It’s the beginning of the year. Time to sum up what we learned from the previous year as we move on into the unknown. Time to look back over all the fun we had and give a shout out to the funnest fun. The majorest funnest of fun.
The party game for horrible people. Strictly for adults, but those adults will laugh and laugh and laugh. The game works much like Apples to Apples: one player is the judge, the judge draws a black card that has a prompt, the other players play white cards that respond to the prompt. The judge chooses which one is the funniest. In this game “funniest” usually equals “most wildly inappropriate.”
Another party game in the vein of Apples to Apples. Unlike Cards Against Humanity, Picwits! is appropriate for all ages. The judge chooses a card with a phrase or sentence. The other players choose pictures that they think will best go with the judge’s caption. The pictures are sometimes hilarious, sometimes disturbing, but always engaging. The trick is figuring out what each judge will find most compelling.
A trivia/quiz game stripped down to its simplest (and loudest) form. In That’s It! each card has six questions (each with one answer). The judge asks the question and then waits for one of the other players to shout out the answer written on the card. Everyone shouts their answers as fast as they can so the level of chaos is high. Winners draw a point chip but they won’t know the value of the chip until the end of the round. Immensely addictive!!
A maze game that has the players ushering a battery powered cockroach (a small robotic Hexbug Nano) around a kitchen. Bugs in the Kitchen has lots of game variations but all of them are a blast thanks to the eerily lifelike movement of the small cockroach. It’s a fantastic toy and a wonderful game that will be enjoyed by both kids and adults.
Putting the numbers 1 – 30 in order has never been so difficult, so nerve-wracking, and so much fun. You have a line of 20 box cars in a train called the 20 Express. There are 40 tiles. Each time you draw a tile you write the number in one of your boxes. The more numbers you can keep in ascending order, the higher you score. Each number tile becomes more suspenseful than the last.
A beautiful, elegant tiling game for all ages. Players complete circles of various colors to earn points. The Cirplexed tiles are large and solid. The colors are vibrant. The rules and scoring are virtually intuitive. This is a fantastic game for kids, adults, and chatting.
Swish is a pattern recognition game in the same spirit as Set. Players try to match cards that have patterns of dots and circles. The clever bit is that the cards are transparent and you look for cards that will make complete sets when they are stacked on top of each other. The cards are colorful and simple and the game difficulty can be easily scaled up or down to make things fair for players of different abilities.
Yahtzee on speed. Flash! takes an old chestnut of a game and cranks up the noise and the adrenaline. Players race to roll their dice to make a pattern. The faster you finish the better your score. No more waiting around as the dice are passed around. No more slow, deliberate rolls of the dice. Lots of clattering, slamming, yelling, and laughing.
One of the best table top games I’ve seen. WeyKick is a fussball game with 2 magnetic wooden players on each side. Opponents control the wooden players by holding magnets under the playing surface. If your side kicks the ball into the opposing goal, you score. 2 player games are fun but 4 player games are intense. The games take a bit of time to assemble but they are solid wood and beautifully painted. They are also small enough that you won’t need a rec room to hold one.
A great test of dexterity for 2 – 4 people (or teams). Hamsterrolle is a stacking game with construction and play that are quite unique and ingenious. You balance various shapes inside a ring. As the ring rolls, you must keep placing your pieces so that the ring keeps its direction of movement. Any pieces that fall out on your turn become your pieces. First one out of pieces wins. Clever, gorgeous, and addictive.
Yottsugo proves that word puzzles don’t need words longer than four letters to be a major challenge. For each puzzle, you are given 16 letters with which to make a 4 x 4 grid of words. The challenge cards have three hints if you need them, but the cards are folded in such a way that you won’t see more than one hint at a time. This is not a fast game. This is the kind you leave out on a side table for hours or days. It’s not as boisterous as many of our others but the satisfaction you get from solving a puzzle is priceless.
Space Team is one of the most brilliant and funny games I have seen for our smartphones and tablets. You have to have the game loaded on each device, but they will then communicate over Wifi or Bluetooth. All players are trying to save their ship as it rockets through interstellar space. To do so you shout instructions at each other while you carry out emergency orders on your own control screen. All kinds of things go wrong and each level is tougher than the last. Probably the loudest and most chaotic app on the market.