This week, I’m back to reviewing something from art book publisher Laurence King. The publisher makes gorgeous books (I recently reviewed the excellent Spoiler Alert!) and is adding an impressive array of family games to its catalog. With lockdown in its 6th week here in the UK, and home-schooling starting to bite, I’ve been looking for more accessible ways to keep my children entertained whilst also teaching them something. Match a Mummy is one such game.
What is Match a Mummy?
Match a Mummy is a neat small-boxed game made in conjunction with the British Museum. Unsurprisingly, it has an Egyptian theme (A similarly named game, Matcha Mommy, would have a totally different premise). The game is a variant of the children’s classic “pairs,” with cards being laid out face down on the table and players searching for matching pairs.
The pairs in this version of the game are pictures of objects that were significant to the life and culture of Ancient Egypt. More than that, they’re not identical pairs. Instead, they’re pairings that were found together at the time, like, coffin and bald head, door and key, or dancers and a harp. For the more gruesome minded, there’s body organs and canopic jars, and a brain and hook. For historians, there’s hieroglyphics and the Rosetta Stone and, for the geeks, Senet and game players. There are also pairs that feature, Ra, Anubis, and Ammut to help teach about Egyptian mythology.
There are 20 pairs altogether with items that form pairs mounted on the same color background. There are only 5 colors used, so a similar background color does not automatically mean you’ve found a pair. Inside the box, there is also a small booklet that describes the pairs, how they relate, and their significance to Egyptian life. This is the educational bit. Without this booklet, there is no educational text. The cards only have diagrams on them, no text.
The box and cards are made of very good card stock. Like all of Laurence King’s games, this is a premium quality product.
Why Play Match a Mummy?
It’s hard not to refract every review through the lens of lockdown at the moment. We’re in the 6th week of lockdown here, and homeschooling is starting to bite. My kids know I have nowhere to run. School structure is becoming a distant memory, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to infuse their learning with a sense of purpose. This week, as tempers fray, we’ve been heading to the games cupboard to try to chill out a little.
This doesn’t necessarily reduce arguments, but it doesn’t involve such heightened stress levels. Match a Mummy falls into a nice category of game, as it’s gently educational. My go-to maths game, City of Zombies, is overtly about math. There’s no getting away from it and my youngest balks at playing.
Match a Mummy is fun with easily understandable mechanics. When playing, its educational aspects fade into the background. It exercises memory and cognition but there’s no “learning” required. As you go along, you can talk about the pair found and its role in Egyptian life. If your children want to find out more, then you can jump off into books and internet searches to learn extra information. After all, most children are interested in mummies and brains being pulled out through nostrils.
The game costs $17 (£15) which is perhaps a little over-priced, considering you’re “just” getting a pairs game, but you do get the very best quality components for that money. The illustrations are in keeping with the theme, and the information booklet is interesting and informative. So whilst this might be expensive for a simple game, I think on balance its worth it, especially if you have a child who is interested in Ancient Egypt or you’re trying to teach them something about that period of history.
If you enjoyed this review, do check out my other Word Wednesday reviews.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this game for review.