Monday, July 8, 2019

Review: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Game (Buffalo Games)

With more and more Neighborhood products continuing to make their ways onto shelves this year, one item that I don't think most people were expecting was the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Game from Buffalo Games. Teased with the idea of a Neighborhood game in Episode 1515 and Episode 1604, this is more a card game than a board game.


Buffalo Games has packaged this new Neighborhood game into a sturdy and colorful box featuring the unmistakable image of Mister Rogers' sweater and tie. Initially, this game is only available at Target or through We'll see if it becomes more widely distributed in the near future.

So what's in the box?

Let's start with the least interesting of the contents -- the instruction book. The covers uses the same image as the outside of the box and the instructions go into great detail about game play.

What I find most interesting about the game instructions is the target age range -- ages 10 and up. While most younger kids today are more familiar with Daniel Tiger than they are Mister Rogers, this game is certainly appropriate for players much younger than the age of ten. The first time it's played, younger players will certainly need an older player to explain the game to them, but with the rules in place, this simple game is absolutely one that could be played with kids in a much younger age range. I'd go as far as to suggest ages 5 and up.

One of the oddest items included in the game box is a thank you note from Mister Rogers.

The note -- obviously not actually from Mister Rogers -- is found inside a sealed red envelope and features the following quote: "It's the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives."

While this was an unexpected addition to the game's contents, I feel like it's a bit odd. It just seems like a lot of trouble to go to in order to include this quote within the game. Why bother printing a card and even sealing it in an envelope when the quote could just have easily been printed directly on the box or the instructions? It was a kind of cool to find this in the box, but it just seems like a very unnecessary addition.

The best part of the game? The playing cards!

Check out those amazing illustrations! In many ways, they rival the images recently printed as t-shirts and stickers by Pittsburgh's Steel City!

I'd love to know more about these illustrations if anyone reading happens to have any information. Who is behind them? How was it determined which characters to use and which ones to leave out?

I have questions, people.

[UPDATE: Illustrations on the playing cards were done by Jerrod Maruyama]

With all of the contents out of the box, the words "Won't you be my neighbor?" are revealed. [Now this is where that quote from the thank you note could have been printed.]

Cost? Full price is around twenty bucks -- although I've seen it as low as $16.99. Maybe a bit much for a simple card game.

So is the game worth your while? Yeah, I think so. I wouldn't say it's for everyone, though. It's certainly not a game that teenagers and adults would want to play with their friends on a game night -- it's way too simple for that. But is it a game that a family with younger children could play together on a game night? Absolutely. Not only is it a game appropriate for that sort of dynamic, the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Game is also a great opportunity to introduce younger players to the Neighborhood that paved the way for Daniel Tiger.