How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is generally considered a Christmas classic. Between the book and movie adaptations, many people check out at least one version of the story each holiday season. With how popular the story is, there have naturally been a number of board games created using the theme in the past. Unfortunately most of these games don’t look particularly good as they were created more to capitalize on the theme than make an actual good game. Recently Funko Games has acquired the Grinch license, and has proceeded to make a few games utilizing it. One of these games was Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart!. I was curious to see how Funko Games would utilize the theme as they genuinely try to merge the gameplay with the theme. Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! may not be the most original card game, but it does a good job creating a fun little Grinch card game that the whole family can enjoy.
The goal in Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! is to score the most points between all of the game rounds. In each round the players will acquire five different cards. When choosing which cards to keep, players will try to create different combinations which will score them points. In each round you will score your cards in a different way. You can’t score the same combination twice in a game. Most of these combinations involve collecting cards of the same color or number. You can also score bonus points from some of the cards if you have the required cards in your hand. Whichever player ultimately scores the most points, wins the game.
If you would like to see the complete rules/instructions for the game, check out our Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! how to play guide.
I didn’t really have an idea of what to expect from a card game like Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart!. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is not a natural theme for a card game in my opinion. In action the game actually reminded me a lot of a combination of Poker and Yahtzee. This is not a perfect comparison, but I think it does a good job breaking down much of the gameplay. Basically in each round you are trying to create a group of cards which will score you the most points. The combinations are very similar to those that you would find in a game such as Poker and Yahtzee. Many of them involve collecting cards of the same color or number. Just like Yahtzee you also can only score each combination once in the game.
In a lot of ways Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! does feel like playing those two games. You basically draw cards, and through three turns try to create the strongest hand that you can. Your thoughts on games like Poker and Yahtzee will likely translate to the game. If you don’t generally like these type of games, I don’t see the game being for you. Those who generally like these type of games though, should read on as I think you will enjoy your time with Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart!.
Not surprisingly the game is quite easy to play. On each turn you basically just draw two cards, and choose a card from your hand to discard. Things get a little more complicated when you play as the Grinch since you have a couple of choices for which cards to draw. None of the scoring options are particularly difficult to understand as you basically just want to gather cards of the same color or number. The game has a recommended age of 6+ and that seems about right for the game. I really don’t see anyone having much trouble learning how to play the game.
Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart!’s simplicity also leads to the game playing quite quickly. The game’s length will somewhat depend on the number of players. This is because the number of rounds are determined by the number of players. Two, three, and six player games will likely take the most time. Meanwhile four player games will likely be the shortest as you will only play four rounds. I would guess most games should take no longer than 15-20 minutes to complete. This makes Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! a good filler game as you can either play a quick game, or play a few games back to back.
Generally I would say that the game’s short length would be good for the game. For the most part I think it is. If the game took much longer, I think it could start to drag. The only real problem that I had with the length, is that it sometimes feels like it ends too quickly. In the four player game you only get to play four rounds. That feels too short in my opinion. You only get to be Grinch once, and you will only score about half of the total combinations. While the game plays fine with four players, I actually think the other player counts may be better as you will get to play more rounds.
As for strategy, I am not entirely sure where I would place the game. It is definitely not filled to the brim with strategy. There is quite a bit of luck in the game. I think there is some strategy as well though. I think the strategy comes more into play when you make a bad decision rather than a good one. In many cases it is pretty obvious what the best potential option is. Other times you need to just weight the options based on what cards you are most likely to get, and what options you have already scored. Make good decisions and you can improve your score. Make bad decisions and you likely will really hurt your score.
The biggest round(s) for each player will likely be those where they get to play as the Grinch. Playing as the Grinch gives you the most power in the game. You still score in the same way and get the same number of cards. The ability to choose face up cards from the other player’s discard piles gives you a lot more options to consider though. The other players will likely discard cards that you can use, and you don’t have to rely on randomly drawing cards you need. Because of this, you need to make your Grinch round(s) count. If you don’t, you are going to have a hard time winning the game.
One issue a lot of card games like Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! suffer from is the fact that some cards are naturally better than others. You typically want to acquire higher valued cards since they will score you more points. While this is still present in the game, the designers were pretty smart with their way of offsetting this inherit additional value. The potential for bonus points does add more value to low value cards that would otherwise be weak.
You are usually better off just getting a bunch of high cards in the colors/numbers you need. When that is not in the cards though, you can use the bonus points to help offset it. If you aren’t dealt a lot of cards that work well together for one of the scoring options, you may be better off just trying to capitalize on a bunch of different bonus points. While there is nothing particularly original or novel about the mechanic, I think they add quite a bit to the game. They give you another option that you can utilize to try and maximize your points.
Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! is not a revolutionary card game with brand new ideas that I have never seen before. I don’t think it was ever really trying to. The game shares quite a bit in common with a lot of other card games. Despite this, I still had quite a bit of fun with it. The game does a good job being a card game that you can just have fun playing without putting too much thought into. It is a satisfying set collection game with a little risk/reward thrown in. The game won’t change someone’s mind who doesn’t like this genre. Fans of the genre should have fun with Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! though.
The biggest issue with Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! is just the fact that the game relies on quite a bit of luck. You can definitely make your situation worse if you choose the wrong cards to keep. Your fate is still highly reliant on the cards that you are dealt though. You can make smart decisions to improve your score in rounds. If you aren’t dealt the right cards though, there really isn’t much that you can do to overcome it. In most rounds you just have to make the best situation that you can out of the cards that you eventually get. Playing as the Grinch does give you some more leniency as you can take cards from the other players’ discard piles. Players that are dealt cards that don’t work well together though, are going to have a hard time scoring points in a round.
To get the most enjoyment out of Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart!, you really need to not put too much thought into who ultimately wins. There will be games that you win and/or lose solely due to the cards that you draw. In these situations no decisions you make will have much of a difference. If you are the type of player that gets frustrated due to bad luck, Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! may not be for you. There is only so much you can control each game. You will need to be able to accept that some games you will win, and others you will lose. If you can just accept the game for what it is and be fine with whoever ultimately wins, I think you could get quite a bit of enjoyment out of the game.
As for Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart!’s theme and components, I will say that the game does a better job than I thought. Quite a few holiday/Christmas games have been made over the years. It is only natural as people are looking for a game to play with their families during holiday gatherings. While there are some good Christmas themed games, there are considerably more bad games in the genre.
For the most part I think Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! is a pretty good Christmas game. I wouldn’t say the theme really impacted the gameplay all that much. The designers did a good job creating a group of mechanics that work pretty well with the theme though. Basically you are acquiring cards to lift the Grinch’s spirit in order to grow his heart. I can see Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! working quite well as a game to bring out during Christmas gatherings due to it simple gameplay, and the fact that the theme is better than you would expect.
While I enjoy How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, I probably wouldn’t say that I am as big of fan of the story as some people. I generally thought the game utilized it pretty well though. The game mostly includes just cards. The artwork on the cards fits right in place with the animated special. The cards are well made where they should last as well. I think fans of the movie will be pleased by what the game gives you. The whole game comes in a rather small package as well which means it will be easy to bring along while traveling.
Heading into playing Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! I can’t say that I had really high expectations. I just didn’t think the How the Grinch Stole Christmas! theme would work particularly well for a card game. The game is not perfect as it does rely significantly on card draw luck. I was still a little surprised by it though. In a way the game kind of feels like a combination of Poker and Yahtzee. You basically are trying to acquire cards that make the best combinations. The game is quite easy to play, and plays quickly. There is some strategy to the game as well. Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! does a good job making a game that you can enjoy without putting too much thought into what you are doing.
My recommendation for Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! comes down to your feelings towards the theme, simple card games, and the Poker/Yahtzee hybrid. If this doesn’t seem like the type of game you typically enjoy, I don’t think it will be for you. Fans of the story who want a simple card game to play over the holidays though, will likely enjoy Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart! and should consider picking it up.
Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart
Year: 2021 | Publisher: Funko Games | Designer: Funko Games | Artist: NA
Genres: Card, Family, Set Collection
Ages: 6+ | Number of Players: 2-6 | Length of Game: 15-20 minutes
Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Light | Luck: Moderate-High
Components: 48 cards, Grinch tile, 2 Heart tokens, score pad, instructions
- Easy to play and plays quickly.
- A good Christmas game that utilizes the theme pretty well.
- Relies pretty heavily on luck.
- Plays pretty similar to other card games.
Recommendation: For people looking for a fun simple Christmas themed card game.