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Flip to Win Hangman--Melissa and Doug

I don't know who these Melissa and Doug people are but I'm constantly impressed with the quality and the affordability of their wooden toys.  We picked up this Flip to Win Hangman game as a house gift last weekend and it ended up being kind of a surprise hit.  When I saw it in the store it looked like a cute idea, and I have a habit of rewarding cute ideas by buying them.  And of course there was some laughter about how much longer a simple game of Hangman takes with this clunky wooden board whose wooden letters and body parts are attached by bungee type cords and which you pick up to flip and snap over for guessing and scoring, but there's something about the process that's inviting, and we had a hard time tearing the kids away from it.  Plus the bottom chunk of the board is a dry erase board and the 'marker' comes attached so there's something kind of mesmerizing about that, since, face it, every kid loves a dry erase board.  We left it with the family we gave it to (something that should be obvious, but somehow wasn't to my youngest child) but will be picking up one of our own to take on our upcoming vacation.  It's nice to have a travel game that's truly self-contained, it would be impossible to lose any of the pieces--(the dry erase marker could be lost I suppose, but easily replaced if necessary)--and yet it has the satisfying tactile feeling of a classic wooden game with lots of different parts.  I know I know, Hangman could be played on a free napkin with a broken pencil but honestly, this is just downright adorable, and I'm certain many more rounds were played with this (by the six kids in the house between the ages of 4 and 9) than would have been played otherwise.  I suppose the only downside (besides it not being free like the kind you play on an airplane barf bag) is that you really do just get eleven 'strikes' before your guy hangs, unlike how you can draw out a game on paper by adding teensy details to your doomed guy at every erroneous guess.  But it keeps you honest (like computer solitaire does) and the games don't go on forever, which can come in handy.