Our May Game Club had a variety of games new and old, as well as a game swap where our members traded games they had outgrown.
Here are the new games that we played:
Castle Panic – This is a cooperative game where the players work together to protect their castle from monsters trying to destroy it. Players win or lose as a team, but the player with the most victory points will be declared “Master Slayer.” Recommended for ages 10+ though kids in the 7-8 age range who can work as a team will also enjoy the game.
Dragon Farkle – Roll dice, gather your troops, and defeat the dragon menacing the countryside. But don’t roll a Farkle, or your troops will abandon you! This spin on the classic Farkle game allows you to attack the dragon and your opponents to become the greatest knight in the land. Ages 8+.
Flash Point – Get your gear, it’s time to fight a fire! In this cooperative game, you and your other fire fighters must put out fires and prevent explosions as you rescue victims from a burning building. Save seven victims, and you win the game, but you have to do so before the building collapses. A great starter cooperative game, with both easy and had modes, and tons of expansions. Ages 8+.
Lanterns – Decorate the palace lake with the most beautiful lanterns, and become the most
honored artisan of the festival! Place your tiles to earn cards and bonuses, but be careful not to help out your opponent, as for every card you receive, you are handing cards to your opponents too. Ages 8+.
Life – The classic board game of decision-making and adulthood. Kids love it for the cars, the baby pegs, and for the sense of making important decisions. Recommended for ages 8+ though younger kids can easily join in.
Niya – In this unique spin on tic-tac-toe, you are trying to arrange your tokens to gain the favor of the emperor. In the 4×4 imperial garden, if you can get four in a row, four in a square, or force your opponent to pass, you win. Ages 8+.
Planetarium – It is the beginning of a new solar system, and matter collides around a new born star. Under your guidance, planets will evolve, grow, and migrate into their orbits to meet your secret goals. This game, designed in part by a NASA scientist, is steeped in planetary science, including all kinds of asteroid impacts, atmospheric effects, and geological events. Ages 8+.
Splendor – Become a Renaissance merchant trying to buy gems, mines, transportation, and shops in order to acquire the most prestige, and hopefully catch the eye of a noble! This simple, engine building game is a great for beginners and can be learned in less than five minutes. Reach 15 prestige points and you win! Recommended for ages 10+ though younger kids can learn quickly.
Star Wars Top Trumps – This is a simple enough game that is fun for the kids. Compare each pair of cards to determine who wins their opponent’s card. The Star Wars theme is especially fun for fans of the Star Wars movies.
And here are favorite games from our previous meetings that we played:
Age of War – Using your dice, marshal your samurai and conquer as many castles as you can. Collect all the castles of a single clan and get bonus points. This Yahtzee-like dice game is quick and easy to play. While it’s recommended for 14+, we’ve found that kids as young as have no problems understanding it.
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.
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.
Brownie Match – Can you remember which brownies are where? Spin the spinner, choose a brownie. If the brownie matches put it on your plate. If the brownie has a start, keep it and go again! First to five brownies wins! Recommended for 4+.
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+.
Chocolate Fix – In this solo play game similar to Sudoku, examine the cards, and use the clues to determine where to place your candies. 4 levels with 40 different puzzles to solve! Recommended for 8+.
The Hare and the Tortoise – The traditional fable has been turned on its head and is now a board and betting game. Players the top two animals in the race, and play their cards to get their animals across the finish line first. Along the way, the other players seek to win the race themselves. The twist? Each animal has different ways they can advance around the board, based on the cards played and position on the board. This game is best for ages 8 and up, and is best for kids who can follow more complex game rules.
King of Tokyo – You are a monster from a those classic Japanese monster movies. Roll your dice and collect your energy, punch your opponents, or claim victory points! Knock your opponents out of the game, or get to 20 victory points first and you win! Can your monster become King of Tokyo? Recommended for 8+.
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.
Logic Labyrinth – You have the map to the genie’s treasure! There’s only one problem. It’s been torn in multiple pieces. You have to put the map together to claim the treasure. The person with a quick eye for matching the map back together claims the treasure! Recommended for 6+.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Santorini – Come help build the island of Santorini, with its beautiful blue domed roofs. Play is simple. Move a worker, then have that worker build. Master the basics, and then enlist the Greek gods to help you! Build a beautiful three dimensional island, and if your worker reaches the top you win! Recommended for 8+.
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.
Skippity – What is the best part of checkers? Jumping another checker! Skippity is a board game based on jumping five different colors of checkers over each other. Kids who understand that part of checkers *love* this aspect of the game. To win, players need to collect checkers in all the colors. The player with the most sets of checkers (all five colors make a set) wins the game. This game is lots of fun for kids who enjoy checkers, and simple enough that even younger players can enjoy 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.
Sorry! Revenge – This card game joins the Sorry! board game with the speed of War to make a fun game that kids and adults alike can enjoy. Two people can play, though it is more fun to have three or four players. This game is a game of chance rather than strategy, which levels the playing field between age groups. You can use this game to practice math (counting to 21), while the action cards add fun, and the Sorry! and Don’t be Sorry! cards are the twists that make the game interesting. For ages 6 and up, and fun for all ages.
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.
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.
Survive: Escape from Atlantis – Get your “meeples” to the boats, Atlantis is sinking! But beware of the sharks, whales, and sea serpents that your opponents are sending after you. The whales will sink your boats and leave your meeples stranded. The sharks will eat your meeples. And the sea serpents will do both! Get the most meeples off the island and you win! Recommended for 8+.
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.
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+.
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.