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The 2019 Golden Geek Awards from BoardGameGeek.com have been announced! Over 10,000 people voted across sixteen categories. This is the 14th year that these awards have been given and this has been their largest turnout for voters so far! Below is a list of the winners (and runners-up)! Take a look to see if your favorites won!

The clear winner this year was Wingspan. It took home 9 of the 14 available awards!

The Nominees

Board Game of the Year
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – Paladins of the West Kingdom
Runner Up – Tapestry

2-Player Game
Winner – Watergate
Runner Up – Undaunted: Normandy
Runner Up – Blitzkrieg!: World War Two in 20 Minutes

Artwork Presentation
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – PARKS
Runner Up – Tapestry

Card Game
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
Runner Up – Marvel Champions: The Card Game

Cooperative Game
Winner – The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
Runner Up – Marvel Champions: The Card Game
Runner Up – The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth

Expansion
Winner – Wingspan: European Expansion
Runner Up – The Quacks of Quedlinburg: The Herb Witches
Runner Up – Terraforming Mars: Turmoil

Family Game
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – Azul: Summer Pavilion
Runner Up – Tiny Towns

Innovative
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
Runner Up – Wavelength

Party Game
Winner – Wavelength
Runner Up – Letter Jam
Runner Up – Men at Work

Print Play
Winner – TINYforming Mars
Runner Up – Under Falling Skies: A 9-Card Print-and-Play Game
Runner Up – Roll Estate

Solo Game
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – Marvel Champions: The Card Game
Runner Up – Twice As Clever

Strategy Game
Winner – Wingspan
Runner Up – Maracaibo
Runner Up – Paladins of the West Kingdom

Thematic Game
Winner – Dune
Runner Up – Star Wars: Outer Rim
Runner Up – The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth

Wargame
Winner – Undaunted: Normandy
Runner Up – UBOOT: The Board Game
Runner Up – Blitzkrieg!: World War Two in 20 Minutes

Best Podcast
Winner – Heavy Cardboard
Runner Up – So Very Wrong About Games
Runner Up – The No Pun Included Podcast

Best Board Game App
Winner – Through the Ages – New Leaders & Wonders
Runner Up – Raiders of the North Sea
Runner Up – Twice As Clever – Doppelt So Clever


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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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 that can be revealed, gives Skyjo just enough suspense to provide just a bit of tension in the game.

Game Components

  • 150 Playing Cards
  • Score pad

Gameplay

Players receive sixteen cards face down at the beginning of the round they reveal three cards. On their turn a player can either draw a revealed card from the discard pile, or they can take a card from the draw pile. If a player selects a revealed card from the discard pile, they must use it either for one of their face up cards or flip over a card and use it there. Should they choose an unknown card from the draw pile, then players can either substituted for a visible card or flip a card as well.

The round ends when 1 player has revealed all 16 of their cards. One final turn occurs for the remaining players. Finally, players reveal their remaining cards and calculate points. There is a risk to ending the round, because that player must have the lowest score or their points are doubled.

Additional rounds are played until one player meets or exceeds 100 points. The player with the lowest score wins the game. There is one special condition in the game. If a player has three cards in a row a vertical row that are the same number they may remove the entire column.

Family Game Assessment

Skyjo is a great addition to any game collection. It supports of wide range of players and scales well at all player counts. Being able to support up to eight players is a huge asset. It is challenging to find a game, which is not a party game, that supports such a high player count. Skyjo’s rules are simple and easy to learn. It fits a casual gaming and multi generational gaming setting.


  Once they are familiar with the gameplay, young gamers could play independently.  Skyjo comes in a small box that is easily packable and portable, and can be brought pretty much anywhere. Players need a larger play space because each player has a three by four grid of cards in front of them. So it doesn’t make a good restaurant game or small space game.

Final Thoughts

Skyjo is a must for a family game collection. It is small, inexpensive, simple and easy.  As a bonus it also supports a wide range of player counts, making  perfect for family gatherings.


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

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Kickstarter is a great place to find interesting ideas. It is full of brilliant creators looking for a market for their projects. The team at Move38 is among them now. They launched their campaign for the Blinks Game system today and I think it is definitely worth checking out!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/move38/blinks-game-system-20-new-smart-tabletop-games?ref=discovery&term=blinks
Blinks Game System: 20 New Games
Games with living pieces that think for themselves.

I have to admit. When Move38 reached out to me a few weeks ago. I was perplexed. I hadn’t seen anything like Blinks before. But, as I dug into their YouTube channel, and their posts on Instagram is all became clear. Blinks is a gadget that bridges the gap between video games and board games (and a pretty cool one at that).

“Blinks are intelligent game pieces that respond to touch, communicate with each other, and think for themselves. … Blinks were designed with the hand in mind and with modular board arrangements for endless possibilities.”

Move38

In a nutshell, each Blinks hex-piece is both a game piece, a portion of a potential game board, AND a virtual “cartridge” with a game on it. Connecting multiple Blinks hex-pieces together will allow them to “learn” to play games on the different hexes. This is a fascinating concept that have a lot of cool options. As of right now there are 20 different games available on the system.

The Blinks pieces are also programs using the Arduino platform. This is a simple coding language that is used in some of the most popular STEM kits. This means that budding game designers can pick these things up and use them to build their own games! In fact, four of the twelve games launching with the system were made during short term game jams.

The price to back the campaign and receive a 6-pack of the blinks pieces (and six games) is $79 US. That includes a super cool “Sushi-Roll” carrying case. That is relatively expensive compared to most video games or board games, but this is an innovative product that is definitely worth a look for tech enthusiasts.


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

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The Details

Paper Magic Release Date: Friday May 15th, 2020

Magic: The Gathering Arena Release Date: April 16th, 2020

Available Paper Magic Products:

  • Booster Box – a box of 36 15-card booster packs.
  • Collector Booster – Contents: 6 foil commons/uncommons, 1 foil basic land, 1 Commander-focused card, 1 non-foil extended art rare/mythic rare, 1 foil rare/mythic rare, 2 non-foil showcase commons/uncommons, 1 non-foil showcase rare/mythic rare or borderless planeswalker, 1 non-foil alt-art Godzilla Series Monster card, 1 foil showcase or borderless planeswalker, 1 premium token.
  • Theme Booster – These larger booster packs are full of cards all based on a single theme, like a color or color pair.
  • Bundle – 10 15-card booster packs, 20 foil lands, 1 alternate art card

The Mechanics

Every expansion comes with interesting new mechanics. Some of them will be brand new, but Wizards always brings something back from the past. The mechanics from Ikoria are listed below.

Cycling

Cycling is a returning mechanic. The cycling mechanic allows players to pay a cost (often a mana cost) to allow them to discard the card with the cycling ability and draw another card.

Wizards uses this ability on cards to add additional flexibility. You have the option to pay the cycling cost and simply pitch the card for a replacement if the card isn’t useful. Some of the cards will even had additional effects tied to cycling the card.

Keyword Counters

Longtime MtG players will be very familiar with +1/+1 and loyalty counters. These appear in almost every set in one form or another. Ikoria introduces Keyword Counters. Certain cards and abilities will allow you to place counters that include abilities like Flying and Trample to creatures in play. This is interesting because, unlike enchantments are artifacts that grant these keyword abilities, the counters stay active until the creature dies.

Mutate

Mutate is an ability that has an alternate casting cost for a creature. When you use it you may choose to place it either ON or Under an existing creature. The result is a creature with the name, converted mana cost, power, and toughness of the creature on top, with the abilities of the creatures underneath it.


Companion

The companion mechanic is more about rewarding careful deck construction than anything else. These are creatures that begin play in exile as long as your deck was build under certain restraints. You can then play from from exile. This is an interesting and very powerful mechanic. I can’t wait to see if anything comes of it.


The “Biggest” Crossover in Magic: The Gathering History

Ikoria is a plane filled with colossal monsters so it only makes sense that Wizards would find a way to incorporate the most famous giant monster of them all: Godzilla.

There are alternate art cards for several cards in the set that feature Godzilla and other monsters in that universe. These are bound to be big ticket collector’s items so definitely handle them with care if you or your kids open one!

The Cinematic Trailer


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

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This week Stephen, Amanda, and Linda are here to talk about Board Games!

This podcast is sponsored by:

ReadyPlayerMom – mixer.com/readyplayermom

The Virtual Economy Podcast

Around the Horn

Stephen – Game of Phones by Breaking Games

Linda – Fire Tower by Runaway Parade Games

Amanda – Everdell by Starling Games

Kickstarter Corner

Brancalonia

Topics

Games that make you Laugh!

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More From Jonathan on Facebook

Music from https://filmmusic.io

“Android Sock Hop” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)

License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

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We talk a lot about flashy video games and freshly released board games on EFG, but today I want to take a moment to share the instructions for one of my family’s absolute favorite card games.

We spend a lot of time playing Frustration as a family, especially on family vacations. We laugh. We yell. We talk a lot of trash. (Of course we do. I’m there.)

The best part? You and your family can share in a little bit of our fun without needing more than a couple decks of dollar store playing cards.

Cards Required

  • 4 players – 2 standard playing card decks with 4 jokers
  • 5-6 players – 3 standard playing card decks with 6 jokers
  • Wild Cards – Jokers and Dueces

Rules

  • Deal 11 cards to each person for each hand.
  • A players turn begins by drawing the top card from the deck or the discard pile.
  • The player may then “meld” if they have the appropriate cards for the step they are on
  • Then they discard a card from their hand. Note: A player MUST have a discard at the end of their turn. There are no exceptions.
  • If a player “melds” and completes a step they will then be playing to “Go Out.” This ends the hand.
  • Each Step must be made by a player during a hand to advance to the next step. For example, if a player completes a step and then goes out and you did not, then you will remain on the same step and they will move forward.
  • All 11 steps must be completed to win – if more than one player completes the 11 steps during the hand, the lowest scoring hand wins.

Steps

Book – Groups of cards of the same number. Suit does not matter.

Run – Groups of cards where the numbers are in descending or ascending order. They must be the same suit.

Note – You must have more natural cards in a book or run than Wild cards. You cannot even have the same number.

  • Step 1 – 2 Books of 3 cards
  • Step 2 – 2 Runs of 3 cards
  • Step 3 – 1 Run of 4 cards and 1 Book of 3 cards
  • Step 4 – 2 Books of 4 cards
  • Step 5 – 1 Run of 5 cards and 1 Book of 3
  • Step 6 – 3 Books of 3 cards
  • Step 7 – 1 Run of 7 cards
  • Step 8 – 1 Run of 6 cards and 1 Book of 3 cards
  • Step 9 – 2 Runs of 4 cards
  • Step 10 – 2 Books of 5 cards
  • Step 11 – 1 Run of 9 Cards

Notes

  • A wild card may be replaced in any run (but not books) with the card it represents, but only if the wild card can be used to meld in that turn.
  • Additional melds of 3 cards can be player and more cards can be played on other melds after a player has completed their step meld.

What do you think? Are you going to play our family favorite? 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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One thing that a LOT of homebound families have been doing these last few weeks is puzzles. I’ve seen so many pictures of happy families smiling over completed jigsaw puzzles I could burst! But, I know a lot of families out there might be getting frustrated! Some of those puzzles are tough.

Puzzles are a big deal in our family. My mom would ALWAYS have a puzzle on the dining room table if she didn’t need the surface for other things. She loves to build puzzles with her kids and grandkids so I thought to myself, “Who better to consult with than the master?”

So, without further delay, here are some tips from the puzzle master herself!

  • Place all pieces on the table face up
  • Sort for outside edges.
  • Figure out the main color themes of the puzzle
  • Sort the pieces by color (this is a great job for younger puzzlers!)
  • Fit all outside edges together to make a frame if you can
  • Work on large swaths of color or obvious shapes
  • Keep completing shapes until you feel like you have most of the obvious ones put together
  • Sort those shapes by size
  • Consult the picture on the box when you get stuck
  • Look for clues – letters, straight edges, faces
  • When you get stuck? Move on and try another area.
  • Share the experience and work as a team!
  • Don’t give up! All puzzles have a solution!

Did these tips make you want to grab a puzzle for yourself? Head to this Amazon link and grab one (or ten)!


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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They say necessity is the mother of invention. Well, if that is true then quarantine is the mother of creative solutions. Social distancing has made it so we cannot get together and play board games with extended family and friends. However, with the technology available, friends can still hang out together while maintaining social distancing. For school and work many of us have been getting acquainted with different video conferencing forums. While those of you in the business world have been using platforms such as Webex for years, it is new to many of us.

There are a few ways to approach gaming via video conferencing: where all players have a copy of the game, where one player has a copy, or if there are common components players can scavenge from other games.

With One Copy

DIY Tripod to display the game board. (4 cans used)

To make it so all players can “share” the game components there needs to be all open information. It generally is not possible for each player to have a private hand of cards. Whomever has the game needs to have a way to display a view of the game. One option is to use their phone while logged into the video conference. Then putting it on a tripod or holding it is place with a stack of books or cans. I found a buffer is needed between the metal can and the phone. The height needed depends on the size of the game.

Cooperative Games

Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island is a cooperative game for two to four players. It pits a team of adventurers against an ever-sinking island in a quest to obtain four ancient artifacts and escape before the island sinks.

In Stop Thief player take on the roll of investigators trying to catch several thieves. They collect the reward money so they can retire. This game incorporates an app that provides sound clues to the location of the thief, different levels of difficulty in play as well as a cooperative mode.

Castle Panic places up to 6 players in a realm where all sorts of fantasy creatures are attempting to breach their castle. Players then work together to defend the castle from being taken by an army of orcs and trolls and goblins and their leaders. See the review here.

Competative Games:

Blurble is a game all about racing and talking.  So many of us love to talk and this gives us the chance to put that talking to good use. In Blurble, players race to say a word first that starts with the same letter as the picture on the card.  See the review here.

Sushi Roll takes the popular game Sushi Go and instead of card drafting players draft dice. There is no hidden information in this game. So if there is only one copy as long as the other players can see their choices they could make their choices on their turn. See the review here.

Each Location With a Copy

When each location has a copy of a game it opens up more options. Players can each draw from a deck or they can set up a simple game so the board at each location is identical. Some publisher have also created special rules to make their game playable over video conference.

Exploding Kittens is a family favorite that is just plain ridiculous. The team at Exploding Kittens has come up with a special set of rules for playing over video chat, which they are calling Quarantined Kittens. See the rules here,and our review of Exploding Kittens here.

Zombie Dice is a push your luck dice game where you want to roll (eat) brains before getting your turn ending by the shotgun blasts. These are custom dice, so they wouldn’t be able to be substituted with plain dice. See then review here.

Roll For It!
Roll For It!

Roll For It! is a simple and quick dice and card game. The object of the game is to be the first player to collect 40 points by managing dice and matching the appropriate dice to the cards in play. See the review here.

Apples to Apples and Apples to Apples Jr. are found on most family’s game shelf. This game has a rotating judge with silly words and phrases. With this each location can have their own draw decks.

Quixx is a roll and write where each roll also opens up an option to take a number for all players. In this game the color of the dice is significant, so if you have six sided dice of the appropriate color you could scavenge for dice if need be.

Dice Games using Standard Dice

Yatzee is a classic, and this may be the perfect time for an oldie but goodie. Most people have 6 sided dice around, even if they have to borrow from other games. If everyone can scrape together 5 dice, they can play! The score sheets can be found online and printed or just written on blank paper.

Farkle is a simple push your luck dice game that uses six standard six sided dice. Just like Yatzee if you can find six dice you can play. The score sheet can also be found online.


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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The American Tabletop Awards are awards given to board games that were released in the previous calendar year. The awards committee is comprised of a number of talented and experience board games media specialists.

The awards are given in four categories: Early Gamers, Casual Games, Strategy Games, and Complex Games.

The 2020 American Tabletop Award Awards have been announced. Here are the winners.

Early Gamers

Winner – Draftosaurus

Designers: Antoine Bauza, Corentin Lebrat, Ludovic Maublanc, Théo Rivière
Publisher: Ankama

Your goal in Draftosaurus is to have the dino park most likely to attract visitors. To do so, you have to draft dino meeples and place them in pens that have some placement restrictions. Each turn, one of the players roll a die and this adds a constraint to which pens any other player can add their dinosaur.

American Tabletop Awards

Casual Games

Winner – Ship Shape

Designer: Rob Daviau
Publisher: Calliope Games

Set sail for fun, adventure, and riches with ShipShape! This game is about outwitting and outbidding all others to earn the biggest bounty while keeping your hold shipshape! As a savvy captain, you must skillfully use your crew to fill your ship’s hold with the best combination of treasure, cannons, and perhaps some risky – but lucrative – contraband. Over three voyages, use numbered crew cards to bid for crates off the central stack. Score coins by comparing your holds with everyone else, looking only at what’s visible in your hold!

American Tabletop Awards

Strategy Games

Winner

Wingspan

Designer: Elizabeth Hargrave
Publisher: Stonemaier Games

Wingspan is a competitive bird-collection, engine-building Game for 1-5 players. You are bird enthusiasts researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your aviary. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). these habitats focus on several key aspects of growth: gain food tokens via custom dice in a birdfeeder dice tower. Lay eggs using egg miniatures in a variety of colors draw from hundreds of unique bird cards and play them the winner is the player with the most points accumulated from birds, bonus cards, end-of-round goals, eggs, cached food, and tucked birds.

American Tabletop Awards

Complex Games

Winner

The Taverns of Tiefenthal

Designer: Wolfgang Warsch
Publisher: North Star Games

In the village of Tiefenthal lies “The Tavern of the Deep Valley”. There, all citizens from the area gather, but it’s important to attract new, wealthy guests for only then is there enough money to expand the tavern, which will then lure nobles into the tavern as well. But which tavern expansion is best? Should you focus on money? Or rather ensure that the beer will keep flowing?

American Tabletop Awards

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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Spending more time at home is the new normal at the moment. With schools being closed and parents now facilitating their child’s distance learning or home schooling there is a tremendous amount of stress, worry, and exhaustion. One positive we can take is many more of us are finding we have time to spend quality time around the table playing games. This creates a perfect time to unwind.

Face the Uncertainty

pandemic board

First we have the elephant in the room, Pandemic. When local governments began shutting down schools and not essential businesses, there were families that reached for this game, and shared pictures online. Playing Pandemic at this time may or may not be right for you. Some people felt it gave them a sense of control, in a way they do not right now. If this game is a favorite in your house it may be a good time to dust it off. See the review here.

Beautiful Games

Noctiluca

In a remote jungle there can be found Cerulean Pools beautiful luminescent Noctiluca. Players take on the roll of divers collecting these Noctiluca in jars. The neat twist to the game is to collect the dice (Noctiluca) you have to select a number shown on the dice, and collect all in a straight light from the edge of the pool to the center with that number. However, on the jar, the numbers are irrelevant, only the color matters.

Wingspan

Wingspan gets a lot of criticism for being “overhyped.” I guess that might be true? It did build a lot of hype before most of the people on Earth had taken a single turn, but a big part of that was the simple beauty of the art on the cards. Each card features a different bird and the art looks like it came from an ornithology textbook.

Seikatsu

Seikatsu is, without question, one of the most beautiful games I have ever laid eyes on. The game board has three beautifully painted gardens around the outside edge and the tiles are covered with paintings of birds. The box is even prettier than it has any right to be. Sitting down in front of this game is breathtaking . It only gets better as players lay tiles and the board fills up.

There is even a version with pets!

Lanterns

Lanterns is a tile laying game which also incorporates color matching and set collecting.  Players are decorating the lake for the Harvest Festival in Imperial China. They collect cards based on the color lanterns that are oriented towards them on the lake cards.  Then players cash in sets of the lantern cards to make a dedication. These dedication cards each have a number, and the player with the highest number of dedication points at the end wins.  The game is beautiful as you expand the lake covered in lanterns as tiles are added.  Gameplay is very easy to learn, and the easy steps on each turn make this game great for the whole family.

Azul

An imagine of the board game box and components for Azul from Plan B Games

Azul is an award winning game designed by Michael Kiesling. It took the gaming world by storm in 2018.  This is an abstract strategy game where players compete as artisans hired to decorate the walls of the Royal Palace.  Players must plan ahead and carefully draft the correct quantity and style of tiles in order to achieve the highest score all while being careful not to create waste for the next round. 

Sagrada

There is something uniquely breathtaking about the sun beaming through a stained glass window. In Sagrada dice represent the glass pieces. Players draft to meet the color and share requirements of their window and public as well as private objectives. The game boards only look more and more stunning as the windows are build.

Comfort Food, Your Old Favorites

Ticket To Ride

I can’t think of “comfort food” board games without Ticket to Ride crashing right to the front of my brain. Ticket to Ride became the first “real” board game bought for the EFG board game library., when the decision was made to cover board games. I remember opening it and looking at the board in bewilderment. Initially I found the rules confusing by, but after two turns I felt like a pro. We have shared TtR with everyone possible and I cannot WAIT to get it to the table again. See the review here.

Sushi Go

Sushi Go!
Sushi Go!

In the fast-paced world of a sushi chef, you must be the most creative and the fastest of all to be the best! Will you serve Nigiri with Wasabi, or create Maki rolls in quantities never before imagined?  Did you remember to serve dessert?  Find out if you are cut out to be the best in Gamewright’s popular card game – Sushi-Go!

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. See the review here.

Tsuro

Tsuro: The Game of the Path
Tsuro: The Game of the Path

If you are looking for an excellent and simple introduction to the genre of tile laying and path finding games, look no further than Tsuro: The Game of the Path. It is an Asian themed game with beautiful dragon tokens and a pretty box and board design. The object of the game is to keep your flying dragon token on the board longer than anyone else’s. As the board fills up this becomes a challenge because there are fewer empty spaces. Other player can purposefully change your path to an undesirable one. See the 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. Players draw domino shaped tiles and lay them out in their 5×5 block kingdom. The goal is to sort their kingdom to that they have large contiguous biomes (lakes, forests, etc) to earn points. The gameplay is quick, easy to teach, and the game ages down very nicely.

Splendor

Blending a  balance of easy to learn rules and deeper strategy, Splendor is a fantastic game for older children and grown-ups alike. Players acquire gems in order to buy mines, which in turn provide more gems (and ultimately points). While the gem-dealer theme may feel thin at times, the card drafting mechanic and  “engine-building” feel to the gameplay will quickly make this a family game night staple. See the review 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!

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