1. Difficult Instructions
Playing Mousetrap consists of setting up a complex series of chain reactions (turning a crack pulls a rubber band that snaps a piece into place to knock over a small bucket with a marble in it, etc.) in order to drop a small plastic cage onto another player’s mouse. This means that you spend the bulk of game play trying to sort through the instructions to figure out how you’re supposed to build the next part of the Mousetrap. This can be challenging or frustrating for young or impatient players who just want to get on with the fun instead of trying to puzzle through instructional diagrams.
2. No Rewards For Mastery
Unfortunately for those who wish to get on with the fun, there’s not much fun to get on with. Once you’ve mastered the task of building the Mousetrap itself, you’ll find there’s nothing else to the game except hoping you roll lucky numbers. The only reward for learning how to build the Mousetrap is that in future rounds, you’ll simply be bored instead of frustrated.
3. No Creativity
To successfully win at Mousetrap, you’ve got to put all creative thoughts out of your head and do nothing but follow the instructions throughout the game. A lot of the fun of building things is deciding what goes where, but Mousetrap takes all that fun out of it by telling you the exact order and placement for every single piece of the trap.
4. No Strategy
There’s no such thing as a player who is good at Mousetrap, because there’s absolutely no strategy involved. Winning Mousetrap depends entirely on luck. This is a plus if you’re playing with a mixture of kids and adults, because everyone is on equal footing, but it also means that after you’ve all played a few rounds, the novelty will wear off, and you’re likely to stow Mousetrap away in the garage on a high shelf and switch to a game that has a bit more substance.
5. Players Can Lose Early
Once the Mousetrap is built, some players can usually be eliminated quite quickly. However, it’s possible for the last two or three mice to chase each other around the final circle of the game for quite a long time. This means that in my experience, the first person to lose in a round of Mousetrap may have a wait of up to fifteen minutes on their hands until other players are done with the game. This can definitely put a damper on the fun.
6. Choking Hazard
Mousetrap is definitely a family game. Unfortunately, many of the pieces are small, which means that they are possible choking hazards. If your family includes young children, toddlers, or babies who haven’t learned to look with their eyes instead of their mouths, steer clear of Mousetrap.
7. Pieces Easily Lost
Because so many of the Mousetrap pieces are small, it’s easy to lose them. Once you lose a single piece of the Mousetrap, you won’t be able to successfully build the rest of it, which means you won’t be able to play the game to completion.
8. Easily Broken
Many of the building blocks of the Mousetrap are made of fairly thin and fragile plastic, or have small pegs on them which can easily snap off in a boisterous player’s hands. Like losing a piece, breaking any single piece means you can no longer build the Mousetrap or play the game at all.
9. Long Clean-Up
The Mousetrap is built out of over twenty pieces, and to get the game back in the box at the end of play you’ll need to take apart the entire thing. This can mean a pretty lengthy clean-up that isn’t very much fun at all. Clean-up is when pieces of the Mousetrap are most probably to be lost or damaged, so you need to be the most conscientious and careful just when you’re likely to have your mind on something else, like what you’re going to do now that you’re done playing.
10. More Fun To Make Your Own
The appeal of Mousetrap lies in building a crazy machine that does neat stuff. Luckily, you can have all of the fun of building a wacky contraption without buying Mousetrap at all. Instead of buying Mousetrap, try setting up your own fun chain reaction in the style of madcap inventor Rube Goldberg. For some fun ideas, check out his inspiring work at the official Rube Goldberg homepage, http://www.rube-goldberg.com/