Traffic Game Challenges Kids to Quickly Match Car Colors
Board games are a great way to challenge kids — and adults — to develop their reaction time, visual discernment, and pattern recognition. A great example is Traffic.
A decade ago, game designer Annick Lobet created this little-known game that turns a frustrating real-life situation (rush hour traffic) into a speed matching activity for the whole family.
A fast-paced visual matching game of colorful cars
Publisher: Le Scorpion Masque
Designer: Annick Lobet
Box Dimensions: 4″ x 4″ x 2″
# of Players: 2-4 people
Ages: 8 and older
Category: Speed matching game
Play Time: 15 minutes
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How to Play Traffic
Take the nine round, wooden car tokens and place them on the board. The board features a grid with 16 intersection points, and those nine tokens should be distributed randomly among them. Distribute the deck of vehicle pattern cards evenly throughout all players.
When the game begins, everyone simultaneously races to spot an exact match between the cars on the board and the cars on one of their pattern cards. If someone notices a match, they yell “Beep beep,” stop the game, and confirm the pattern with the other players. If the match is correct, they discard that card. If it doesn’t match, the player keeps their card and receives a card from the first opponent who objects to the match.
A player can take the green traffic signal token, which allows them to slide one car to an adjacent spot. They cannot move another car until a different player takes the green token from them and moves a car.
The first player to discard all their cards wins.
- 1 game board
- 9 wooden cylinders in three colors (blue, red, and yellow cars)
- 1 green cylinder (traffic light)
- 40 standard-level cards
- 20 expert-level cards
The box for Traffic is a nice compact size that isn’t too big or small. Plus, its colorful and kinetic artwork has a lot of personality and draws kids’ attention. The box could use an insert so the discs and cards don’t slide around and get damaged, but plastic baggies also solve that problem.
The small cards won’t clutter up the table and the discs are durable enough to survive being moved around and grabbed.
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Thoughts on Learning Experience
The instructions come in English and French. Being a simple game, the rules are a quick read even without many visual aides, and the phrasing makes sense thanks to clear, careful phrasing. We didn’t run into any frustrations understanding the game, playing it or scoring it.
Luckily, there aren’t many rules to memorize; the idea of the game is very straightforward, so it’s easy for young players to catch on.
Thoughts on Playing Traffic
I know a lot of kids who love cars, bright colors, and fast activities; Traffic incorporates all of those appeals to make a fun game that families can play together. It doesn’t last too long and constantly, actively involves everyone around the table.
Stealing the green traffic light and objecting to proposed matches encourage player interaction, though sometimes arguments can start over who called a match first.
Even though Traffic can serve as a simple speed-matching game for children, the option of advanced-level cards makes it challenging for adults who like speed games. Traffic is simple in concept, but even as an adult I have to confess that it’s challenging to spot correct combinations quickly and not accidentally call out mirrored or inverted patterns.
If you can find a copy of it, Traffic is a fun time that adults and children can play together and all exercise their brains.
Traffic is out of print, but you can find copies of it online through second-hand retailers.
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a Hyundai Veloster Turbo (which recently replaced his 1995 Saturn SC-2). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.