Max: A Favorite Preschool Board Game

Published by Family Pastimes in 1986, Max remains a favorite preschool board game with its cooperative play and delightful theme.

Attempting to move three friendly animals safely to their tree home and escape from the prowling cat is the player’s goal in the board game called Max.   Max is the name of a Tomcat who is on the hunt for a bird, a chipmunk, and a mouse in the game.  All players work together during the cooperative game to help the scurrying animals reach their tree.

The contents of the game include a board, a pair of dice (with black or green pips), the three small animal pieces, Max the cat piece, and four special treat tokens.  This simple list is anything but boring. The stimulating theme provides preschoolers with lots of action.  They are on an important mission to save the animals from the hungry cat Max.

The cooperative nature of the game makes it a wonderful stepping stone for children just learning how to strategize, work together, reason, and make some possible difficult decisions.  The animals don’t always get away but players do the best they can with the rolls of their dice.  For parents playing with children, Max is a challenging, yet easy to follow game.  Young gamers not only experience winning or losing together which will help them later cope with winning or losing on their own, but they learn valuable skills for future game play and life.

The board is a path of 28 spaces. It begins on the Porch (space 1) and travels through a yard to the animals Tree home (space 28).  Players begin by placing Max on the Porch and the three animals on the Stump (space 7).  This gives them a head start.

The roll of the dice determines movement for both the three animals and for Max.  If a black pip is rolled, Max moves.  If a green pip is rolled, the animals move.  The pair of dice provide the following choices for the players to make;

  • 1 black pip and 1 green pip: players will move Max one space, and decide which of the three animals would be the best animal to move ahead a space.
  • 2 black pips: Max moves two spaces
  • 2 green pips: The animals move two spaces.  However, the decision needs to be made which is the best animal or animals to move ahead as not each animal moves.  One animal can move two spaces or two animals can move one space.

The four treats in the game are used to call Max back to the porch.  If Max gets too close to an animal, players may decide to use a treat.  With only four treats, though, players need to use them sparingly.  Max is quite the fast and sneaky cat.  He can catch up to any animal at any time.  This added suspense for the roll is absorbing for young children.

The theme and the goal found in the cooperative game of Max is one which preschool children can fully enjoy.  The ease of play allows players to focus on having fun while working together to get the animals back home.  If the goal is successful, all players can relax and feel like real little heroes.

Jenny Kile

Admin. of All About Fun and Games. Along with being an avid collector and player of table top games, I am a writer, researcher, treasure hunter, and Founder of Kardtects ( ) I believe fun is everywhere and you are welcome to visit my other sites: (which explores mystery, adventure and the search for treasures) and (which takes building card houses to completely new levels. Kardtects is the next generation of card house building!) Email:

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2 Responses

  1. July 13, 2012

    […] to their tree home and escape from the prowling cat is the player’s goal in the board game called Max.  Max is the name of a Tomcat who is on the hunt for a bird, a chipmunk, and a mouse in the game. […]

  2. August 22, 2013

    […] Max is another game with an appealing theme. Players all work together to help three animals (a bird, chipmunk, and mouse) move safely across the board; before Max, the tomcat, gets them.  The cooperative method of play is a wonderful first stepping stone into games; as it allows parents to help children strategize, plan, and make tough decisions.  Children learn valuable game skills without the fear of failing alone.  Understanding it is not whether a player wins or loses, but the enjoyment found while playing can be taught with this game. […]

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