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Linda Wrobel

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.


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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many well-known games: Set Collection

Set collecting is such a ubiquitous feature in games, while a game may also have other mechanics, often set collecting is also incorporated.

In set collection players are gathering certain collections of a given item, often represented on cards. These collections have a designated value in the game or allow opportunity in the game.

Examples of set collection within a game.

In Sushi Go, which is primarily a Card Drafting game, certain cards score more points when collected in a set. For example, Sashimi cards score 10 points when a player has a set of three. Should a player only have one or two they score no points.

The game Mystic Market has players gathering different ingredients. When they collect a designated number of the same ingredient they can be sold. Players can also collect sets of ingredients to create potions.

Examples of Popular Games with Set Collection

  • Ticket to Ride
  • Splendor
  • Pandemic
  • Forbidden Island
  • Azul
  • Wingspan
  • Dragonwood

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

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

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A Nessie pokes their head above the water.. then another appears…and another…and another. See if your monster can dominate the loch in this family strategy game Block Ness. In this game you’re using three dimensional pieces to try to add on to your monster and create the longest monster.

Buy Block Ness on Amazon!

Game Overview

  • Age 8+
  • 2 to 4 Players
  • Playtime: 15 minutes

Game components

  • Game board (pegboard style)
  • 4 sets of 12 loch monster pieces

Game play

Players begin with only the head and tail of their monster in the water. On their turn players add one piece onto their monster, either at the head end or the tail end. Once you place the new monster segment, move the head or tail piece to indicate the end of the creature. Players must make sure that their new pieces their pieces are adjacent to one of the head or tails of their monster. The pieces must be placed horizontally or vertically. Players will need to cross over other pieces of competing monsters, but they must be a taller height than the piece they are going over.

A player is out when the they no longer can place a piece to the head or tail of their monster. This occurs when there are no more available pegs, or your monster is blocked by other monster pieces.

The size of the play space also scales based on the number of players. The shade of blue indicated the play space, so fewer players have a smaller space they are competing to take over.

One tip we found very helpful was to sort all the pieces by size. Sorting the pieces shortest to tallest it allows players monitor what pieces remain. This helps strategizing how to use those to best build their monster.

Family Game Assessments

Block Ness is a wonderful family game. The rules are easy to learn, but with a plethora of strategy incorporated into the game. We have played with a mix of adults and kids and everyone was able to pick it up quickly. It was so natural for the kids one of them actually won the game.

While there is player elimination, it occurs very late in the game. Typically there is only another turn or two before the game is over. Gameplay is fast and a whole game usually is 15 to 20 minutes.

This is a fun light game that is great for any collection.

Final Thoughts

If you want a light family strategy game, Block Ness fits that need. It is easy to play with a range of ages and skill levels within the same game.


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The holidays are approaching quickly and some amazing new games have come out this year. There are so many more games than we can fit into one article, so if you need more ideas check out the links at the bottom to our Essential Board Games that may inspire your gift shopping.

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.

Here to Slay

  • Age 10+
  • 2-6 Players
  • Playtime 30-60 Minutes

Table top roleplay game meets a simple and quick family card game. Players choose a champion at the beginning of the game and gather a party of heroes to defeat monsters. In this competitive game, you can also thwart your opponents by playing certain cards. To win, players need to gather a full party of six heroes, or defeat three monsters. For those who love Dungeons and Dragons or high fantasy, this gives you the flavor without the time investment.

Happy City

  • Age 10+
  • 2-5 Players
  • Playtime 30 Minutes

Happy City! is a building strategy city building card game. Players buy buildings so they can attract residents and earn income to expand. But watch out for the happiness of your residents, because that is what your final score is based on!

Super Mega Lucky Box

  • Age 8+
  • 1-6 Players
  • Playtime 20 Minutes

Super Mega Lucky Box takes some of the elements of Bingo and adds all kinds of twists and special powers. Players are trying to cross off the numbers on their boards each round and get bonuses. These are unlocked for completing row, and include moons, lightning bolts, stars, and numbers, each with a special ability After four rounds points are tallied to determine the winner.

Yokai- The Game of Mystical Spirits

  • Age 8+
  • 2-8 Players
  • Playtime 20 Minutes

Challenge your memory as you try to reunite the spirits. In Yokai- The Game of Mystical Spirits. Reunite the sprits correctly before the game ends, then reveal if you have succeeded or not!

BlockNess

  • Age 8+
  • 2-4 Players
  • Playtime 15 Minutes

The Loch is only so big and the monsters are battling for space. This strategy game from Blue Orange games players add to their monster segment by segment with the goal to add the most segments onto their monsters.

The Key: Sabotage at Lucky Llama Land

  • Age 8+
  • 1-4 Players
  • Playtime 20 Minutes

Lucky Llama Land Amusement park has been the victim of sabotage, but thankfully crisis was averted at the last minute. Now the saboteurs need to be found. Players need to examine the clues; such as witness statements, forensics, and investigation file to generate a number code and use the key to capture the saboteurs.

If You Like…

There are some old favorites that publishers re-imagine, add a new theme, or add a next chapter to the story. Many times these games can become our new favorites.

Kingdomino Origins

  • Age 8+
  • 2-4 Players
  • Playtime 25 Minutes

The award winning game Kingdomino has gone even further back in time to prehistoric days! Kingdomino Origins introduces new components and three game modes: fire and volcanoes, wooden resources, and cavemen. Points are earned by collecting resources, players earn additional points when they have the majority of a resources.

The Crew Mission Deep Sea

  • Age 10+
  • 2-5 Players
  • Playtime 20 Minutes (per mission)

Search for the lost city of Mu beneath the ocean depth with in this sequel to the award winning game. Using a unique, and easy to learn cooperative trick-taking gameplay the players take on different missions to tell the story. Completing each hand under certain conditions completes each mission and advances you through the story on your search for Mu.

Lost Cities Roll and Write

  • Age 8+
  • 2-5 Players
  • Playtime 30 Minutes

Journey on an expedition in this roll and write game, in the next chapter of Lost Cities. Each turn, roll the dice and decide if you are starting a new expedition or continuing one. Carful that your expedition does not get stuck or you will loose points.

Exploding Minions

  • Age 7
  • +2-5 Players
  • Playtime 15 Minutes

The silliness of Exploding Kittens, but only with Minions. Just like in Exploding Kittens, players keep drawing cards and get eliminated as the Exploding Minion is drawn. A new twist is added to this version with a Clone card.

Throw Throw Avocado

  • Age 7+
  • 2-5 Players
  • Playtime 15 Minutes

Dodgeball and card game are a combination we saw in Throw Throw Burrito. Now the nonsense ensues with avocados. Collect sets of card to score points, but watch out for flying avocados. Extra cards are included to combine this with Throw Throw Burrito.

Sticky Cthukhu

  • Age 6+
  • 2-6 Players
  • Playtime 15 Minutes

The crazy chaos of Sticky Chameleon gets a new theme with Sticky Chameleons. In this game players use a long sticky “tentacle” to grab creatures. A roll of the two dice determines the color and creature to capture. But beware the investigators! Gather the most Deep Ones tokens to win the game.

Games for Younger Gamers

Hedgehog Roll

  • Age 4+
  • 1-4 Players
  • Playtime 20 Minutes

Rolling hedgehogs elicit a cute factor beyond measure. In Hedgehog Roll players roll the fuzzy hedgehog ball to collect leaves, pinecones and flowers. They ten move the number of spaces on the board equal to the number of objects picked up. The game can be played cooperatively to outrun a fox or competitively to race each other.Play

Slappy Camper

  • Age 5+
  • 2-4 Players
  • Playtime 5-10 Minutes

Time to pack the camper. Flip the cards to see the next item to pack into your camper, and use the marshmallow stick to smack the right item. First to smack the item can pack it, but be careful smacking the wrong item can cause you to unpack. Win by being the first to fill the camper.

Paco’s Party

  • Age 5+
  • 2-6 Players
  • Playtime 5-15 Minutes

Paco’s birthday party was a blast and tons of pictures were taken, but not everyone was in each picture. Players call out the missing character in each picture to get rid of their cards. If all the characters are there call it out while dancing like Paco, but the last one to dance has to add all the played cards to their hand. First to get rid of their hand of cards wins.

Games for the Littlest Gamers

My Very First Games: Rhino Hero Jr.

  • Age 2+
  • 1-4 Players
  • Playtime 10-20 Minutes

Time for superhero training. In this beginner version of Rhino Hero Jr. children can practice the basic skills of fine motor, memory, and basic understanding of numbers and counting one to five with three mini games. Additional suggestions to support your child’s development of these concepts is included in the rulebook.

My Very First Games: Construction Site

  • Age 2+
  • 1-4 Players
  • Playtime 5-10 Minutes

Time to work together on the construction site. In this beginner game, players work together to build a house by flipping over cardboard chips to determine the next piece to move. The game comes with a Kullerbu-compatible truck players use to move the pieces. Additionally, a read aloud story is included to help support the idea of what they are building.

For More Gift Ideas


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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to board and card games: Godzilla the Board/Deck

Godzilla the Board/ Deck is a term used in board and card games to describe the action of knocking the items askew. If a player Godzillas the deck, they have knocked a pile or piles of cards over. To Godzilla the board is to knock over or displace tiles, meeples, cubes, or other game components.

When playing games with kids or clumsy adults (like me) having a player Godzilla the Board or Deck may be a common occurrence. The key feature differentiating a player Godzilla-ing the Board or Deck verses disrupting the game in anger is motivation. Godzilla-ing is an unintended action due to clumsiness, and emotion is not a factor.

Games with more pieces, small pieces or pieces/cards which need to be placed on top of one another are more susceptible to be Godzilla-ed. Tile laying games are also easily to Godzilla the board as players place a tile and knock a bunch out of place.

Strategies to minimize Godzilla-ing the board/deck

  • Keep the pieces and cards within easy reach of players
  • If motor skills are a challenge for one or more players, minimize the number of pieces that they need to interact with
  • Space out components as much as possible.
  • If possible, avoid players having to reach across the board, and instead have the player(s) get up and move around the table.

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

You can also look at our other board game definitions from previous weeks here!

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

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Quest and Cannons:The Risen Islands takes place in a fanciful world where the characters from one of three nations: Dwunny (Dwarf-bunny), Porcs (Pig-Orcs), or Delves (Duck-Elves) battle for resources. The nations have three characters , each with special traits. Players move their characters around a hexagonal map exploring, collecting, completing quests and battling other nations. Ultimately the goal is to gain Prosperity points. This is the first game from Short Hop Games.

  • Age: 14+
  • Play Time: 20-120 minutes (20 minutes/player)
  • Plays 1-6 players
  • Gameplay mechanics: Pick up and Deliver, variable player powers, hand management

Quests and Cannons has multiple modes of play giving players many options. The game can be played in solo mode, with up to six players in a free for all, as a 2 verses 2 or 3 verses 3. There are also guidelines for map setup, but even within the guidelines there is a significant amount of variability. With so many choices on game play and board set up this game will feel fresh and exciting with each new play.

Quests and Cannons is coming to Kickstarter on September 21, 2021. Click the link to check it out!

Components

  • 6 player ship dashboards
  • 18 sail tokens
  • 6 wooden player ships
  • 50 Resource tokens (10 of each kind)
  • 24 Cannon tokens
  • 6 Traveler’s Dice
  • 24 Cargo slot covers
  • 54 Ammo dice
  • 30 Hull damage tokens
  • 9 Character stands
  • 3 Dwunny Champion Tiles
  • 3 Porc Champion Tiles
  • 3 Delf Champion Tiles
  • 21 Tri-hex Terrain Tiles
  • 15 Single-hex Terrain Tiles
  • 3 Trading post Tiles
  • 3 Starting Kingdom Tiles
  • 3 Outpost Tiles
  • 18 Island Feature Tokens
  • 6 Score trackers
  • 39 Coins
  • 45 Quest cards
  • 18 Map clues cards
  • 45 Loot Cards

Game Play Overview

There are quite a few different elements to game play, actions players can take and choices to consider for players. Without getting into every choice, there are some key features of the game to know. Players are working to gain Prosperity Points to win, and Prosperity Points are earned by completing Quests, following Map Clues, and attacking other ships.

Resources found on the island

Types of Spaces

There are eight different types of spaces you may encounter, different seas affect you movement.

  • Calm sea: one movement  points space
  • Stormy Seas: Two movement points space
  • Treacherous Sea: must roll die, with a roll on 1,2,3 your ship takes hull damage.
  • Impassable Terrain: can not be moved through

Other Spaces include:

  • Outposts: upgrade their ships, or deliver resources for a quest, repair their ship, buy ammo, sell resources
  • Trading Post: trade or sell resources
  • Starting Spaces: return completed map clues, repair their ship, buy ammo, sell resources
  • Islands: explore: gather resources, gain Quest Cards
Sails add one movement

Turns

A player’s turns consists of using three action points. There are different combinations of actions players can take, which give lots of options within three simple choices. On a player’s turn they can:

  • Move one space in any direction (sails add one additional movement per sail), different terrain (noted above) costs different movement points
  • Gather resources from an island
  • Attack, fire your cannons at an enemy player

Free Actions

In addition there are free actions as well. These give players even more options on their turns, though there are limitations since these are dependent on being at certain locations.

  • At a Trading Post players are able to exchange resources for others resources they need or to sell resources for coins.
  • At Outposts players can spend resources and coin to upgrade their ship. Outposts are also a location for players to complete Quests by delivering the resources.
  • Starting spaces are where players can return their Map Clues, and most importantly gain a Prosperity Point when they do so.
  • Both the Outposts are Starting Spaces allow you to also repair your ship, buy ammo, and sell resources, Loot cards, or Map Clues
Player Board keeps everything organized!

Family Game Assessment

Quests and Cannons is a more complicated game both in components to manage and choices per turn, than I am used to playing. Even thought the set up takes some time, and there are quite a lot of components to manage it was totally worth the time at the front end once we began playing. The set up did become easier and a little faster once you know the game. As play begins the turns are easy and move quickly, keeping my whole family engaged. There are quite a few elements to keep tabs on, and the ship dashboard organize many of those elements so well.

Quests and Cannons is recommended for ages 14 and up, but with support, scales down a bit. My boys, ages nine and thirteen were able to play, with support. An experienced gamer as young as 9 or 10 and have success playing, especially with a veteran gamer to guide them. Based on how my children took to the mechanics, this could be used as a “gateway game” into a more complex series of mechanics and managing components.

For a family looking to add a game with more complexity to expand their collection Quests and Cannons is an excellent choice. The complex components and mechanics are organizing them in a way to streamline the gameplay making it a great fit for a range of gaming skills.


A prototype of Quests and Cannons was provided for review, so final production may have some changes.


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

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Silliness ensues as you pop, snatch and grab your way to victory in Over Under Ostrich by Dolphin Hat Games. This is a hilarious dexterity set collection game for two to eight players ages eight and up. The game is quick, one you get the technique, and games run about five minutes.

Game Components

  • Deck of 54 Ostrich cards containing 6 different ostriches
  • 8 Clipper Cards

Gameplay

Set up for Over Under Ostrich is quite easy, simply spread all the cards face down on a table. Making sure all players can reach the cards is the greatest challenge during set up all players. This gets more challenging with a large group. After the card setup is complete, each player creates their “ostrich head” using one hand and arm. The players bend their hand at the wrist and pinch their fingers together to create an ostrich head. With their body ready, players “pop and snatch”.

The game begins players simultaneously slide one card at a time to the edge of the table near them, then pop the card into the air with the back of their fingers, and snatch if from the air before it lands on the table. If the player does not successfully grab the card, even if it is not one that they need, they must continue to try to successfully pop and snatch this card. A card that is successfully snatched but not needed is tossed back onto the table face up.

The objective is to collect one of each hairstyle into your “Ostrich Sanctuary”, which is the area in front of you. Other players can try and thwart you by playing a Clipper card. If a player collects a Clipper card they can place it on one of the Ostriches in an opponents Ostrich Sanctuary. The forces the player to have to collect that card again.

The first player to collect all six ostriches in their Sanctuary yells “Heads Up!” to win!

Family Game Assessment

Over Under Ostrich is a silly game the whole family can enjoy. The recommendation is ages eight and up, but is simple enough that it can scale down to younger. That said, the dexterity portion might be challenging for children under eight. Some families my find it helpful to practice before beginning the game, and make modifications for players that struggle with the Pop and Snatch technique. We found there was a learning curve for the technique.

When we played it, even with the practice time, my eight year old was struggling to snatch. To address this challenges, we made a “house rule”, and he used two hands to snatch. That little accommodation made a world of difference in reducing his frustration and letting him jump right into the game.

Conclusion

Over Under Ostrich provides families with a quick, simple, silly family game that can be played by up to eight players. It is an inexpensive game, and one that fits in small places and containers making it portable and great for gifting.


FCC disclosure A copy if the game was provided for review.

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Blokk! is a dexterity game coming to Kickstarter in October 2021. The word Blokk is the Norwegian words for Block. In Blokk! you take on the role as the Architect trying to create a perfect cube. Click here to follow their Kickstarter page.

Components

  • 1: 4×4 stencil
  • 1: 5×5 Rotating stand (360 Degree rotation)
  • 33 Blocks
  • 3 Gold Achievement pieces
  • 1 set of 36 playing cards
  • 1 multi-color dice
  • 1 scoring sheet

Blokk! gives players many options for modes of play. They also have the option of which size cube to build. Players can build a 4×4 cube or a 5×5 cube. The game also offers three options for modes of play and three options for construction modes

Modes of play:

  • I, Blokk!: This is a solo mode. The player (Architect) tries to construct their cube with minimal imperfections
  • Blokk! Party: This mode is for two to four players (Architects), players work cooperatively to adding one block per turn to construct a cube
  • Blokk! Off: This mode is for two to four players (Architects), players work competitively by taking turns constructing their cube. Once all architects have completed their Cube and each has been scored the player with the highest score wins.

Construction modes

  • Free Blokk!: (easy) In this mode, the Architect(s) choose one available block on their turn and adds it to the Cube under construction.
  • Dice Blokk!: (intermediate) In this mode, the Architect rolls the six sided color die which determines the color piece they must add to the Cube being constructed. They may choose any one piece in that color on their turn.
  • Card Blokk!: (advanced) In this mode the card deck is used and the Architect must draw one card per turn to determine the block they are to use on that turn.

Gold Blokk! Challenge

The game includes special Gold Blocks, and these unlock as players complete challenges. The prototype has 21 challenges listed in increasing difficulty. Completing three challenged unlocks the first Gold Block. Six challenged unlocks the second. Ten challenges completed unlocks the third Gold Block. Once unlocked these are optional for the player to use in all game modes.

Scoring

The scoring is very straight forward and easy to understand, and uses the same guidelines regardless of the mode or play or the construction mode. The Architect(s) start with 100 points. One point is lost for any imperfections which is a void or space outside the perfect Cube. Five points are lost of a block falls at any point. If three or more blocks fall the game is over and the player must restart.

Family Game Assessment

Blokk! is an easy to learn, easy to play, and hard to master game. The rules are simple and easy to learn in just a matter of minutes. Adults and kids enjoy the challenge of trying to make a perfect cube. The concept is easy and because there is no reading, so the recommended age of five and up is a good fit. This also has the advantage of supporting fine motor development in younger players. The different modes of play allow families to customize the game play to best suit the dynamic of the players.

Blokk! is a huge hit with the family. The Blokk! party mode has been the most popular game mode with my family. They like all the different Construction modes, but Free Blokk! is their favorite. One fun detail we learned was that if you turned the base too quickly, the blocks just perched on top were likely to fall off. It was a great example of centripetal force!

Final Thoughts

We played a protype of Blokk! and once our time was up it needed to be sent along to the next reviewer. Our family was sad to see it go, and are eager for the Kickstarter to launch in October. We would love to get this game as part of our board game collection!


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

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

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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In preparation for traveling there is the age old question of what games to bring. There are some key factors to consider when selecting games to bring. Travel often gives us much needed down time. It can be the perfect opportunity for quality family game time. Packing the right games helps support fun for all.

1. Packing Space and Game Portability

Whether you are driving or flying can greatly affect what you pack. Even driving, limited space may require a small boxes. By critically considering the space you have it will help determine the size and number of games to bring. Many of my family vacations are a drivable distance and we have a minivan, so I can bring a tote bag of games. Limited car space or flying may only allow you to pack a few very small games.

2. Who Might Play?

The who is probably the most important of the guiding questions. If you are going away with a bunch of gamers and have planned to dedicate time to a large deep time consuming strategy game that us one thing. Most people, however, are going to have a range of ages and gaming experience which needs to be accounted for. The age, gaming experience, and interest in the game (both game mechanics and theme) are key considerations.

3. Time and Energy for Games

You need to consider how you will be spending you time on vacation.  If you are at Disney, you might only need games to fill time in the airport. My family likes to vacation at the Cape, and even after a leisurely day on the beach we don’t have the mental power for a complex game. In contrast when we knew there would be a snowy day in Vermont, we packed extra games to occupy the down time.

4. Table Space available

Often times, in hotels the table space is quite limited. In contrast,  the space at a rented house may be more generous. Though my experience with rental houses, the tables are often small compared to the number of people staying there. Another thing to consider is wait time at airports or restaurants. Different locations call for different size games.

5. Familiar vs New Games

It can be a high mental demand to learn a new game, some more than others. After a long day enjoying your vacation you may not have the mental bandwidth to learn a new game. Playing a familiar game gives you the quicker time to get the game started, and can be more comfortable for players to dive right in.

One other thing the consider with learning a new game, is that many players rely on how it’s played videos. These may be hard to access if there is limited WIFI/internet access.

Game Suggestions

The following games are games that we enjoy and pack a lot of game into a small size.

The Mind


Sushi Go


This Game Goes to Eleven


Cinco Linko


Bloom


Get the MacGuffin


Hive Pocket Edition

Skyjo


Rory’s Story Cubes

Love Letter

Farkle/Zombie Dice/ Cosmic Whimp Out

Card Games with a Standard Deck of Card

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Students work so hard for gain during the school year. The break for the summer is a great mental reprieve for kids and families, but those school year gains are hard to hold onto. As a parent I groan a little when the summer reading, summer math, packets, etc. come home. So here is the inside information from the teacher side of it, those summer assignments and resources are an attempt to mitigate the “summer slide”. Summer slide is the loss of skills acquired during the previous school year.

Board games can help with some incidental learning and skill reinforcement. The nice thing with using board games for skill reinforcement is that it does not feel like work to the kids.

There are a few key things to help guide the selections of board games to bring to the table.

1. Keep is easy

If the game or skill is too hard your child will get frustrated. This is a case of less can be more. As a parent or caregiver the goal is reinforcing skills, not new learning.

2. High interest

Fun fact, kids have been known to read a book a level or two harder than what they normally can read, if it is a high interest subject. If the game is high interest there is more motivation to persevere through any reading challenges. This happened with my younger son. In second grade he was a struggling and reluctant reader. We played What do you Meme Family Edition, he was so excited to read the silly cards, he took his time and read each card in his hand carefully. This careful reading leads into the the next tip…

3. Wait time

If a child is playing a game with a skill they are not fully proficient in, all players need to allow for wait time (thinking time). Wait timer allows the child time for processing the task and mentally work it out. It is the most valuable time for developing their skills and supporting their previous learning. When my son was reading the What Do You Meme: Family Edition cards, it was tempting to jump in an help him read the words, but that time to go through the decoding process and succeed was critical. It did mean the game took a little longer, and it was worth every extra minute.

4. Celebrate their success in the task

We all like to be recognized for accomplishments, and kids flourish with praise. One thing I have found very powerful with my students is to let them know that you understand that they had to work hard and persevere through. Cheering them on and complimenting their hard work is a powerful tool to support them.

Have fun!

These are intended to be incidental learning experiences that are light and fun. Kids will be much more receptive and eager to play if they find it fun.


Check out some of our articles with specific game recommendations.


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

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