We had a busy and fun game club this month, with a variety of games played by the kids.
The newest games:
Celestia – You board an aircraft with a team of adventurers to perform many trips through the cities of Celestia and recover their wonderful treasures. Your journey will not be safe, but you will attempt to be the richest adventurer by collecting the most precious treasures! Good balance of luck and strategy, with fast game play and fun for all players. Recommended for ages 8+.
Chess – The classic game played for hundreds of years, great for practicing strategy and critical thinking skills. Minutes to learn, takes a lifetime to master.
Dr. Eureka – The brilliant Dr. Eureka has important experiments for you to complete! Pick a challenge card, 3 test tubes and 6 colorful balls to solve his scientific formula. Carefully move your materials from tube to tube without dropping them and position the balls as illustrated on the challenge card. This game is a great, hand-on, dexterity-based, brainteaser that can be played in a group or as a single-player game. Recommended for ages 8+.
Elephant’s Trunk – A quick and fun game for the youngest players, your goal is to fill the trunks with the various clothing items that Elmer needs for his trip. Watch out for the mouse who will unpack everything you placed in the adorable metal trunks! Great for color matching, pattern recognition and sorting skills. Recommended for ages 4+.
Feed the Kitty – The game is simple and fun for young kids to play. Just roll the dice and see which side it lands on. Depending on what you get, you can pass one of your mice to the next person, take a mouse from the bowl, feed one of your mice to the cat or even do nothing at all. It’s a great way to develop your child’s understanding of math. They’ll learn how to count, add and subtract as they gain and lose mice. Ages 4+.
Fossil On! – Companion game to Rock On!, Fossil On! has a variety of fossils to identify using bingo-style cards. Game also includes fossil facts. Great game for kids who enjoy rocks, minerals and fossils, plus a fun way to learn more about fossils. Ages 3+, though kids in the 6-9 age range are especially interested.
Gubs – Players compete to build the best Gubs colony while battling lures, traps and other events. Cards on each turn direct the play, but strategy helps as well. Recommended for ages 10+ but kids as young as 6 who can read can play as well.
Guess Who? – The classic guessing game. Easy to play and fun for kids, without being overly boring for adults. Ages 6+ though younger kids with good attention to detail could enjoy playing.
Kahuna – A two-player game where players compete to control twelve islands using cards that direct their moves. Plays in about 20-30 minutes, combines fate + strategy, and easy to learn. Recommended for ages 10+ though younger kids who enjoy strategy games will enjoy it.
Mental Blox 360* – Based off the original game, Mental Blox, this game has more than just cubes, globes and cones to use to build the models on the enclosed game cards. This is a more advanced version, and great for kids and adults who like to work with their hands and have good spatial orientation. Recommended for ages 5+.
Qwixx – A dice game that is easy to play, and great for family night or events with multiple ages. Roll the dice and try to get as many numbers crossed off before the end of the game. Easy for kids to learn, but the technique and strategy will appeal to adults. Recommended for ages 8+, though kids as young as 5 can easily participate.
And games from previous meetings:
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.
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.
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.
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+.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ratuki – This deceptively simply card game has players stack decks with cards showing numbers, words or fingers counting from 1 to 5. The aim is to place a 5 or a Ratuki card on top of a four card before another player. Fast play has players putting down cards all at once, which can be frustrating for younger players. We have modified it for younger players so that everyone takes turns, which makes it more enjoyable for them. This two to five player game is great for kids who can recognize (or are learning to recognize) numbers 1-5, words for numbers 1-5, and can count quickly.
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.
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.
Sneaky Snacky Squirrel – The squirrels need your help! Spin the spinner, and the help your squirrel place it on your log. Be the first to fill your log with acorns and you win! Recommended for 3+.
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.
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.
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.
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.