Classic, 1-2-3, and Word Builder. This game is great to play with grandparents and other relatives because everyone is familiar with the game bingo on which it is based and there are essentially no rules to explain. Also, if you play one child and one adult at a time you are much more likely to avoid angst. The little dispenser of tiles (the Zingo! Zinger) is endlessly fascinating for some reason and my kids were all keen to be the ones loading it and using it. However, it jams rather easily and you have to be careful to load the tiles properly, which can be quite frustrating for younger children. If I had to choose a version for one child to play with an adult, I would pick classic Zingo!. If I had to pick just one version to have in my house I would choose Zingo! Word Builder. It rides an excellent balance between educational and fun.
How to Play: Classic Zingo! is like speed bingo, you see a tile that matches a picture on your board and you race to grab it first. The first to fill their board with tiles wins. Great for some kids, really tough for others, especially if you're playing with kids who are not all the same age. Zingo! 1-2-3 is counting and number recognition rather than any more advanced concepts. You end up memorizing the numbers you need and race to grab them first. Zingo! Word Builder is my favorite, you get to use letters to build words. It's very flexible and the better your vocabulary or the better you are at working with whatever letters you get the better you will do at the game. It's also not nearly as much of a speed game as the other versions and has a high educational benefit for kids working on spelling words.
Variations: You can play multiple boards at once for a game. You can also give an advantage to younger players and fill a certain number of spots on their board before starting the game in order to give them a better chance of winning against older kids.