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Hours Of Fun With The Horrible Histories Battle Arena

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Hours Of Fun With The Horrible Histories Battle Arena
Our children already have some Horrible Histories starter battle packs and knowing their reaction to these I was very excited about giving them the Horrible Histories Battle Arena.

I wasn’t disappointed. Their faces lit up as soon as they saw the instantly recognizable logos and the images on the box were enough to turn this excitement into a near frenzy. This says volumes for the great fun the toys engender for although Tom (7 years old) regularly giggles along to the series Harry (at nearly 5) hasn’t really got into it yet. Despite this he loved the Roman and Egyptian Battle Packs that we gave them a couple of months ago and he was just as eager as Tom to tear into the Battle Arena.

I’ve written previously about the starter sets and the Battle Arena is a joyous and gory add-on to these battle packs and just pushes the idea of Ancient World confrontations to a new level. With a Pharaoh and Caesar as your leaders it effectively creates a self-contained gladiatorial arena where you can array your troops opposite your enemy and then let rip! It has platforms for your respective leader to oversee the action, exploding pillars, secret lairs, Roman jails, Egyptian tombs and a host of new characters
Horrible Histories battle Arena
like gladiators on the Roman side and Mummies on the Egyptian. If the original Horrible Histories game was resonant of the battles between toy soldiers that my generation enjoyed in the 70s, then the Battle Arena is the equivalent to a fort or castle. What I loved about those games way back in the day was the breadth of action created by the huge amount of time needed to set things up, and that’s one of the main things that my kids absolutely adore in this. By the time the pigs start flying (not a metaphor) the battle is almost done, but setting up their battle lines and organising their strategy is the pull of this game and that’s why this is a toy that mine whoop about whenever we get it off the shelf.

The tv show is fantastic for kids just getting introduced to History because it treads a fine line between the actual teaching of facts and information and the more gruesome or lavatorial humour that kids always love. This game pulls a similar trick between the idea of fighting and death and black humour. There will be those who want
Harry playing with Battle Arena
kids to veer away from games that feature heads on sticks, men attacking other men with swords and people being flattened by pigs but, like it or loathe it, such confrontations are a massive part of our past, our present and our future. Well, maybe not the bit about pigs. Still, what the Horrible Histories Battle Arena does is to introduce these ideas in a family-friendly, funny and enjoyable manner whilst still teaching kids important facts about real historical figures and the Ancient World.

This is a fabulous toy and together with our other sets means that we now have the ability to pretty much take over the living room with a huge grudge match between the two most influential Empires in History. Great learning toys that are capable of leading to hours of entertainment are few and far between but by keeping it simple Horrible Histories have achieved exactly that. The kids love it, I love it and I’ve sneaky feeling that Caesar would appreciate it as well. Brilliant!

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Dave Fouracre aka "Dave the Dad" is a regular feature writer & blogger for TheBabyWebsite and is Dad to two sons and a daughter!
July 2013

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