Flotsam Float review — A dexterity game for the whole family

As a father, I am always on the lookout for games I can introduce to my kids so I jumped at the chance to check out Flotsam Float from Haba. Flotsam Float is a 2-5 player dexterity game rated for ages 6-99. Like some of you, I too have been scarred by too many games of Candyland so I can’t say I had high expectations for a kids game, but I recruited my daughter, niece, and nephew to give this one a shot.

In Flotsam Float there are a number of islands set up on the table equally spaced apart. The islands consist of four cards with different block shapes on them and a 3D cardboard mountain in the middle. At the start of the game, every island has four available cards/shapes and one island starts with a raft balanced on top. During the game, the active player chooses a shape from the island where the raft is and adds it to the raft. The player then takes the now empty card which reveals where they have to move the raft to. The player has to pick up the raft and move it to the new island without any of the blocks falling off. If they are successful, they keep the card and will score points equal to the printed number of seashells on the card at the end of the game. If any pieces fall off, they continue moving the raft but do not get to keep the card. One fallen piece will return to the card and any additional pieces that fell are removed from the game. This continues with more and more blocks being stacked onto the raft and moved around until there is only one island left with available pieces. The player with the most seashells at the end (points) wins.

While the box advertises six as being the minimum age to play, I played this with two three year olds and one six year old. The younger kids were able to pick it up with some help and the 6 year old had no issues grasping the gameplay or interacting with the pieces. The game is able to be scaled easily to adjust the difficulty for kids of different ages or ability levels. You could allow two hands when moving the raft or just one. You could just use your off hand or require the older kids to stay seated. It’s really up to you and allows the whole family to engage without it being too hard or too easy.

The shapes used in the game are all matched to the treasure hunting island theme and are easy to stack. The variety of shapes and sizes are nice and the chunky real wood is a pleasure to touch and interact with. The rulebook is short and easy to understand. All of the components are stored easily in the enormous box.

I don’t think education is a requirement for a kids game, but it’s a nice bonus when it’s done well and adds to the game without turning playtime into a chore. Flotsam float builds dexterity through its core mechanics but also introduces some strategy decisions when older kids begin to grasp how their choice of shape and how they stack it will impact their turn and other players. Then at the end there is the obvious math involved with adding up points. While the simple counting is likely trivial to a 6 year old you can encourage them to use addition as they score each card rather than just counting the shells.



Flotsam Float

Review Guidelines

Flotsam Float is a charming family game that is playable with kids as young as three. Set up and tear down is a snap and it’s simple to learn. Most importantly, I can play it without wanting to hide it in the closet afterwards and hope that my kids forget about it (don’t tell them where Candyland is).

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