Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart Card Game Review
Familiar and fun.
Funko Games will celebrate the 2021 holiday season with the release of several Christmas-themed card games, including the Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart Card Game.
We had the chance to check it out.
What’s this game about?
The Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart Card Game is inspired by Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The game challenges players to collect musical instruments, ornaments, wreaths, and more to earn points, with one player acting as the Grinch in each round.
The Grow Your Heart Card Game is for 2-6 players ages 6+, and it has an expected run time of 30 minutes.
How do you play this game?
The Grow Your Heart Card Game is similar to the classic game of Yahtzee, but it’s played with cards instead of dice, and the scoring categories have been changed to match the Christmas theme.
Each card is numbered 1-6 and comes in one of four suits: ornaments, wreaths, presents, and noise (musical instruments).
In each round of the game, one player becomes the Grinch and the other player(s) become the Whos. Each round gives players three turns to create the best hand of five cards possible in order to match one of the game’s scoring categories.
Players begin each round with two cards in their hand. On their turns, the “Who” characters will draw two cards from the draw pile in the center of the table, and they’ll need to discard a card from their hand to a personal discard pile in front of them to end their turn.
The Grinch, meanwhile, must also collect two cards on each turn, but they have the option to “steal” cards from the top of other players’ discard piles, as well as draw cards from the deck. They can even pick up the top card from their own discard pile, if they decide they really want it back. Once the Grinch picks up two cards, they’ll need to discard a card from their hand to their personal discard pile to end their turn.
At the end of the first turn in a round, players will have three cards in their hands instead of two. This gameplay then repeats, allowing players to collect a fourth card for their hands on the second turn. Finally, they’ll collect a fifth card for their hands on the third turn, giving them a full hand of five cards that they’ll use to score points.
Players can keep track of each round’s progression using the game’s Grinch Tile and Heart Tokens, which are placed in front of the current Grinch character in every round. The Grinch starts out with a heart value of “3,” which represents the three cards players should have in their hands at the end of the first turn.
Before the second and third turns begin, the Grinch player places one of the Heart Tokens on top of the heart on the Grinch Tile. These Heart Tokens are numbered “4” and “5,” and each one is bigger than the last to represent Grinch’s heart growing in size, just how it does in the animated film. (At the end of the round, the next player around the table becomes the Grinch so that everyone will have the chance to play as this character.)
The Grow Your Heart Card Game features seven scoring categories, and players can use strategic thinking and strategic gameplay to try and create the highest-scoring hand possible for each one. If your family is familiar with the game of Yahtzee, there are fewer scoring categories in the Grow Your Heart Card Game, giving players less categories to worry about.
There are four scoring categories related to each of the card suits in the Grow Your Heart Card Game. These challenge players to earn as many points as possible by collecting valuable Wreath cards or Noise cards, as examples.
There’s also a single category for three, four, or five of a kind, and another category for small and large straights (called “Runs” here). Depending on the hand you create, you’ll earn a different number of base points for matching number and straight categories.
For instance, the “Run in Order” category will give players 15 points if they create a small straight of four cards in numerical order or 25 points if they create a hand of five cards in numerical order.
Finally, there’s a “Rainbow” category that’s like the “Chance” category in Yahtzee. It allows players to earn points based on the highest-value card of each suit in their hand.
If players are trying to create a hand matching a specific category but they fail, it’s possible they may need to take “0” points for the round, depending on the categories they’ve already completed.
Technically, only a limited number of the game’s seven categories can be used in each game, depending on the number of players. For instance, in a two-player game, only six rounds are played, so only six scoring categories will be used, rather than all seven. In a four-player game, only four rounds are played, resulting in only four scoring categories being used, and so on (players can choose which categories to leave out).
This limitation is in place to ensure that each player becomes the Grinch an equal number of times in each game. However, you can ignore this limitation if you’d like to play through all seven rounds and have a longer game (just keep in mind this will result in players becoming the Grinch an uneven number of times).
Adding more complexity to the game, some cards will give players bonus points if they fulfill a particular requirement with their hand. For instance, one card may give players five bonus points if they end the hand with at least one Noise card in their hand. However, these bonus point cards may not match the hand players are currently trying to create, so players will need to decide if holding onto them for the bonus points is really worth it.
When players have completed the required number of rounds (or all seven rounds, if they decide to play a longer game), each player’s points are added together and the player with the most points wins.
Is this game fun to play?
We really enjoy Yahtzee, and, similarly, we had a blast playing the Grow Your Heart Card Game (it should be noted we played all seven rounds). However, you don’t have to be familiar with Yahtzee to jump right in and enjoy this game as well.
It may take a moment for players to wrap their heads around the different scoring categories, and the game requires lots of strategic thinking, especially in the first few rounds when there are so many scoring categories to choose from and you’ll need to decide which one(s) to go after. Once you have fewer scoring categories remaining, the gameplay becomes a bit simpler and quicker, since you have less options available.
While the Grow Your Heart Card Game has an age rating of 6+, this feels a bit young to us, given the game’s focus on strategic thinking and the inclusion of bonus point cards. That is, the base gameplay of drawing and discarding cards is fairly simple, but younger kids may have trouble maximizing each hand to earn as many points as possible. That being the case, we feel a slightly older age rating would be more appropriate.
If your family finds that some younger players are having trouble understanding the game’s rules or scoring categories, you can switch things up and play in teams, with an older child or adult playing alongside a youngster to help them make the most of each hand.
Is there anything else parents need to know about this game?
The Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart Card Game comes with a tablet of double-sided scoring papers, but you’ll need to provide your own writing utensil(s) for keeping track of the current score.
The game includes quite a few scoring papers, but if you need more, you can scan an unused sheet into your computer and print as many as you need. You’ll also be able to visit the Funko Games website to download and print more, but this option isn’t yet available as of this writing.
Finally, while the outside of the game's box features a large bow, this is part of the game's plastic packaging, and it's not connected to the box itself (it can be thrown away). This means the box is easy to store alongside other games you may have in your collection.
What’s the final verdict?
From card games to traditional board games, we’ve played lots of titles from Funko Games here at SuperParent, but the Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart Card Game may be our favorite. The game takes a familiar, classic concept and switches it up just enough to fit the Christmas theme and the use of cards, rather than dice.
We do wish the round limitation didn’t exist so that each game was technically a seven-round game, but this is easily a house rule your family can implement if you agree and want each game to last longer.
While the Grow Your Heart Card Game may be too complicated for some very young players, it absolutely earns our recommendation for older kids and even adults.
The Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart Card Game is now available for a suggested price of $6.99. Keep in mind that some stores may sell Funko products at different prices, as well as release them at different times. For instance, Amazon is selling the Grow Your Heart Card Game for $8.99. Make sure to shop around to find the best price!
Disclosure: SuperParent received the Dr. Seuss Grinch Grow Your Heart Card Game for coverage purposes.