What Is Mmm!?
Mmm! is a cooperative, push-your-luck children’s game for 1-6 players, ages five and up that takes approximately 15-20 minutes to play. It is designed by Reiner Knizia and published by Pegasus Spiele and is available for purchase from Amazon.
Here is what you get in the box:
- 1 rule book
- 1 double-sided game board
- 3 wooden dice
- 1 wooden cat meeple
- 56 mouse chips
The components are excellent. They are sturdy and durable, which is what you want in a kid’s game, the artwork is realistic, and the graphic design of the board is easy to understand. They even provide 7 more mouse chips than you need in case a few get lost over time. The box itself is approximately twice the thickness necessary to hold the components, but it doesn’t feel excessive.
How to Play Mmm!
The goal of the game is to steal all of the food from the kitchen before the cat shows up!
Select which side of the game board you want to play. The layout on one side is more challenging than the other. I would recommend starting with the easier side, especially when introducing kids to the game. Place the cat meeple in the lower right corner of the board, on the image of the cat head. Then pile the mouse chips within easy reach and give the dice to the first player.
On your turn, roll all three dice. Five sides of the dice have a food symbol (fish, bread, cheese, carrot, and pickle) while the sixth side has a red X. After each roll, you must place at least one die on the board, putting it on an empty square of the corresponding food type. If you want, you can place more than one die as long as it’s not showing an X and there is an open food space for it. Then, if you have have dice left over, you may reroll them and place them following the same rules.
You repeat this process of rolling and placing dice until either you have placed all the dice, you choose to stop without rerolling, or you bust. Busting happens when after rolling, the dice show only Xs or food items that don’t have a matching space to place them.
If you finish your turn without busting, then place a mouse chip on the squares where the dice were placed. However, if you busted, then you don’t get to place any mouse chips. Just remove the dice from the board. At this point, your turn is over and the dice get passed to the next player.
Now here’s the catch. At the end of a player’s turn, if they did not completely cover a piece of food (place at least 1 mouse chip that filled up the last square of a food item) or they busted, then the cat will move one square closer to the kitchen.
The game ends when either the players have nabbed all the food by covering the entire board in mouse chips, and thus winning! Or it ends because the cat enters the kitchen, catching the mice and stopping their party plans.
Why You Should Play Mmm!
My first impression of the game was, is it really called Mmm!? I found the title to be so weird. If you don’t believe me, try asking someone if they want to play Mmm! But despite the oddity of the name, Mmm! is a solid push your luck game. The theme is inclusive, the rules are simple and straightforward, and there is enough strategy to keep your interest. To top it off, the game is not easy to win, which is something I desire from any cooperative game. After having played a handful of times with my kids, we have only won about fifty percent of the time. It is that challenge that keeps me engaged and teaches kids how to improve. Of course, being a push your luck game with dice, sometimes the randomness will help you or hurt you. But that’s part of the fun.
One of things that makes the game more challenging is the 2-sided board. I really appreciate this design feature as it allows you to increase the challenge factor as kids get better at the game. On the easier side of the board, most of the food is only two or three squares long, while on the harder side there are more four square and even some five square long pieces of food. What that means in terms of gameplay is that you will be completing pieces of food less often, and that sneaky cat will be slinking towards the kitchen quicker.
That’s not to say that the easier side of the board is easy. Early on, when there are lots of options on the board, it was simple to steal food while keeping the cat sitting nicely at the end of the hall. The board layout provides for some early mistakes, allowing a child to figure out the best strategy for themselves. However, as the various food types become scarcer, the chance of rolling the correct food types lessens as well, and the cat starts to creep towards the kitchen. I found that the victory on the easier board side typically came down to the end of the game and depended on rolling those last few food types that you needed.
While on the flip side of the board, you had to be more strategic from the get-go. The double-sided board definitely helped make this game fun for both my 5-year-old and my 9-year-old.
To sum it all up, despite my initial hesitation about the name, Mmm! turned out to be full of yummy family fun.
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.