Almost everyone I know has a closet full of board games. I seem to have immersed myself in groups of game-playing friends for so long that I’m always surprised to find out when a friend owns hardly a single game. And then it’s usually Monopoly or The Game of Life. Perhaps Scrabble if I’m lucky. Sometimes it takes people a while to get into tabletop gaming, once they realize they might enjoy it, but getting them into it through their kids is a great way to speed things up. Here are some games that might help.
Gamewright is a game publisher that makes a wide variety of fun tabletop games for all members of your family. They publish some of my family’s favorites, including Rory’s Story Cubes, GUBS, Tiki Topple, and City Square Off. They also make the much-celebrated Forbidden Island. Gamewright has sent me a variety of their new games to review, and here I profile a few of them.
Scrambled States of America
Based on a book by the same name, this card game teaches basic United States geography including state locations, state names, state capitals, and state nicknames. You can tailor this game to your audience, playing with speed as a factor, or not, if your kids are young. The game is a lot of fun, but for any kids that are already familiar with United States geography, I’d set the age range to lower than the stated 8+. But it’s a fun game that the whole family can get in on. If your kids are begging for more domestic geography after this, I also recommend the iOS app, Stack the States.
Knock Your Blocks Off
Build a structure quickly, referencing your structure manual, and place your crown on top. Then try to knock down each other’s structures based on what you roll on the special die. This game got mixed reviews from my kids, and from me, since some of the structure choices have distinct advantages over the others. We also had some questions about how to apply some of the rules. But the pieces are of very good quality, and it’s a “knock your neighbor’s tower over” kind of game, so hilarity is likely to ensue. Unless you are sticklers for rules, like we are.
Read Jonathan Liu’s more detailed review here.
This game is fun and whimsical for preschoolers and the people that love them. It’s much more entertaining than Candyland, and there is some strategy hidden in the gameplay. I will leave that discovery for you, since it will give you something to do while your kids take a while packing the elephant’s clothes. The game pieces are of great quality, and the game is a lot of fun, even for kids older than four. This is definitely one we have played again, even though my youngest is eight. Plus, the pieces are such that kids can invent all kinds of other games with them.
Arrr, mateys. This is a game of pirate fun, gold coins, and outsmarting your friends. Another game with a bit of luck and a bit of strategy, you play until everyone has eight coins, which come in different values. Whoever has the most coin value in the end wins, but along the way, the cards allow you to thwart your
enemies friends by stealing their coins or forcing them to draw low valued ones. The game is different each time you play, but memory is one element of the game, so some skill will help you win.
One interesting part of Scallywags is that whoever tells the funniest pirate joke gets to go first. Gamewright has a great tradition of unusual ways to decide who goes first. Their game Tiki Topple, for example, dictates that whoever ate coconut last gets to go first. This guarantees that my son will never go first in that game; he doesn’t like coconut.
Read Jonathan Liu’s detailed GeekDad review of Scallywags here.
Check out these and other GameWright games. They make a good selection of things for all ages, including adults!
Note: I received these games for review purposes.