Can't You Stack Tama and Friends – a popular stacking and balance game in Japan

Can't You Stack Tama & Friends (or Tama and Friends Stackable Figurines) is a popular stacking and balance game in Japan. It consists of ten cute figures based on the ten main animal characters from the Tama & Friends comic and cartoon series. Although the instructions and packaging are all in Japanese, no knowledge of the language or of the characters' stories or history is needed to enjoy this set.

Tama is a cat. He's got yellow ears, a black spot over his left eye, and a huge crush on Momo. The rest of his friends are (from left to right and top to bottom as in the top photo above) Pochi, Gon, Kuro, Beh, Tama, Tora, Nora, Momo, Koma, and, finally, Buru the Bulldog. They are a bunch of lovable scamps who get into all kinds of mischief. Now that you know their names, you're ready to play.

Truthfully, there isn't much in the way of rules for this game. Basically, set one character down on a flat surface, then try really hard to balance another character atop the first. If you can do that, try another. And so on. The back of the box gives a few pictures as examples or challenges and for that, knowing the characters' names can be helpful, but there is no required order of stacking. However, don't let the simplicity of the set fool you. This is a real challenge.

The figures are made of high quality, durable plastic molded into a variety of sitting positions. The level of detail is quite striking, with eyes, mouths, paw pads, and collars or body markings clearly painted and visible on all sides of the figures. The paintwork itself makes the set exceptional. My set has been handled and used for several years no with no visible fading. Also, branding is kept to an absolute minimum and consists of a single mark on the back of the heads that must be felt more than seen.

But back to the gameplay – although sold as a game (in Japan at least), if this were a digital product it would be listed as a sandbox game. The rules just aren't that important. I've watched kids use the figures as action figures and I've seen them spend hours working out the best combinations to stack as many as possible as high as possible. In other words, use the rules or make up your own, either way, this set of figures is a lot of fun.

– Joel Neff

Tama and Friends Stackable Figurines


Ages 6 and up, includes 10 figures

$30 Buy one on Amazon