Welcome to the Playmobil Playroom, where we take a monthly peek inside those impressive blue boxes and see what treasures await within. Sometimes we’ll have step-by-step photos walking you through assembly, maybe we’ll discuss and review a particular set or theme, or maybe we’ll have an unboxing video.
I’ll admit it: I’m not a huge NHL fan. So it wasn’t a huge deal to me when I saw that Playmobil had secured the NHL license. I saw all the new figures and toys way back in February at Toy Fair, but–I’ll be honest–I was much more excited about pirates and astronauts than I was about professional hockey players.
But when the NHL Hockey Arena and Zamboni showed up on my doorstep, who was I not to dive right in? I mean, come on, a Zamboni? I’m not made of stone, people! Everyone knows the only reason you go to an NHL game (or an ice skating event) is to chat up the Zamboni driver and try to steal his job.
One of the best features of any Playmobil set is, for us, its “playability.” The themes are great, the quality of the toys is top-notch, and the detail on most of the pieces is incredible. There’s a reason I write this column every month.
So it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise that the NHL sets are also quite impressive. What sets the NHL Hockey Arena apart from most Playmobil toys, though, is that it’s actually a game. Sure, you can play with it like any other toy (i.e., with your imagination), but you can also play it like a tabletop board game.
Imagine air hockey with Playmobil pieces.
The set comes with four figures: one goalie and one player for each of two teams. The players snap into a base that allows you to flick their hockey sticks and actually send a miniature puck careening down the “ice.” Goalies snap into a similar base, and you can move them back and forth to protect the goal. Find a friend, grab hold of your guys, and you’ve got yourself a game. Use the scoring track at the end of the rink to keep track of who’s ahead.
Like all Playmobil sets, it comes in pieces (76, to be exact). Putting this one together is pretty much a breeze. The most difficult part is choosing your teams. The set comes with stickers for all 30 NHL teams, so you can customize the rink to represent your favorite (or hometown) team… or your biggest rival… or both!
My only complaint is that the set only comes with four pucks. And, obviously, they’re super tiny. We lost one almost immediately, and we’re now down to two. LEGO rules are in effect: Don’t play near a floor A/C vent.
The Zamboni, though? My goodness, people. Perfection. The vehicle comes as a mere 23 pieces, and it’s a snap (see what I did there?) to put together. Again, it comes with stickers for all 30 teams, so take your pick.
And when you’re done, you have a display-worthy Zamboni to call your very own. I love it. And since everything is sized to the Playmobil figure, you can easily use it to freshen up the ice on your hockey arena during halftime. I mean, if you actually want to play with it.
If you’re an NHL fan, or if you have little hockey fans, there’s a lot to love here. And there’s plenty more in this theme. To round out your collection, you can pick up a couple of referees, a score clock, a Stanley Cup presentation set, and players in uniform for all 30 NHL teams.
Or you can just snap in your cavemen, fairies, or pirates to skate around the ice and take a few shots on goal.
(Disclosure: These Playmobil sets were provided free of charge for review purposes. All opinions remain our own.)