The Lion Guard premiered as a regular series on Disney Junior in January 2016. It was instantly a hit with my children. The girls were 6 and 4 at the time and they preferred Kion’s adventures in the savanna over Sofia’s more refined problems. (Sofia and Doc, we still love you.) I can’t tell you how many times they have wrestled in the living room claiming it was a “moshingdano.” I have no idea how that should be spelled but it’s how the kids say it. An early episode showed two animals competing to rule an area and have rights to eat the fish there but it becomes a giggly ‘fight’ in my house.
I like the show too. The short movie that launched the series explained that the Lion Guard had always been made up of lions. Kion is Simba’s son and he forms his Lion Guard in a new way, with a variety of animals. The friends work together as a team and each brings his or her strengths to the task of protecting the pride lands.
My friends at Wonder Forge have created a game that translates this teamwork and adventure to a board game. It’s called The Lion Guard: Protect the Pride Lands. The board itself includes a cardboard version of Pride Rock and looks pretty cool when it’s all set up. I warn you to prep this game before the kids are ready to play for the first time. It doesn’t really take that long but it’s irresistible to excited preschoolers. We had a play date the morning after I received the game in the mail so I thought it would be fun to have Minnie’s friends help us test it out.
We had 3 4-year-olds, two girls and one boy, and one 7-year-old girl and they immediately started claiming one of the four character figures. Once we started learning how to play, we quickly realized no one plays as any one character exclusively. It’s all about teamwork. This really pleased my friend who is the mom of the 4-year-old twins. On a child’s turn, he or she draws a card and completes one action for the heroes and one for the Outlanders. There is an element of strategy involved as the children decide which moves will help them most, as they try to limit the number of Outlanders on the board while helping Kion to climb to the top of Pride Rock.
Protect the Pride Lands is recommended for ages 4 and up and can be played by 1-4 people. All of the kids at the play date enjoyed playing the game. It’s easy enough for preschoolers to play but the strategy makes it a fun game for young elementary school kids too. It takes about 20 minutes to complete a game so you'll be able to keep the little ones engaged. And Kion is fabulous.
Many thanks to Wonder Forge for providing the game for my review. I didn’t receive anything other than the game and these are my honest thoughts. If you’d like to buy the game, here is a link. (I don’t make anything on that. It’s just for your convenience.)