Monday, July 19, 2010

Kung Zhu Party

In the interest of full disclosure, I was sent a Kung Zhu Party Pack to host a party with the wee ones and their friends. I received no compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.

I'd heard of Zhu Zhu pets before we had our party, but we'd never played with them. When my giant box o' goodies arrived, I was amazed by all the hamsters and their accessories. This went way beyond the stuff toys we had when I was growing up.

Today, I spent two hours (yes, two - it was worse than Christmas!) putting together the various tracks and battle arena accessories. It wasn't super hard, but it was time consuming to figure it all out and make all the pieces fit correctly.

Fortunately, the directions were relatively straightforward, although someone might want to do some proof-reading and quality checking. I noticed a few typos from the "l" missing when discussing "flags" and a statement that the connectors should "be fulling put in." I'm guessing a native English speaker didn't write them. And somewhat disappointingly, one of the training grounds was mispackaged. When I opened Training Ground Bravo, the inside was a duplicate of Training Ground Alpha that I had already assembled.

I was a little nervous about the actual party - 9 boys and two girls in my house to play was a lot of energy. Fortunately, everyone showed up pretty much on time, so we were able to get moving.

Everyone picked out which Kung Zhu - and amazingly, there were zero arguments. I think they were so excited to have one to play with - and they didn't fully get that they were keeping their goodies - that they were happy no matter what. With eight different hamsters and eleven provided, we had some duplicates and luckily no issues amongst the children.

Once we divided into teams - The Ninja Warriors and The Strike Force - we started our first activity. They created paper airplanes with designs based on the symbols of their teams, and each child made the plane look like the individual hamster, too. It was a blast to see what they created.

Once we finished up, we headed outside to fly the planes before the thunderstorms arrived. While I remember only the basic paper airplane shape, some of the kids actually created some pretty good planes that flew a decent distance.

They spent a good ten minutes running around seeing how far they sould make them go and whether or not they could get them to land in a tree or on a car. I'll have to remember this as a diversion again!

Once we got back inside, we prepared our hamsters, which was an undertaking in itself. They aren't the simple little creature we were expecting. Each one came with a surfboard looking thing that "powers it up" for battle. More than one child left it in the packaging that had to be dug through later!

The hamsters also have a little disc that we've yet to figure out, but we'll get there. The armor was fortunately very intuitive, and the kids all figured that out on their own. Once they were "dressed," they started buzzing them all over.

Since the hamsters are motorized, they are pretty easy to operate. Pressing a button on the back stars them up, pressing the symbol further down makes them go backwards, and pressing their noses makes them talk - sorta cute.

It was a bit of chaos as we started out. Everyone was going everywhere, but they were fine with it. I was amazed how every single child was enraptured by the hamsters.

Once they had a little more time to play around, we were able to sort of start doing some battles.  The kids "trained" their hamsters in the training ground and powered them up for battle.  Once in the battle arena (the circle in the center), the battles weren't too official, but they had a blast, and eventually we figured out how to have a real battle: power them up, send them in, and the first one knocked over loses.

One of the things I thought was pretty cool was that all the kids were into this.  The girls liked the Kung Zhu, and so did the boys.  We had kids who were a young four all the way up to nine, and every one of them played with them the whole time.

I was a little concerned that once all the friends left, the wee ones would quickly tire of the Kung Zhu. Mmm not so much. The wee ones did "real" battles following the rules for the rest of the day. When it was time for dinner, we had to pry them away. When Little Miss went to gymnastics, Mister Man sat playing with it by himself, creating battles between the two hamsters until I sent him to bed. And after each battle, I received an official update of what had happened. In my mind, that's a winner.

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