Wake Up! Sleeping Queens Review
We’ve played a bunch of different board games, but none of them have taken hold of our family’s gaming time the way Sleeping Queens has! We’ve been through periods of time where the kids bring out Sleeping Queens every day and play four to five games in a row. Keep reading to see our full Sleeping Queens Review.
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In Sleeping Queens players compete to see who can wake up and collect the most queens. This card game is really interactive and kids will have a blast waking queens as well as stealing other player’s queens and putting queens back to sleep. Sleeping Queens strikes an amazing balance between asking players to think strategically, but also including a healthy amount of luck. This balance makes it so players as younger gamers can compete and often win, while older players still feel engaged and challenged. The age recommendation is 8+, however I think most kids would be ready to play this game when they are four or five years old. Keep reading to see the full Sleeping Queens review.
- Manufacturer: Gamewright
- Manufacturer Age Recommendation: 8+
- Number of Players: 2-5
- Game Length: 20 mins
How to Play
To setup Sleeping Queens, lay out the twelve queen cards (green backs) in rows. Shuffle the other cards (red backs) and deal four cards to each player. On their turn, players discard one card and draw a new one. The deck consists of cards with the number one through ten, kings, jesters, knights, dragons, potions, and wands.
- Numbers: When a number card is discarded, nothing happens. If you have a pair (two sevens for instance), they can be discarded together to draw two new cards. If you have a run of three cards (two, three, four for instance), they can all three be discarded to draw three new cards.
- Kings: Kings wake up queens. When a player discards a king they draw a queen card and place it face down in front of them, then draw a new card from the draw pile.
- Jesters: When you play a jester, draw a new card. If it is a power card (king, knight, dragon, potion, wand, or jester) you immediately take another turn. If it is a number card, you count off the players until you reach the number on the card, that player gets to wake a queen.
- Knights: Knights steal queens from other players, if you play a Knight select the queen you want to steal, move it in front of you and draw a new card from the draw pile.
- Dragons: Dragons ward off knights. If a player tries to steal one of your queens with a knight, play a dragon immediately to block the steal attempt and draw a new card from the draw pile.
- Potions: Potions put queens back to sleep. Play a potion and select a queen from another player to put back to sleep, draw a card from the draw pile.
- Wand: A wand blocks a potion, play it immediately if another players tries to put your queen to sleep and draw a replacement card from the discard pile.
There are also a few queens that have special rules. If you wake up the Rose Queen, you immediately get to wake up another queen. The Cat Queen and the Dog Queen can’t be in the same court, if you draw one when you already have the other, the one drawn goes back to sleep!
Gameplay of Sleeping Queens has an awesome flow to it. Turns are super quick, great for younger kids. On other player’s turns, your queens could be stolen or put back to sleep, making their turns as interesting as your own. I love this aspect of gameplay in games for younger kids. I think we’ve all been down the parenting rabbit hole of “It’s your turn”, “now it’s your turn”, “your turn now”. Sleeping Queens really counters that because kids want to make sure their queens are safe!
Sleeping Queens gameplay is awesome for busy families. The box says twenty minutes, but it usually takes closer to ten to fifteen minutes in our experience. This is a perfect game length to be ‘fit in’ around a busy family schedule! We love to play Sleeping Queens as a quick filler before bedtime or as a break for some relaxing family time during the day. Because of this, it’s also one of our favorite travel board games. Sleeping queens always gets thrown in the car for road trips!
Playing Sleeping Queens kids have the opportunity to work on number recognition and counting, as well as strategic thinking and turn taking. The game gives a slight advantage to kids who think strategically and try to get pairs and runs with their number cards. I love the way this plays out with younger gamers, they don’t have to play very strategically to compete (so they don’t get discouraged), but once they see a parent or sibling do something strategic (like play a run), they’re motivated to figure it out and give themselves the best chance to win.
I’ll always remember playing her inaugural game of Sleeping Queens when our daughter was four and still learning her numbers/counting. She played a few turns just randomly discarding numbers and drawing new cards. Then she saw her brother get to discard three cards at once, and get three new cards! From then on she was motivated to figure out number orders and save numbers that were close together to try to get a run.
What We Love
You may have picked up on the fact that our family LOVES this game in this glowing review. The pace of the game is great, it plays well with a large age range, and has awesome replayability, motivates kids to learn naturally, oh and it can regularly be found for under $10! Yep that pretty much checks all the boxes for us, just trust me, it’s a winner!
The theme of Sleeping Queens is fantastic, if you love Medieval themed games, check out the Best Medieval Themed Board Games!
What We’d Change
At one point I would have said the packaging needs an update. This is a perfect game to travel with, but the cardboard box gets beat up over time, and I’d love to see a metal case. Gamewright read my mind when they released the 10th Anniversary Sleeping Queens. This edition comes with additional queens and a metal case!
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve gathered that I love this game, my wife loves this game, and most importantly our kids love this game. It was an instant family favorite from the first play!
A reminder of our rating scale:
- 1 die = Skip this game, not worth your time!
- 2 dice = May be fun for a few plays, but we think there are better options out there.
- 3 dice = Great game that we really enjoyed and played a lot.
- 4 dice = One of our favorites for this age range, definitely check it out!
- 5 dice = In our opinion this is the best game for this age range, you have to try it!
So how does Sleeping Queens stack up? Our very first perfect rating 5 dice! This is easily the best money we’ve spent on a board game for our kids, and the first game I recommend to people getting into board gaming with their kids. Buy it when you’re kids are four or five, and enjoy it for years!
I’d love to hear from you in the comments, what do you think of Sleeping Queens? Comment below!
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