Max the game

What elementary-ages child doesn’t love their pets? Max is a co-operative game for kids aged 4 to 7 that tis based on a loved family cat: Max. The goal of this game is to get the bird, chipmunk and mouse back to their tree home before Max the cat can hunt them.

Players take turns rolling the two special dice that come with this game. The green dots move a critter along the path. The black dots move Max along the same path. Each player gets to decided on his turn which critter to move. Two green dots means you can move two different critters one space each or one critter two spaces. Two black dots means Max moves two spots. If Max lands on the same space as a critter, it has been caught by him and is removed from the game. Play continues with the remaining critters.

Max starts on the porch and tries to hun the critters as they try to get home.
Players work together to get the mouse, bird and chipmunk back home before Ma can hunt them.

The shortcuts:

Each critter has it’s own shortcut. Only the animal that is pictured on the shortcut can use it. But Max, with his superior hunting skills, can use all of the shortcuts.

Each animal has it's own short cut to use.
The chipmonk landed on his short cut and can move ahead on the board.
The shortcuts can be used by Max to get further ahead in the game.
Max uses his sense of smell to use all of the animal short cuts.

Max’s Cat treats:

There are four treats that can be used to call Max back home if he gets too close to the critters. Before your turn, choose a treat, place it on the porch and return Max to the house. There are only four treats and once a treat has been used it can’t be played again. Players have to use logic to deice when to use these treats.

Players can use the treats to make Max return to the house.
Use the cat treats to lure Max back to his spot on the house porch.


You win the game by getting all three critters to their nests in the tree. Each animal must land exactly on its home. If Max gets to the last space, he remains there. He will not come back to the house for any treats. The critters can “jump” over him if two green dots are rolled. But if they land on the space as Max, he gets them.

Players win the game when all the critters are safely in the tree.
All the critters are safe in their tree homes and you win the game.

This seems like a very simple game, however, it’s more challenging and involving then you might think. We bought this game second hand out of curiosity. Considering the age suggestion on the box, we thought we would check it out, play it a handful of times and find a new home for it. But much to our surprise, we became engaged in the game and play it from time to time.

What we like about it:

The co-op style of the game is great for elementary-aged kids—no sore losers and it makes for an even playing field, encouraging team work. Max is an easy to play game but challenging.

Things that could be better:

The board that came in our box doesn’t lie flat. I’m sure that this is a manufacturing miss-step. (As we bought it used, maybe it was sold this way as an “imperfect”.) It doesn’t impact game play however so it’s not a big deal. The box is another area that we’re not fans of. Although it is a great size, if has a tendency to come untucked. The last thing that takes away form the game is the artwork, especially on the box. It feels out of date. Again, this doesn’t effect the fun of the game but it did make me think the game was old and out of date.

About the comply:

Usually, I don’t go into detail about the game maker, but in the case of Family Pastimes, it seems important. First, they are Canadian—local to Ottawa where we’re rom. Canadian pride! They also make everything at their shop. Next, the company, that is family owned, make only co-optative games because they believe that games should bring people together not pit them against each other. Third, they work hard at being environmentally friendly—re-using materials, using eco-friendly inks and products. In this day and age and commendable practice and one that shows that this company cares.


Max is a great family game—and not just for early elementary-aged kids. The whole family can play and not be board to tears. It is easy to see why this game has won Best Game Awards form both Parenting Magazine and Canadian Toy Testing. It is easy but challenging. Make room on your Family Game Shelf for Max—especially if you have elementary-aged kids.


Rating of four out of six dice
Five out of six dice rating


Five out of six dice rating


Pros: easy, co-op, challenging, whole family play
Cons: artwork, box quality
Mom: co-op, logical thinking,

To buy this great grade school game click here.
You can find more game reviews here.
For games for younger kids check out Playroom clean out.


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