We met on January 23rd for our first game club of the spring. Some of the games were favorites from previous meetings, while others were new to the group. Here are the games that we played:
New games this month:
Quoridor – This labyrinth building game has you trying to move your pawn from one end of the board to the other. To block your opponent you build walls using wooden fence pieces. This game was enjoyed by the 8+ crowd, and while easy to learn, it would be a fun game to master and even more enjoyable when applying strategy.
Pyramix – A pyramid-shaped stack of blocks and a triangular shaped holder make up this deceivingly simple looking game. While the premise is easy – remove blocks to gain points – the strategy is what keeps you coming back to the game. This game can play pretty quickly, maybe 15-20 minutes, but it is fun for everyone. Though recommended for ages 8+, somewhat younger kids can enjoy playing, even if they do not understand the strategy.
Animal Upon Animal – This stacking game is fun for kids and adults alike. Roll the dice, follow the directions for stacking, and try to be the one who stacks all their animals to win the game. The wooden animals are wonderfully tactile and well-made, adding to the pleasure of playing. Recommended for 4+, and not boring for adults or older kids, especially when the stack topples.
Unicorn Glitterluck – Made by the same company as Animal Upon Animal, though this game involves racing to the sun cloud with the most sparkly jewels. This game is a great replacement for Candyland or Chutes and Ladders, plus has the added bonus of fun jewels to collect and cupcake break cards. Recommended for ages 3+.
Little Red Riding Hood – This game by Iello is part of a series of storybooks turned games. This game can either be played cooperatively with players helping Little Red Riding Hood get to Grandma’s house, or competitively with one of the players acting as the wolf. Players draw cards to move forward or backward along the path; first player to reach Grandma’s house wins. Little Red Riding Hood is recommended for ages 7+, though younger kids can play it with a little help.
Roll For It Deluxe This game is another that is easy to learn and addictive to play. Up to eight players take turns rolling their dice, trying to match their dice to the ones pictured on the cards. The first person to match all the dice on a card wins those points; first person to 40 points wins the game. Recommended for 8+, though younger kids who can count can easily match their dice to the cards to play. Highly recommended for parties or family events because you can easily chat while playing.
Slamwich – Fun card slapping game that is great for memory practice. Cards feature various sandwich foods, as well as thieves and munchers. Players take turns playing their cards; if they create a “sandwich” and slap the stack, they win all the cards in the stack. If you are out of cards, you are out of the game. First person to win all the cards wins the game. This can become raucous, but lots of fun for kids and adults. Recommended for ages 6+, though younger kids can easily play the game.
Moose in the House – A card matching game that is fun for all ages. The goal is to keep the moose out of your house while sending them over to another player’s house. Use doors and moose traps. Player with the fewest moose wins the game. Recommended for ages 8+, though kids under 8 can learn how to play.
Love Letter – Though the game only has 16 cards, it is full of palace intrigue and deductive strategy. Players seek to get their love letter into the hands of the princess, and use their cards to eliminate romantic rivals. The game plays quickly, but is lots of fun. Practice is necessary to master it. Recommended for ages 8+, but younger kids who can keep their cards secret can also play.
Catan Junior – A great introduction to Catan for the younger crowd, with the added bonus of pirates and parrots! This is played on islands, each with a specific resource. Players start by building hideouts and ships, then work to get resources by rolling the dice and trading as necessary. The goal is to control seven pirate hideouts. Recommended for ages 5+.
Mental Blox – This is a solo game that is fun for younger kids. The box contains 20 large stackable game pieces and 20 photo cards. The goal is to match the photo card with the blocks in the box. This is a great game for kids who like pattern matching and tangrams as well as building and stacking. Because the blocks are stacked, they are also good for practicing fine motor control. Listed for ages 5+, though kids as young as three can play.
Requested games from March 2015 Game Club:
Sushi Go! – Imagine a sushi restaurant where the plates travel past you and you select what you want. Now convert those plates into cards featuring adorable sushi. That’s Sushi Go! Each player is dealt a number of cards (7-10, depending on number of players), selects the best one from their hand and places it face up on the table, then passes the hand facedown to the next player. Play continues in this way until the hands are empty. The cards are then tallied. What makes the game fun? The cartoons on the cards, the search for pudding cards, and the strategy that begins to develop the more you play – do you add to your set of nigiri cards? or do you take the sashimi card to prevent a fellow player from completing their set? For ages 8 and up, though younger kids like the fun artwork and passing the cards.
Star Fluxx – The rules of this game? They change on every single turn! Instead of set rules for all turns, the cards on each turn direct the play. On their turn, players draw a card and play a card. But the cards they draw can, and do, change the rules each time. Some cards have you add more to your hand. Some cards have you take cards from others. Other cards create new rules for specific keeper cards. Add to this the awesome sci fi references and in-jokes (Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, Doctor Who, and so on), and you have a game that appeals to a variety of gamers. Definitely for ages 8 and up, as younger kids tend to get upset that the rules change, plus they need to be able to read well.
Spot It! – This pictures only game is great for kids and adults alike. Kids love to spot the matching items, and this is a subtle way to work on pattern recognition while having fun. Adults with, ahem, a competitive streak, can also have a good time with this game. There are now several versions of this game, including a junior version with animals, but the original version is still lots of fun.
Uno – What to say about Uno? It’s a great family game, kids as young as four can easily figure out how to play it (with perhaps some help reading a card or two), and both kids and adults can have fun playing. Plus, it’s an easy way to introduce strategy games to younger players, while not boring adults and older kids. This is a game that we always take on vacation, and all kinds of people love to play.
Requested games from December 2014 Game Club:
Sequence for Kids – This is a kids’ version of the traditional Sequence game, but with animals on the board instead of standard playing cards. The game’s adorable animals appeal to younger kids, while older kids and adults can employ strategy to win. This game is easy to understand, can be played quickly, but still feels like a “real” game. We have had lots of fun with diverse ages playing this game, though it is technically geared towards ages 3-6.
Left, Center, Right – This pocket game is quick, fun and highly addictive. The rules are simple – each player starts with three tokens, rolls three dice, and does what the dice say – pass their tokens to other players, put their tokens in the center, or keep their tokens. The winner is the player who ends up with all the tokens. This game is so much fun and so easy! We take this game for restaurant waits, enjoy it as a quick and fun game for after dinner, little kids love it, adults aren’t bored by it, and since there is no strategy, it also makes a great game to play while chatting. It’s also inexpensive, which makes it a great game to buy and try.
Requested games from October 2014 Game Club:
Blink – Another card game that appears simple, but actually works your brain. The premise – two players compete to get rid of their stack of cards by placing cards into two piles based on color, number or shape. For adults and older kids, it is a fast, fun, game. For younger kids, it is an entertaining way to work on counting, categorizing and recognizing shapes and colors. We have also played it at home in a “solitaire” version – one player, two stacks, with unusable cards shuffled to the bottom of the stack – which has become a favorite game in its own right.
Qwirkle – As one of the parents who played it said, it’s like dominoes and Scrabble for shapes and colors, and that is pretty accurate. The bright colors and distinct shapes on the tiles make this game attractive to kids, but the points calculations and strategy make it appealing to adults and older kids. Your aim is to get a line of six different shapes or six colors in a continuous line, with no repeats allowed. However, every other player wants to do the same, and because you are limited to no more than six colors or shapes in a line, the tiles branch out across the table, similarly to Scrabble (the points are simliar to Scrabble too). This game is one where varying ages can play together and all have a good time.
Blokus – The pieces of this game look like something out of Tetris, but instead of fitting them together, players need to fit them so only the corners touch. More complicated than the other games, even younger players who may not understand the strategy of blocking opponents will enjoy this game. And a bonus: the pieces are great for making beautiful pictures on the board after the game is over.