Here at Engaged Family Gaming we want to help you with your holiday shopping. These are some of our favorite new games for a range of ages and gaming styles. For additional ideas of games that would best suit your family or friends you can check out recommendations by age articles, which are linked at the bottom of the gift guide.
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Azul is an abstract game for two to four players ages eight and up, and won the 2018 Speil De Jahar. Players are working to replicate the design on their board.
Azul plays in rounds. 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. This is a beautiful game and a great addition to anyone’s game collection.
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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 ages eight and up. 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. Each round consists of two phases: the Photosynthesis Phase and the Life Cycle Phase. 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.
Go Nuts For Donuts
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Go Nuts For Donuts is a card drafting and set collection game for two to six players ages eight and up where players are trying to collect the best donuts to eat. Player bid on the different donuts available in the donut row. Players bid in secret, and at the end of the bidding players may only collect those donuts where they are the sole bidder.
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. While the game is recommended for ages eight and up, it can be scaled down to age five by reading the text on the cards for them and a little coaching.
Funky chicken, which is found in a chicken shaped carrying case, is more or less an expansion to Happy Salmon. It is for three to six players ages six and up, and includes four new moves: Swing, Bump, Spin, and Funky Chicken.
Funky Chicken is a great party game where everyone is laughing and being silly. At the encouragement of the publisher North Star Games the Engaged Family Gaming team successfully combine Happy Salmon and Funky Chicken into one massive silly game!
The Monster Match Game is a matching game for two to six players ages six and up. A series of cards are laid out on the table, and players roll a pair of dice. One of the dice represents an number between zero and five. The other will show either eyes, arms, or legs. Players then race to pick an card featuring an monster that has the appropriate number of arms/legs/eyes indicated on the dice. The game is adorable, fast, and accessible for almost all ages. Each card has a stack of doughnuts on them and the winner is determined by who has the most doughnuts on their total cards at the end of the game.
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Forbidden Sky is the next installment in the Forbidden series by Gamewright. It is a cooperative game where players work to lay tiles to create the paths on a floating platform in the sky. As players build, large and small circles are created on the board and they lay disks. Players also lay circuit components. Meanwhile, players are trying to survive against the wind and lightning.
As in previous Forbidden games each player has a role with special powers, and players are all trying to get the the rocket before the circuit is complete to indicate it takes off. Completing the circuit lights up the rocket and includes sound effects.
See our reviews of the predecessors: Forbidden Island, and Forbidden Desert
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Queendomino takes the Kingdomino game that we recommended in last year’s holiday guide (click here for the 2017 guide ) and adds several interesting elements to it. In Queendomino there is a new land tile and that tile that allows you to place buildings. These buildings can give you a range of perks including, knights, towers, and crowns. In each round if player has the most towers or matches another player in number of towers they get to have the queen visit their lands and the player enjoys some perks from her presence. This is a great tile laying game for two to four players ages ten and up with elements beyond just basic tile laying.
Ice Cool 2
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Ice Cool2 is the sequel to the original Ice Cool game. It is a flicking game about penguins in a frozen high school. The game is for two to four players ages six and up. If you combine it with the original Ice Cool game you can play up to eight players and set up multiple layouts. New to this game there are: Tasks on the 1-point cards, Fish-moving power on the 2-point cards, and there are optional tournament scoring. This takes a silly flicking game and adds even sillier components to it.
Rhino Hero Super Battle
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Rhino Hero- Super Battle is the sequel to Rhino Hero and is a dexterity game where you build a tower with the cards. The game is for ages five and up and plays two to four players. This game adds three more superheros: Giraffe Boy, Big E. and Batguin. The walls now come in two sizes; tall and short and there is a superhero medal. Additionally there are spider monkeys which attack.
The gameplay has additional steps they includes: 1. Build!, 2. Spider monkey attack (place a spider monkey hanging from the floor if there is a spider monkey symbol and see if it makes the tower fall), 3. Climb the skyscraper! by using a die to determine how many floors to climb, 4. Super battle if two superheros are on the same level, 5. Superhero medal goes to the players if their super hero is the furthest up at this phase in their turn, 6. Draw another floor card. The game ends when all or part of the tower collapses or all the playable floors are used.
Roller Coaster Challenge
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Roller Coaster Challenge is a single player STEM game focusing on engineering for ages six and up. It come with 60 challenge card in a range of difficulty. The player sets up the posts and required pieces on the challenge card. They then need to design a roller coaster that travels to the bottom successfully using some of the additional posts, 39 tracks. The roller coaster is successful if the roller coaster car makes it to the end. This was a Toy of the Year Finalist in 2018.
Additional Resourced by age:
What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!
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