Mousetrap: Part game, part construction project. When you boil down Mousetrap, you end up with a simple roll and move game, which is typical of most games in this series, but there's a bit more than that here. The fun part for most people was the creation of the full mouse trap, and watching something you built function. I think as a child, I probably played the actual game twice. I wanted to play by the full rules, I really did, but building and triggering the trap was always more fun.
I think Mousetrap is ultimately judged on the toy factor. It's a fairly simple game, with little choice, but it's a pretty fun toy. So, the question becomes how to make Mousetrap better. My answer, don't try. Play it as a toy, let the kids have fun with it, and when they're looking for better games, go elsewhere.
It's probably a cop-out to recommend the Adventurers again as a next step game but I think it works. You have a fair amount of the toy factor, but Adventurers combines the toys with a decent game.
BONKERS or SCORE!
Since that was relatively short, I'll give you a bonus micro review.
It's a Milton Bradley game from the 1978 called This Game is Bonkers or Bonkers for short. The object of the game is to get 12 scores, the first one to do this wins the game. So how do you score? There are 3 ways; 1st you can roll a 12, 2nd, you can land on the score spot, and 3rd, you can get caught in a loop. Now, this would be very simple, and take a very long time, but whenever you land on an empty spot, you can place a tile that tells you how to move. At first, this takes awhile, but eventually there are combos that lead you to scores. Also, if you land on a spot that someone else occupies, you get to roll again. This goes on until you land on an empty space after you've placed a tile, or until you "Go to Lose!" Every player is also given a token that allows them to send another player to Lose. Now, the fun part of this game is yelling "SCORE!" whenever someone scores a point, and sympathizing when someone goes to "LOSE."
Now, is this a great strategic game? No, not at all, But, it's a great way to start or end a game night. I know it's not in production anymore, but there are ebay copies, as well as thrift store and garage sale possibilities. It's a fun game with numbers, and if you approach to have fun rather than to win, you'll be glad you played it.
Also remember, it's the people that make things fun, appreciate those people who play games.