Our two girls - five and eight years-old were both instantly attracted by Ubongo, and it's been a hit with the adults too. It can be played as a single player gamer or competitively. As the youngest is still at an age when losing can be a challenge, we did tweak the rules to give her more time to complete her puzzles. We found this to be is one of the major plusses of the game - not only can you get started very quickly, but there are a number of ways it can be adapted to level the playing field depending on the age of participants.
The basic rules of Ubongo are very easy to pick up - each player has eight shaped pieces they have to fit exactly into the shape on the puzzle card as quickly as possible. The first person to complete their card shouts 'Ubongo', and the other players have the count of 20 (or whatever number you choose) to finish their puzzle. Any players who successfully complete the puzzle keep the card, and whoever has the most cards at the end of the game (the recommendation is eight rounds) is the winner.
Ubongo is both great fun, and wonderful way to develop spatial awareness and logic skills without realising you are doing it! It also has value in honing focus, concentration and fine motor skills, especially for younger players.
Ubongo's great advantage is its flexibility - you can play solo or competitively; you can just play a single round or as many as you choose, and play can be adapted to allow younger players to enjoy a competitive game.
Cards have an easier 'A' side, which can be solved with three shapes, or a more challenging 'B' side, which requires four shapes. Usually, both players use there same side, but we adapted the game to allow the five-year old to complete the easier side while others solved the harder. Equally, more experienced players can play without the yellow tile - all puzzles can still be solved, but present a bit more of a challenge.
The recommended age is seven years plus, but we found that with a couple of changes it can me fun and allow a competitive game from five years and over.
This travel version of a classic game is great fun for all ages, and is perfect to take with you anywhere you have a table and a bit of time!