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Our first stop at Toy Fair was to the Gamewright booth. We got to see a bunch of games that have just released or will be out later in 2019. One thing Gamewright is doing this year is taking two of their popular games and created new games with different gameplay elements.

Sushi Roll

For any fans of Sushi Go, Gamewright has re-imagined it into a brand new game Sushi Roll! In Sushi Roll each player rolls a set of dice and chooses which to add to their plate. The remaining sushi pass to the next player on a conveyor belt. Then each player rolls their new dice before choosing which to add to their plate. The player board lists the point values for each kind of sushi. The game includes scoring tokens as well, so players who enjoy Sushi Go, have the option to use them there as well. Sushi Roll releases later in 2019.

Rat-a-Tat Roll

Rat-a-Tat Roll is the second popular game to be re-imagined. The same aesthetic and core game element remains the same, but there is a big change, namely the board and rolling dice. The original Rat-a-Tat Cat is strictly a card game. In contrast the new Rat-a-Tat Roll game included as board that players move around, and try and gather cards with the lowest score. Rat-a-Tat Roll releases later in 2019.

This Game Goes to Eleven

Gamewright has taken this simple counting game for two to five players, which given it a light heavy metal theme. This Game Goes to Eleven is a Target Exclusive, and is for players ages eight and up. Players discard cards in their hand and add the numbers as they go. If the pile of cards is exactly eleven after you play your card, you give the whole pile to another player. On your turn, if your card bring the total over eleven you get the pile too. The player with the least cards at the end wins. This Game Goes to Eleven is available now.

Bloom

Roll and write games a very popular right now, and Bloom is a great one in that genre. In Bloom you are trying to gather flowers of the same color and quantity as on your sheet. On your turn you roll the dice and choose which color and number best matches the flowers in your garden. To end the game, a player must have three colors of flowers where they circled all the flowers of those colors, or completed four garden beds. Bloom releases later in 2019.

Whozit?

Whozit? is a cooperative party game where there is a clue giver and the other players are trying to select a person or character from a pool of six. Players give clues by placing statements on a continuum from “definitely” to “definitely not”. Each correct answer moves a pawn along a small board, and players can see how well they have done at the end of the five rounds of the game. Whozits? releases later in 2019.

Port-A-Party

Everyone needs a silly party game in their collection, and Port-A-Party fits that bill. Players add or take away different attribute cards. The attributes are sorted by color and players try and name a person who meets all the criteria of the description, all while being timed. Port-A-Party releases later in 2019.

Punto

Tiny and in a portable tin Punto is a great game to take on the go. Players are trying to build a consecutive row in any direction of six of their color cards. Players may not build beyond a six by six grid, and can place their card on top of another players if they have a higher valued card. Punto will be released later in 2019.

Guju Guju

If you are looking for a silly game to play with young children check out Guju Guju. Fruit cards are placed face up in the center, and each player has a hand of additional fruit cards. Players do not know what is in their hands. Before flipping a card players must guess the fruit, if they are right a fruit frenzy occurs where they try and place as many fruits cards down as possible on the banans before all the bananas are covered.
Guju Guju is available now.

Quixx Deluxe

Quixx Deluxe takes this favorite roll and write and super sized it. There are now dry erase boards to mark your score instead of the typical consumable pad. The original game only plays up to five players, and Quixx Deluxe can support up to eight. An additional way to play is included in this edition, which is available now.

Twin It!

Speed is the name of the game. Twin It! has players quickly flipping cards trying to make matches. Keep a close eye out, there are 119 different patterns and some are very similar. The game also has three modes of play: cooperative, cooperative, or team. Twin It! is available now.

Dragon Realms

Gamewright is putting out Dragon Realm, which is the next chapter in the world of Dragonwood. Minimal details are available about the game. We know the name and there was a box for the game, but no specifics about gameplay or components. Gamewright is anticipating a launch of the game at Gencon in August.

Keep your eyes on EngagedFamilyGaming.com for more updates and reviews!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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GameWright Games was at New York Toy Fair  this year, just like normal, and it was my pleasure to take a look at their 2018 games. Their full 2018 slate was there, with the sole exception of the cooperative game Forbidden Sky.

I was treated to brief demos of most of their games this year. All of them are cute and many of them will do very well, but my attention was drawn to two specific games that I think you need to hear about.

Trash Pandas

Trash Pandas - Gamewright Games

Trash Pandas is a push your luck card game where players take on the role of raccoons digging through a neighborhood’s trash.

The first part of the game involves rolling dice in order to collect tokens that determine what actions are available. There are six tokens representing possible actions that you can take on an turn. You roll a die and claim the token that matches the symbol that comes up. At that point you can either move to the next phase and spend your tokens to take those actions or roll again to try to earn more tokens. If you roll a symbol that has already come up, then you bust and your turn is over. Taking actions will allow you to draw cards, bank them for points, or mess with your opponents. The game ends when the deck runs out of cards.

This is a game that is firmly nestled in Internet meme culture. Trash pandas is a term for raccoons that showed up on Reddit. It has just been almost universally adopted by users across the Internet. Its funny, its vaguely descriptive, but most importantly, it gives you an idea of the sense of humor that this game is built around. It is juvenile, but not crass. This lighthearted fun is involved in every part of the game from the artwork all the way to the terminology used on them. It even influences the box art. Trash Pandas will be releasing sometime in early 2018 and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.

 

Squirmish

Squirmish - Gamewright Games

Squirmish is a a card combat game that we reviewed before it was launched on Kickstarter several years ago. The highlights of the game at that point was its square cards, the quirky art design, and interesting combat. This is a new track for GameWright to take because normally they don’t focus on games that involve combat. Instead, they favor games that focus on either cooperation or gentle competition.With that said, this game fits perfectly with GameWright’s other offerings by being lighthearted, silly, and fun.

Combat in Squirmish involves playing square-shaped cards onto the table creating a spiraling battlefield that is referred to as a Squirmish (shocker. I know.).We had our issues with the game initially before the game went to Kickstarter, but most of them were about game balance. GameWright has come through and smoothed out the design. They redesigned the game to make it faster and more aggressive.

Squirmish will be released sometime in 2018 and we cannot wait to get our hands on this new and improved game. Keep your eye on EFG for more information.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Gamewright announced their 2018 lineup of games today. This year their releases range from a preschool game about collecting ice  and a colorful cooperative card game that rewards smart communication. The games will be on display at this year’s New York Toy Fair which will take place from Feb. 17-20th. Take a look at their lineup below and let us know in the comments if you see anything that catches your eye.

 

Chill Out!

A “refreshing” new pre-school game, with dice that look like ice.

Chill Out - Gamewright Games

“Fun on the rocks! A bevy of freshly-squeezed drinks waits to be served – all they need is ice!  Roll the color die, choose a matching tray, and scoop up the ice cubes. Then drop them one at a time around the board, hoping to land some in your cup. Snag a blueberry for extra points, but watch out for slippery hands trying to snag your cubes! Fill up the frostiest float and you’re the coolest!”

  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 5+
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • S.R.P.: $16.00
  • Availability: Summer 2018

Trash Pandas

A raucous raccoon-themed card game, the latest in our signature card game line.

Trash Pandas - Gamewright Games

“Trash is treasure! In this raucous card game, paw through the deck to find sets of day-old pizza, half-eaten candy, and other luscious leftovers. Roll the die to tip over the garbage or raid a rival’s rubbish, if there’s no Doggos standing guard. The more you roll, the more actions you can take – but get too greedy and your turn is scrapped! Stash the most trash and you’re pick of the litter!”

  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • S.R.P.: $12.00
  • Availability: Summer 2018

Long Cow

A hilarious new card game, packaged in a milk carton that actually “mooos!”

Long Cow - Gamewright Games

 

“It’s the moo-mentous card game of competitive cattle construction! Build cows by collecting heads, tails, and middles from the deck. The longer the cow, the more points you score. Bolster your barn with holy cows, robot cows, and even a cross-bred Franken-cow. But make hay before your herd is hit by a tornado, or worse- an alien abduction! Round up the biggest bovines and party like the cows came home!”

  • Players: 2-5
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • S.R.P.: $16.00
  • Availability: Summer 2018

Zoinx!

An “all or nothing” dice game, packaged in our popular “Qwixx” box.

Zoinx - Gamewright Games

“It’s high-rolling hijinx with this game of dicey decisions! First, all players secretly predict how many dots they think you will roll. Then shake the dice and keep rolling as long as you meet your target. But push your luck too far and Zoinx! – you lose everything and the points go to the players who bet against you!”

  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • S.R.P.: $11.00
  • Availability: Now Shipping

Squirmish

A humorous “card battling” game, featuring a cartoonish cast of odd-ball brawlers.

Squirmish - Gamewright Games

“Enter The Squirmish, a ridiculous rumble where creatures clash and only the strangest survive! Draft an odd-squad of warriors with names like Kittyclops, Pompaduck, and Killgore the Conqueror. Then position them into the melee and roll to attack. Each of seventy scrappers has its own preposterous powers, so you’ll need strategy – and a bit of luck – to survive! Knock out the competition and become the beastie boss!”

We actually previewed Squirmish while it was on Kickstarter before Gamewright picked it up!

  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • S.R.P.: $16.00
  • Availability: Summer 2018

Cahoots

A colorful new cooperative game where communication is key.

Cahoots - Gamewright Games

“In this colorful card game, cooperation is key! Play cards to one of four piles by matching color or number. Work together as a team  to complete a series of goals – without communicating what’s in your hand. Can you make all piles purple or green? Every card lower than four? All cards add up to 10? There’s only one way to win before time runs out: play in cahoots!”

  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • S.R.P.: $15.00
  • Availability: Spring 2018

Say It!

Our latest Port-a-Party game, where crazy combos lead to hilarious answers.

Say It - Gamewright Games

 

“It’s the frantic party game where crazy combinations lead to laugh-out-loud answers. Draw a pair of prompt cards, and then compete to shout out the most entertaining response. What’s “something sticky”… “that you find in the couch cushions?” Or “something shocking”… “you know too much about?”  Don’t delay it,  just Say It!”

  • Players: 3-8
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • S.R.P.: $10.00
  • Availability: Summer 2018

Sneaky Cards 2

A second wave of missions for this best-selling “play it forward” game.

Sneaky Cards 2 - Gamewright Games

“54 brand new missions! Become a secret agent of joy, spreading creativity and kindness to an unsuspecting public. Give a stranger flowers, challenge someone to a dance-off, throw an impromptu surprise party. Complete each objective and then pass along the card to an unwitting accomplice, who now becomes part of the game. The fun is ever-expanding, but it all starts with you – Play it forward!”

  • Players: 1+
  • Ages: 12+
  • S.R.P.: $10.00
  • Availability: Summer 2018

Sound off in the comments and let us know what you think! Which of these games are you looking to pick up?

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It is always great to visit Gamewright at New York Toy Fair. Last year they showed us games like Dragonwood, Flashlights and Fireflies, and Outfoxed which ended up being a lot of fun. This year they showed us a whole pile of games that looked like they had some great potential. Take a look below for some details.

Bring Your Own Book

bring your own book

Imagine a party game where each player takes a turn (or multiple turns) as a judge while other people offer up humorous answers to a randomly selected question. Ok. Got one? Got more than one? Got twenty? Don’t laugh. This style of games is turning out to be ubiquitous in the board game industry over the last handful of years. Cards against Humanity really blew the doors off and everyone else is rushing to catch up.

I’ll admit I was surprised to see Gamewright jump into the pool here, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the way that they did it.

The mechanics match Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity almost to the letter. The difference is that instead of a deck of random cards each player is expected to bring their own book. This could be everything from a children’s book to a romance novel. The judge chooses a subject like “Unpublished Stephen King Novels” and the rest of the players have to flip through their book and find a passage that best represents that topic. The judge picks the winner and the game continues.

The fact that it involves books will make this game appeal to book nerds right off the bat. But, the fact that players provide their own books means that this game will change based on the audience and the books they bring. This limits the two main problems that some people have with games like this: repetition and, in the case of Cards Against Humanity, inherent offensiveness.

Sushi Go Party!

sushi go party

Sushi Go is one of our favorite games. It’s hard to beat a game that is interesting, cheap, and all but infinitely replayable. Gamewright looks like they pulled it off.

It comes in a bigger tin that shows off more cute sushi rolls, but the main gameplay difference is that players spend the first bit of gameplay choosing which cards to include in the deck that everyone drafts. There is no established rule in the book for determining which cards are selected either. They expect that players will come up with their own interesting methods.

Go Away Monster!

go away monster

 

This is a rerelease of a game for the younger set with new art and prettier components. The main thrust of the game is that you have to fill up your card with different puzzle pieces to make up a child’s bedroom. You do that by reaching into a blind back and feeling around for the piece that you need.

The trick is that there are monsters in the bag and if you pick one out of the bag then you lose your turn.

Babba Yagga

baba yaga

This is a rare game where the game designer and the artist are the same person! Baba Yaga is a gorgeously drawn card game where players attempt to rid their hand of the highest value cards and pick up Baba Yaga cards that are worth 0. The goal is to have the LOWEST score possible.It’s a fast paced game that will really get your kids thinking.


 

The below games aren’t on the Gamewright website yet, but we were able to put some pictures up on Instagram.

 

Cardventures – Stowaway 52 and Jump Ship

 

The Cardventures series of games is a group of card based, single player, choose your own adventure games. The first two games in the series are Stowaway 52 (a space adventure) and Jump Ship (a pirate themed adventure).

They are marketed as a single player experience, but I really think there is an option for a collaborative experience. Groups of players could read through the cards and discuss the decisions that the characters make and negotiate what to do. There is a lot of learning to be had in that experience.

Skiwampus

 

I’ll be blunt here. Skywampus is a tough game to describe. Players are given piles of diamond shaped tiles and race to fit them all together to complete circles using the numbered and colored sections at their corners. The goal is to complete challenges that are listed on poker chip type markers to earn points.

It is super fast to play and requires quick thinking and flexibility, but if you and your family have ever thought about competitive puzzling (is that even a word?) then this is going to be a good game.

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This year at the NY Toy Fair there will be a lot to see. Manufacturers showing off the newest innovations in toys and games… We’re excited to see what they have to show us, and one of our favorite publishers, Gamewright, has given a sneak peek!


Check out the new cover art!
Turns out in addition to the publication of Farm Fresh Games’ Super Tooth which we announced earlier, there are some other amazing things coming our way.

First off, Sleeping Queens will be getting a brand new 10th Anniversary Edition! This new edition will come in a tin (like Sushi Go!) and will be complete with never-before-seen queens and kings and exclusive stickers! So, if you are like me and your child has managed to bend every card as the Rose Queen and the Star Queen talk over an imaginary picnic lunch, this is a great way to upgrade.

Rory’s Story Cubes is getting another release of it’s popular Mix expansions which were released around Christmas. So, as you roll your story, you can search your house for clues, or take a stegosaurus on a boat, or have Batman meet his fairy godmother! I’m pretty excited to check out Enchantment, Clues and Prehistoria for myself!

To give you a background, Gamewright is known for its commitment to surprisingly fun family games. We don’t have to suffer through Candy Land and Cootie for the 10,000 time. They take concepts that are fun for children and they mix them with strategy and gameplay that even boring, old adults can be entertained by. So, needless to say, while we’re excited about the games we’ve played before getting some new life, we’re REALLY excited about the new games they have coming out!

Sneaky Cards - Play it Forward
Have you ever thought about doing something silly, like taking a picture with someone you’ve never met, or dancing where EVERYONE can see? Well, Sneaky Cards – Play it forward, is a game that lets you do just that. It’s a scavenger hunt where you pass an activity on to the next person… playing it forward. It’s a very interesting concept game where every move is a social experiment!

Outfoxed! A Cooperative Whodunit Game
So, one thing we know Gamewright excels at is cooperative games, with titles like Forbidden Desert and Forbidden Island it’s almost a given that we’d be interested in Outfoxed! Outfoxed! is a cooperative game for players ages 5+ where the players are… chickens. Chickens chasing clues to catch a fox that has absconded with a prized pot pie (let’s hope it’s vegan), what family can resist working together to solve such a heinous crime? I know mine can’t!

Go Nuts! The Completely Cracked-Up Dice Game
The only thing that can follow a game full of poultry intrigue, is one about squirrels. Go Nuts! is a dice game where you want to collect as many nuts as you can, while dodging cars, and before your opponents can send the dogs after you! It almost sounds like Zombie Dice for fans of the fluffier game protagonists.

Flashlights & Fireflies - A Game of Shine and Seek
We don’t know too much about Flashlights and Fireflies. According to Gamewright: “Get ready for a backyard dash-through-the-dark in this game of firefly-powered flashlight freeze tag! First, catch fireflies to power up your flashlight. Then shine it on other players before they sneak back to home base. All along, watch out for bats, raccoons, and other nighttime critters that are out to trip up your tracks. Be the first to reach home and you’ve outshined the competition!” I would guess that it is a board game, but I’m not sure – I guess we’ll need to find out once we see it!

Dragonwood - A Game of Dice and Daring
Now here is where I get really excited. Dragonwood is a game that promises to be reminiscent of all of my fantasy-based tabletop roleplaying games. Building a hand of adventurers while fighting goblins and orcs and dragons (Oh my!) with a constantly changing strategy? This game could be amazing! And knowing Gamewright‘s dedication to making games that encourage the whole family to play, I have to say I’m excited to play a roleplaying-like game and to NOT have to be the Dungeon Master!

So, that’s Gamewright‘s line-up for 2015! I’m looking forward to most of these titles from what I’ve learned so far, I can’t wait to get a chance to actually play!

Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

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Super Tooth

In September, backers of the Super Tooth Kickstarter received their games and began playing in the prehistoric world of the dinosaurs.   As backers we were SUPER excited to get to play! Who wouldn’t love to play a game matching cartoon dinosaurs?

Of course, if you weren’t among the 239 backers for this project, you’d have to know someone who was to play.  Sadly, if you didn’t know a backer you’d never know the joy of protecting your pair of Apatosaurs by feeding a Parasaurolophus to an errant Spinosaurus.  Upset?  I know I would be.

BUT there is a light at the end of the tunnel (and it isn’t an asteroid), Farm Fresh Games has announced that Gamewright  has picked up Super Tooth  for publication and distribution in 2015!  The new printing  will be premiered at the New York Toy Fair and will be available in stores that sell Gamewright games shortly after that!

Wondering what all the hype is about?  Check out our review of Super Tooth here!

 

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Wondering about other Gamewright games? Check our our reviews here!

 

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The board game industry just keeps putting out amazing games. We have gone through some of the new games that have caught our attention, and fit a wide range of ages, styles, and experience. Not to mention some themes that will grab your attention.


Games for the Whole Family

These games are easy to learn, and perhaps hard to master games that can be enjoyed by a wide range of players. These games are great for multi age game play and a range of gaming experience.

Doomlings

After major board game conventions there are always a few games that everyone is talking about, and that was the case for Doomlings. Once gamers go their hands on this game they could not stop talking about it. This was originally funded on Kickstarter and was picked up by Breaking Games to be distributed through major retailers.

Doomlings is a card game where you are trying to survive from the birth of lift to the end of the world. Each turn you are adding trait cards, but with each round an Age Card is drawn which affects all the players. Mixed in with these Ages cards are Catastrophe cards, which negatively affect everyone. When three Catastrophe cards have been drawn, that signals the end of the world and players add up their points to see who is the winner.

Chonky Donkey

Hilarity ensues with the latest party game from Gamewright, Chonky Donkey. In many party games, there is a judge of the cards submitted to a prompt in games such as Apples to Apples. Chonky Donkey takes it in a different direction. Instead of the judge selecting the card they like best, instead the reader must not laugh or smile. Especially when you know maintaining a straight face is required, it becomes increasingly challenging. If the reader laughs or smiles when reading an “answer” they player who submitted the card wins the card and point. However if the reader can maintain a straight face the entire time, they get the card and point.

Akropolis

Transport yourself to the Mediterranean and take on the role of a Greek architect to build the best city against your rivals. In Akropolis, players are drafting and laying tiles to build their cities. Stone can be earned from the quarries and used to select the best features for you city. Tiles can also be placed on top of existing tiles and those earn you more points at the end. There is a handy player guide so you easily can tell what features on the tiles have the potential to earn you the most points.

While the game box and enclosed rules are for two to four player, the publisher, Gigamic has also posted a solo mode varient on their website and you can print the rules here.

Planted

Caring for house plants can present its own challenges in remembering what each plant needs. In Planted by Buffalo games you are collecting house plants and trying to take care of them to earn the most points. There are multiple game mechanics going on throughout the game, but the cards make it easy to understand what needs to be done for each plant, and helps players streamline their strategy, and keep the game from becoming overly complex. The game is played over four rounds, and players can collect up to six plants. This Target exclusive game has top notch components for the MSRP of the game at $29.99 (and Target regularly has sales on their board games).

Teeter Tower

Teeter Tower combines two favorite genres of family games, dexterity and cooperative games. This innovative game, combines rolling dice, cooperation and collaboration to place all the tiles before the pool of dice is used up or dice fall off the tower. You also can set the difficulty from Novice, Normal, Hard, to Insane to customize for your group. With simple rules Teeter Tower can be learned in minutes.

Everyone wins or looses (and then tries again) in this new spin on dexterity, strategy and cooperation. Challenge your family to build a tower upon the base block and successfully add the capstone block to with.

Next Station London

Take on the roll of planning subway lines in flip and write game Next Station London. In this game players are using a common deck of cards to dictate what their choices are for the next station they can select on their individual map paper. This plays over four rounds, and the neat twist is that each round players complete their line in a different colored pencil. Players are trying to score as many points as possible by adding lines to as many of the 13 districts as possible, go to tourist locations, and crossing the River Thames. No matter your choices you may limit future moves, so plan your routes carefully.

Summer Camp

For those of you who have enjoyed in the unique experience of summer camp this game will bring you back. For those of you like me who never went, you can get a taste of the unique dynamic. Each ga me players determine with three camp activities they will play in that game. By changing the actives each game it also changes which actions are available. On each turn, you play five cards from your personal deck. These cards will allow you to perform actions and acquire new cards. As you gain more cards, it adds to what you can do by gaining more power and abilities, and as you reach milestones, earn merit badges. Once a player earns all three merit badges, that triggers the end of the game, and the player with the most points wins.

Games For the Expert Gamer

Some of us have that gamer in our lives, or are that gamer, that loves complex games that take over an hour to play. These are new games that will be a good fit for making it a game day just to play one or two games.

Paint the Roses

You take on the roll as the royal gardeners for the Queen of Hearts in the fantastic world of Alice in Wonderland. You must work together to finish the royal grounds according to her ever changing whims before the Queen catches up to you. Each player has a secret Whim card which you may not share with the other players. However, there are some clues you are able to give to work towards your common goal, and some discussion is permitted with limits.

To move the gardeners players must guess the Whim cards, and if the card is guessed correctly the gardener token moves forward. If the players guess wrong when the Queen moves double her movement. There is also an expert mode that can be utilized. Since it is Alice in Wonderland, there is also the White Rabbit which moves when the gardeners pass the White Rabbit token.

For those who love the Alice in Wonderland theme, and are looking for a more complex game, this is a great option.

Ark Nova

Work to build the most successful zoo. To grow your zoo, you will build enclosures, work for conservation projects, and even release animals into the wild. With five actions to choose each turn, and the power of that card determined by the location on the tableau.

The Action Cards include: Build, Animals, Cards, Association, Sponsors. Build cards let you add to your zoo through building enclosures, kiosks, and pavilions. Animal cards allow you to accommodate animals. With the Cards you can gain new zoo cards (basically the others listed), Associations give you the chance to let your workers perform different tasks. Finally, Sponsors allows the player to play a sponsor into your zoo or to raise money for your zoo.

This is a complex game, and time is needed to learn to play. For the experienced gamers looking for a game with more complexity and time commitment.

Games that Fuel Your Nostalgia

These games include a theme or characters from something we remember. Hard to believe we fell in love with these in some cases 20 or 30 years ago (or more)!

A Goofy Movie Game

The 90’s seem even closer when you open up the box for The Goofy Movie Game. The map has all of the charm and bright colors that were the hallmark of the 90’s Disney, plus there is a Powerline concert poster picture on the back side of the map. As you move across the map, you are going to collect pictures for your scrapbook, and there are right from the events and locations from the movie! If you land on a spot to roll the die, you may send Goofy on a detour or get Powerline closer to the concert venue.

The Rocketeer: Fate of the Future

For those of us who remember watching the 1991 movie The Rocketeer, this board game will bring back some of your favorites from the movie. In the board game, The Rocketeer: Fate of the the Future, you are playing either as the Good Guys (Cliff Secord AKA The Rocketeer), Peeve Peabody, and Jenny Blake), or the Bad Guys (Eddie Valentine, Neville Sinclair, and Lothar). Just like in the movie, the Good Guys have the plans for the rocket that Cliff wears, and the bad guys are desperately trying to get those plans. Game play happens over rounds, but once the Luxembourg Zeppelin reaches Los Angeles, the final round is triggered and player with the most points wins.

While this game follows the premise of the movie, it has a lot of cards, and steps within a turn. The complexity of the Rocketeer: Fate of the Future, , makes it a game better suited for an experienced gamer, rather than an novice.

Our Favorite Themes

We all have favorite themes whether they are books, movies, shows, or other games. There is something about playing a game within your favorite world or with a beloved character. There have been a several games released in the past year that tap into a favorite topic.

Exit Lord of the Rings: Shadows Over Middle-Earth

For all those Lord of the Ring fans, now you can complete secret assignment for Gandalf, and buy Frodo and the Fellowship time. Escape rooms are a great way to spend an evening with friends, and the Exit games are an escape room in a box. These have puzzles and clues to complete a series of tasks and meet the objective. Depending on how long you take and how many clues you need determines your ” score”. Exit games are ranked by difficulty level, and this one is level 2 out of 5, making it great for those inexperienced with Exit games.

Star Wars Villainous

Ravensburger has brought the Villainous property to a whole new theme…Star Wars! For gamers who love Villainous and the Star Wars villainous, this is a must buy. While the villainous games are not best suited for the novice gamer, they are a blast to play with your favorite villain! In Star Wars Villainous you can play as: Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, General Grievous, Asajj Ventress, or Moff Gideon. Each villain has their own objective they are working toward to win. So players need to both work on their villain’s objective and try to disrupt the progress of the other villains.

Wordle Party Game

The hit digital game Wordle has become an analogue party game using dry erase boards, where players take turns writing five letter secret words. Just as in the digital game. The other players need to guess the word in the fewest guesses. There are also four ways to play Wordle: Classic Play, Fast Mode, Timed Mode, Compete Mode. Classic Mode is the same format as the digital game. In Fast Mode, players race to be the first to solve the word. Timed Mode players are trying to beat the clock or earn the most points. Finally, there is a team mode, where players can play in groups.

For fans of the digital game, now you can play it in person with your friends and family.

Games for Younger Gamers

There are so many options for games for young children beyond the “classic” games everyone knows. What is great is the newer games tend to be more fun for the grown-ups playing with the kids. These are some of the newest games for kids age 7 and younger.

Burger ASAP!

Can you build the burgers to order first? In this wild party card flipping game, players each get 7 double sided ingredient cards and try to be the first to build the burger or burger from the challenge card. All cards must be used in each challenge, and you are likely to need to overlap cards. The challenge cards come in three levels of difficulty indicated by the number of stars at the bottom. There is also a puzzle aspect because there is only one solution to each challenge card.

With a Cherry on Top

For some of the youngest gamers who can resist ice cream sundaes. In this adorable games players roll the dice and count out that number of scoops and place them on the open spaces on the banana split. This beginning strategy game has players consider where to best place the ice cream scoops. When they place the final scoop on a banana split, the player gets to put a cherry on top and get the card.

Octopie

Set your sights under the sea as you work to build the first octopus with eight tentacles with the same color wins. Being a Gamewright game, even in games for young gamers, they make sure to add a few elements to keep the game interesting for all players. What a player can do each turn depends on the die roll. If a pie is revealed during your turn you get a pie token. These tokens give you an additional action or the ability to block another player’s action.

Board Game Accessories

Being a gamer lends itself to collecting. Sometimes it is challenging to find an amazing fit or you want to get something that is not a new game. Perhaps you need a small item for a small holiday container. There are great accessories that can enhance the gaming experience for a huge range of gamers.

Game Storage On the Shelf

Storage of board games can get challenging. Depending on your storage situation you may need to store them on their sides instead of laying flat. One item I have invested in are bands to hold the box closed and minimize the change of pieces falling out. This also helps with traveling with games where the lid is a smidge loose.

Click here for Silicone Rubber Bands on Amazon

Click here for Elastic Box Bands on Amazon

Traveling with Games

There are bags for carrying games, and then there are bags! You can get a more basic tote bag to bring your latest favorite to game night, or go all out on a special game hauling backpack or tote.

Click here for a USA Board Game Bag

Basic tote from Amazon

Game Box Storage

Ticket To Ride storage bins

Bins for game components

Jazz Up Your Game

100 Wooden Meeples

Keeping it Neat On the Table

Foldable bowls

Dice Trays

Simplifying for the Little Games

Gamewright Card holder


For More Gift Ideas

EFG Essentials: Great Board Games for Kids


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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  1. Introduction
  1. Welcome to The Engaged Family Gaming Podcast. This is a show all about the great video games and board games you should play with your family. Each episode we’ll cover the biggest news in the gaming space that parents should know about!
  1. Games of the Week
    1. Splatoon 3
    2. Silver and Gold
    3. Temtem and Ooblets get 1.0 releases
  2. The Big News!
    1. Xbox Game Pass Friends and Family Plan
      1. https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/store/xbox-game-pass-ultimate/CFQ7TTC0HXBN
      2. https://www.theverge.com/2022/9/1/23333605/microsoft-xbox-game-pass-friends-family-pricing-confirmed
  1. Relevant Releases
    1. Video Game release calendar
      1. Ooblets (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – September 1
      2. LEGO Brawls (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – September 2
      3. Biomutant (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – September 6
      4. Temtem (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, PC) – September 6
      5. Splatoon 3 (Switch) September 9
    2. Board Game Releases/Kickstarter
      1. The Great American Mail Race
        1. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/364679/usps-great-american-mail-race
      2. Teeter Tower – Gamewright
        1. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/358051/teeter-tower
      3. Akropolis
        1. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/357563/akropolis
      4. Star Wars Villainous
        1. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/358800/star-wars-villainous-power-dark-side
      5. My Little Pony: Adventures in Equestria
        1. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/358558/my-little-pony-adventures-equestria-deck-building
  1. BREAK
  2. Do You Feel Old Yet?
    1. 09/13/1985 – Nintendo released Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System. (This is technically an unconfirmed date. But still….)
    2. The following movies turn 25 in 2022
      1. Titanic, Disney’s Hercules, Men in Black
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Buy Abandon All Artichokes on Amazon!

There is nothing like a day spent in the garden. In Abandon All Artichokes you are trying to get an assortment from the garden and have no artichokes. Abandon All Artichokes has won multiple awards including: Geek Dad Game of the Year, Parent Choice Silver Honor, and American Tabletop.

Overview

  • Publisher: Gamewright
  • Ages: 10+
  • 2-4 Players
  • Game Style: Deck Building (deconstruction)
  • Components: 100 Cards
  • Playtime: 20 minutes

Abandon All Artichokes is a fast paced deck building/ deconstruction game where players are trying to take their personal decks and draw a hand without artichoke cards at the end of their turn. A deck building game has players curating the cards that are in their deck to optimize what they draw.  Players accomplish this by both discarding and adding different cards to your personal deck.

Gameplay

To begin the game players have ten artichoke cards as their personal deck.  The remaining non-artichoke cards are shuffled and create The Garden Stack.  From this a field of five cards create the Garden Row. Then players draw five cards (out of their ten) into their hand. At the beginning of the game they are only artichoke cards.

On your turn players complete five phases.

  • Replenish: Refill the field of five cards in the Garden Row by drawing and placing cards from the Garden Stack
  • Harvest: Select one card from the Garden Row and add it to your hard. It may be played at any time during your turn
  • Play: Play any number of cards from your hand, however you must be able to fulfill all the requirements on the card.
  • Discard: Discard all cards in your hand face up to your personal discard pile.
  • Draw: From your personal deck, draw five new cards.

When you draw the five cards at the conclusion of your turn, if there are no Artichoke cards, you loudly declare ”Abandon All Artichokes” and you win.

Family Game Assessment

Once again, Gamewright has made a great family game. The mechanics of deck building in this game, and the deconstruction nature of the gameplay are both a great gateway to other deck building games. The deconstruction element is a more unique game mechanic and Abandon All Artichokes presents it in a way that is easy to learn.  This game is a “one round teacher”, meaning that by just playing through one round, players then completely understand the game play.  While the age recommendation is 10 and up, this is a game that can scale down to age 8 especially if they are an experienced gamer. With the quick 20 minute playtime, it is an easy game to find time to play as a family.

Conclusion

The EFG team got our first of look at Abandon All Artichokes at New York Toy Fair 2020. We knew it would be a hit once we played a round. This is a great addition to any family gaming collection.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

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The “8 and up” game category opens up a whole new realm of gaming options. Game become less “kid games” and more “kid-friendly”.  At this age, reading cards is no longer a concern and the kids can handle more strategy and steps per turn.  The number of games at this age level absolutely explodes and there is no way to include everything.  This list includes some of our favorites, but there is so much more to play! 

Skyjo

It is a perpetual challenge to find a game that can be played with a small or large player count. Skyjo fits the niche of being played with up to eight players without being a party game. It is the first game from Magilano.

Skyjo is a set collection card game for two to eight players were your goal is to get the least amount of points per around.   The recommended age is for eight and up. The game does scale down especially once children can understand the negative cards by relating them to take away. Unknown cards in front of each player and fifteen different cards to reveal, gives Skyjo just enough suspense to provide just a bit of tension in the game.

See our review here.

Last Defense

The city is under attach from various threats ranging from Spider Robots to Space Aliens. Players take on the roll of citizens work together in this cooperative game to try and save the city, and they only have 20 minutes. The game has a companion app that is required for game play. Players clear ruble and free the scientists so they can defeat the monsters attacking. One of the unique features is that one of the playable characters is Good Dog. It is so cool to be able to play a hero that is not a human.

Drop It!

Some of the best family games are easy to learn, but hard to master. Drop It has very simple rules and can be taught in minutes, yet has enough strategy within the simple rules to keep it engaging for all members of the family. Do not be deceived by the bright primary colors of the game, Drop It is more than a kids game!

In Drop It, each player has a collection of shapes in one color, and players drop them down the vertical game board to try and score points. The challenge come in meeting the criteria to score points. Along the side and the bottom there are colors (or shapes depending on the set up you select) and if your piece touches the side of the same color it does not score any points. Pieces also may not land touching another piece of a matching shape or color. The player with the most points when they run out of shapes wins.

Dungeon Drop

Dungeon Drop achieves this simplicity in an elegant and clever way: it skips the entire concept of a game board.

The titular “Dungeon” in Dungeon Drop is created by dropping an assortment of colored cubes onto the play surface. Each colored cube represents a different object ranging from grey pillars (which help form the rooms) to orange keys, and green Boblins. On their turn, each player sprinkles a few more cubes into the playing field to mix the dungeon up a bit, uses a player power based on their race or class, and “loots a room” by choosing three grey pillars in the play area and collecting all of the cubes inside the triangle that creates. This simple gameplay loop can be taught in a few minutes and gameplay is fast.

See our Kickstarter Preview here.

What Do Meme Family Edition

What Do You Meme is a hilarious game that invites players to create funny memes using a stack of funny pictures straight from the deepest corners of the internet and a huge deck of caption cards. The problem is that the original version of the game is a bit… grown-up for our tastes. The good news for all of us is that there is a bespoke Family edition of the game that replaces the sex and drugs with fart jokes (which just makes it all around better in my opinion). Just look at the box. It’ll all make sense. This is the definitive edition of the game!

Starlink

Try and seal your victory in Starlink by creating constellation. This party style drawing game is engaging and can play three to six players. Players draw a secret word and on their turn they need to try and draw the secret object by connecting stars. Players earn bonus points for fitting their constellation inside the telescope circle.

This Game Goes to Eleven

This Game Goes to Eleven is a perfect light family game. While recommended for ages eight and up, the game scales down for younger children that can do simple computation up to eleven. The game is extremely easy to teach at has very few rules. Players on their turn merely have to select one of the three cards in their hand to play and try to strategize with those limited choices. This is a good fit for young gamers or non gamers with simple and streamline rules.

See our review here.

Timeline 

Timeline is a competitive game for two to eight players that takes about 15 minutes to play. Players begin with at least four cards to start, and reveal a single card. Each card is two-sided, with a matching picture on each side, however; one side has a caption describing the picture like “The invention of the Electric Iron” and the other has the year “1882”.  In order to play the game players must find the correct place on the timeline for their card without seeing the year printed on the back.

If you place your card correctly, it is revealed and becomes part of the timeline. If not, it is discarded and you draw a new card.  A round ends when a player places their final card correctly.  If any other players also place their final cards correctly that same round, a new round is played.  Rounds continue until only one player finishes a round with no cards.

See our review here.

Dixit 

Dixit, a storytelling game for three to six players.  It requires that you come up with a description of your own surreal card that also leaves your opponents guessing. First, each player is dealt six incredibly beautiful cards. The storyteller (active player) chooses a card and describes it with a word or phrase. Your opponents then select one of their cards that matches your description, trying to trick the other players into voting for their card. The Storytellers and the other player cards are shuffled and displayed face up.

Players secretly vote for the card they think is the Storytellers using color-coded chips. If everyone guesses your card, all your opponents gain 2 points and you gain none. However, if no one chooses yours, your opponents all gain 2 points and you still get 0!  Should one or more person guesses my image I get 3 points and they get 3 points, plus a bonus for anyone choosing their card.

See our review here.

Kingdomino

Kingdomino , the 2017 winner of The Spiel Des Jahres (The Game of the Year), combines the universal simplicity of dominoes with kingdom building. It is a tile drafting and placement game for two to four players.  The game plays in short rounds. First, tiles are laid out in a field and players take turns drafting tiles based on the order of the previous round.

Players draw domino shaped tiles and lay them out in their 5×5 block kingdom. only one side of their domino needs to match the land the connect to, but it can gain them more points if both sides match. The goal is to sort their kingdom so that they have large contiguous terrain (lakes, forests, etc) to earn points. Points are calculated by taking the number of continuous terrain times the number of crown icons found on any domino in that terrain. The gameplay is quick, easy to teach, and the game ages down very nicely.

See our Spiel Des Jahres 2017 article here.

Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is a beautiful science-themed game that features the tree life cycle and a rotating sun to collect light points. The game plays two to four players and takes 45 minutes to an hour to play. In Photosynthesis the sun moves around the board three times and players plant and progress trees through their life cycle to collect points.  The trees are three dimensional and provide a beautiful visual as the forest “grows”.

Photosynthesis plays in rounds. Standard play is three rounds. Each round consists of two phases: the Photosynthesis Phase and the Life Cycle Phase.   Each tree that is not in the shadow of another tree earns Light Point  You then earn a scoring token based upon their location on the board, which represents the richness of the soil.

The game ends after the sun makes three complete revolutions around the board.  Points are then calculated based on scoring tokens and unused light points.

See our review here.

Tsuro

Tsuro is a tile laying game for two to eight players with a beautiful Asian aesthetic. In this game you are a flying dragon. Your dragon is represented by a colored carved token. Tsuro consists of tiles with twisting lines on them, a 6×6 grid on which to lay these tiles and a token for each player.

Each player has a hand of tiles. On your turn you do two things: place a tile from your hand onto the board next to your token and move your token as far as it can go along the line it is currently on. You continue to move it until it is stopped by an empty space with no tile in (yet), the edge of the board, or if you collide with player’s token. If your dragon reaches the edge of the board or collides with another player’s token, you are out of the game.

The last player left with a dragon on the board is the winner. The strategy, therefore, consists of trying to drive your opponents either into each other or off of the board while trying to extend your own route in directions that will make it difficult for your opponents to hinder your path.

See our review here.

Evolution the Beginning

The Evolution Series by North Star Games has multiple games in this line. In the Evolution games you are evolving your creatures with various traits to help their survival. Each animal needs to have enough food or they die out and can go extinct. There is something for everyone in this series. For elementary age students you can start with Evolution: The Beginning. This is a simplified and streamlined version of the game good for ages eight and up. For older children: Evolution, Flight (which is an expansion), Climate, and Oceans.

The Evolution: The Beginnings the perfect lighter family game. It has streamlined the game elements of the Evolution series. For players new to engine building board games this gives a framework for that genre of game that is easy to understand. An engine building game is where the players are building something that will ultimately produce points for them in the game. The theme of Evolution is also very engaging to a wide range of players, and can be played with a wide range of players.

Ticket to Ride

Ticket To Ride is a two to five player game with a nicely designed heavy cardboard map of North American train routes. During gameplay, players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout the United States. Each player is working on completing their own secret routes. If another player claims a path they need, the player needs to try and find another path to complete their route, if possible. This also adds a potential “take that” element to the game.

On each turn you can only take one of 3 actions: draw Train Car Cards, claim a Route between two cities on the board, draw additional Destination Tickets. The object of the game is to score the highest number of total points. Points are earned from completing routes, and lost for incomplete route cards. Each round allows for players to plan, think strategically, and make tactical decisions.

See our review here.

Dragonwood

In Dragonwood players take on the roll of adventures traveling and defeating creatures, collecting items to help on your adventure.  This all occurs while players deal with events cards as they come up and ultimately earning the most victory points.  Dragonwood incorporates set collection and hand management and is for two to four players.

At the beginning of the game five cards from the Dragonwood deck are laid out in a landscape.  These cards include the magical creatures, enhancements, and events.  On their turn players may draw an adventurer card or  try to capture a card from the landscape by striking, stomping, or screaming.  Players collect sets of adventurer cards and can play them to earn the number of dice equal to the number of adventurer cards they use. Players then roll to see if they can roll a total number equal or greater to the number on the card for the attack they selected. The game ends once the adventure deck has been played through twice or the two dragons in the deck are captured.  The player with the most victory points wins.

Go Nuts For Donuts 

Go Nuts For Donuts is a card drafting and set collection game for two to six players where players are trying to collect the best donuts to eat.  Since there is no sharing in this game, player are bidding on the different donuts available in the donut row. Players bid in secret and at the end of the bidding only can collect those donuts with a single bidder.  This brings in an element of  strategy with bidding. 

Each kind of the 21 kinds donut ( and two beverages) has either points it gains you, an action you can take immediately upon retrieving the card, or both. The kinds of donut cards available to players increases with the player count. The game ends when there are not enough cards to complete another round of bidding and the player with the most points wins.

Sushi Go

 Sushi-Go takes place in the fast-paced world of a sushi chef, you must be the most creative and the fastest of all to be the best! The game comes in a cute tin and plays two to five players.

Players start with cards in their hand based on the number of players, and select one card to play before passing the rest of their cards to the next player to choose from!  The game plays in 3 hands, where all but dessert cards are cleared from the table and scored at the end.  The strategy of the game lies in making the most of the cards passed to you, while trying to stop opponents from making the combinations they need to maximize points.

The most interesting dynamic of this game is the chopsticks.  They are played in one round, and used on a subsequent turn to play two cards at once from the current hand.  The chopsticks pass to be used by someone else.

As is, Sushi Go! is a fun game to play with your children or even with your adult friends, even if you don’t like sushi!

See our review here.

Sushi Go Party

Sushi Go Party takes the best of  Sushi Go and adds more. It plays two to eight players,and comes in a bigger tin that shows off more cute sushi rolls. The main gameplay difference is that players spend the first bit of the game choosing which cards to include in the deck that everyone drafts. There is no established rule in the book for determining which cards are selected either. The rule book includes eight deck suggestions, and players can come up with their own interesting combinations.

Sushi Roll

Sushi and dice are a winning combination you will not find on any menu, and Sushi Roll takes the popular game Sushi Go and instead of card drafting players draft dice. The game is for ages eight and up and can play two to five players. Like it predecessor it is easy to learn and quick to play.

Sushi Roll is a great game to learn the mechanic of drafting. The game has a very simple drafting mechanic using dice. In card drafting players need to remember what cards they saw as the hands were passed. With the dice, the information about available dice is open to all. This open information allowed for more coaching to new or younger players while learning the game.

Monopoly Gamer

Monopoly Gamer is a must see for any Nintendo fan.  Nintendo elements infuse through the game, and the gameplay is vastly different.  Power-ups give players the ability to collect coins, force opponents to drop coins, and move forward. Coins replace the paper dollars, and are used for everything. Passing Go now has player activating Boss Battles, and these Boss Battles will reward the victor with additional coins for the end of the game, as well as some fun treats like a free property, or stolen goods from an opponent.

With all of these added features and a significantly faster pace, Monopoly Gamer feels like a game Nintendo and Parker Brothers can be proud to have their names on. The ability to add additional player characters is also a great way to add replayability to this one.

See our review here.

King of Tokyo

Attacking Aliens, Rampaging Lizards, Giant Robots, Mutant Bugs, and Ferocious Gorillas: this game has them all! King of Tokyo is a game for two to six players that combines a board game, a dice game and a card game. You play as one monster whose main goals are to destroy Tokyo and battle other monsters in order to become the one and only King of Tokyo!

At the beginning of the turn, each player rolls six specialized dice. The player with the most Attack dice goes first (the fiercest). Each turn consists of 4 steps: rolling and re-rolling the dice, resolving the dice, buying cards and using their effects, and the end of turn decision.

The fiercest player will occupy Tokyo, and earn extra victory points, but that player can’t heal and must face all the other monsters alone! When you add in cards that can have a permanent or temporary effect, like growing a second head, body armor, nova death ray, etc., you get a VERY exciting game. In order to win the game, one must either destroy Tokyo by accumulating 20 victory points, or be the only surviving monster once the fighting has ended.

See our review here

Food Fighters

Food Fighters is a 2 player game. This game is a player elimination style of game with some fun dice rolling mechanics as well as a bit of card drafting and component collecting opportunities. The rule booklet is fun and well laid out. The game mechanics are clear and well balanced(though the power cards initially felt uneven, further game play changed our opinion).

On their turn, each player completes three actions- a) Roll for Beans or Swap fighter tiles or Attack b) Spend Beans to buy a tool from the pantry c) Allow opponent to repair their formation. After these actions are complete, play passes to the opponent. The ultimate goal is to be the first player to knock out three matching enemy fighters. This is great strategy battle game that plays quickly and is easy to learn and explain to other players.

See our review here.

Azul

Azul is an abstract game for two to four players, and won the 2018 Speil De Jahar. Players are working to replicate the design on their board.

At the beginning of each round players select tiles from a factory display represented by  circles with four tiles on each or the center discard pile. Players each take one design and discards the rest to the center pile. The selected tiles are placed in pattern lines. There are one to five spaces for tiles in each pattern line. Extra tiles are placed on the floor line and score negative points at the end of that round.  Players score points as  they place their tiles.  Adjacent tile or completing a column or row on their “wall” earn additional points.  The game ends when one or  more players have completed a row by the scoring phase of a round.

Zombies Keep Out

Zombies Keep Out is a cooperative games for one to six players. Like all cooperative games there are MANY ways to lose and only one way to win. Players must collect parts and build 3 contraptions while facing nearly insurmountable odds as each player’s turn increases the urgency of the situation! The interesting dynamic that Zombies Keep Out has that sets it apart, is that the player who draws the aptly named “Terrible Things” card must choose between 3 options of many possible occurrences that do their title justice.  As the game progresses. “Terrible Things” become “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad” Things.

The pool of zombies (it is actually a literal swimming pool full of zombies) depletes, and the option of being bitten becomes more and more probable.  Biting adds a very kid-friendly scale of terribleness. The bitten player looses the ability to speak normally and their decision making is increasingly hindered with additional bites. Any bite past the third will turn you into a full fledged Zombie, groaning continuously.

This game is immensely enjoyable and the cartoonish characters will be a quick favorite of most children. Zombies Keep Out is basically the answer to the question on all of our minds: what happens after Pandemic?

See our review here.

Hanabi

The game is simple.  Hanabi is the Japanese word for Fireworks, and you are pyrotechnicians who have accidentally mixed up all of the parts of your fireworks display and now — THE SHOW MUST GO ON!  You have to work together to create the best display you possibly can despite your myriad of mistakes! The kicker is, you can’t look at your own hand!

Your teammates can give you limited information about your hand as their turn, but if you misunderstand and play the wrong firework, it can be disastrous!

The game is immensely challenging, and really makes you consider every move!  While the recommended age is 8+, this game mechanic seems to lend itself to older players.  It requires patience, reading your team-mates and figuring out how best to convey half (or less) of the picture to your fellow “fireworkers”.  Hanabi teaches simple strategy and teamwork in a somewhat high pressure environment where you don’t have access to all of the variables at play.

See our review here

Santorini

In Santorini players take on  the roll of builders to create beautiful towers with two to four players.  On each turn, players move one of their two builders to an adjacent space. Players are then required to build on a neighboring space. Players are trying to complete a three level building and have a worker standing on top of it.  The first player to accomplish this wins the game.  Buildings may be complete it with a dome, and that blocks players from placing their worker on it.  

Santorini also incorporates god and hero powers into the game in the form of Greek gods and heros.  These god card allow for special actions or a change in win conditions. The god cards add a unique variability to the game.

Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a medieval France themed tile laying and area control game for two to five players. Players are trying to build features and have their followers (meeples) on features to score points.

Players take turns taking a tile and placing it against a matching feature, such as city, road, and fields. There are also monasteries, which sit in the middle of fields. Players score points for: completed roads, completed cities, surrounded monasteries, and completed fields.  When players run out of tiles the game ends and players get partial points for incomplete features.

Carcassonne is well know for its many expansions and versions.  The current base game now include two mini expansions: the River and the Abbott. At the time of this writing the Z-Man Games website had 8 expansions for sale.  There also is a big box versions which contains the base game and 11 expansions. Additionally, there are three stand alone games with different settings and themes.

Pandemic

In Pandemic, two to four players take on one of several roles, such as Medic, Dispatcher, or Researcher, in their quest to cure 4 diseases before time runs out and humanity is wiped out.

Game play follows a standard turn-based approach. Each player starts their turn by drawing from an event deck to determine where the newest infections are.  Then, they use location cards to move around the globe, treating diseases to prevent outbreaks.  Finally, they draw more location cards to restock their hand.  If a player can get three location cards of a single color and can get to a lab, they can create a cure.  The cure that won’t immediately eradicate the disease. Rather, it will make the disease easier to treat.

There is one way to win (working together to cure all 4 diseases), and multiple ways to lose (running out of time, being overwhelmed by diseases, etc.)  Players can change the difficult by increasing the starting number of infections.

See our review here.

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