A month ago or so we tried out a new card game, Falling: Goblin Edition and while crazy it was a lot of fun. The premise of the card game is that you are a group of Goblins who, for whatever reason, are falling and are sure to die when you hit the ground. So you take on the goal of trying to be the last one to hit the ground.
The game is very fast paced and lacks a true turn based system as you just fling cards as fast as they are dealt out. While it took us a couple of games before both the dealer and the players had figured out what we were doing, once we did it worked nicely. With such a fast paced game it did an excellent job of simulating the story line. While you were busy pushing other goblins (players) or grabbing onto thing to try to slow your decent the ground appeared with an unexpected “Thud!” often without you seeing it coming.
I wouldn’t recommend the game for kids younger than perhaps late Middle School, the pace would be a real challenge and the lack of true turns was a challenge for even the table of seasoned gamers I was playing with. It did make for an entertaining passing of time though while we waited for the last member of our gaming group to arrive for the evening’s table top session.
We have found that while we really love our truly gamer geared board games, we are always on the lookout for those games that have great general appeal. In our house this are referred to as cross-over games and they can bring both gamers and non-gamers to the table for some good fun.
One of the easiest types of games to introduce to non-gamers are card games. Here I would recommend introducing the crowd you are playing with to Fluxx 4.0. This great little game has simple rules, that change over time but don’t generally lose a person. Since Flux starts with the simple rule of draw a card, play a card it is easy to teach. If you haven’t played before, it is really fairly simple, and even my kids can mange it quite nicely.
Another easy to play game, that has already hit mainstream in many areas is Apples to Apples Party Box – The Game of Hilarious Comparisons. This game is a card based game that has players placing cards into play based on their belonging to a particular category. The challenge comes from that each player takes turns determining the winning card of each hand. So to win a hand you must be able to judge how the other person will judge the cards. Not everyone has the same definition of gross after all.
If you are looking for a board game to pass away some time at the latest family gathering, I would suggest Gift TRAP Game. There is no gamer knowledge required for this game, of giving and taking of gifts. Each hand of play there are a number of cards representing various gifts that can be given. Each player marks gifts with hidden tokens to represent the level of like or dislike they have towards the gift. As an example I would love to get a trip to Disney World, but would hate to get a skydiving lesson. Then each player gives another a gift, no doubling up, and then points are scored. To win you have to manage to receive enough gifts that you like, as well as give enough gifts that other people like. It is a great way to learn a little more about the family or friends that you are playing with.
So last weekend I played a new game with the kids called Thunderstone. The game is a card based game that recreates an adventuring group. While the game is plenty of fun it is also easy enough for younger kids to play. I suspect that we may not have been playing with the full on set of rules, but we were close enough to them to get a good feel for the game.
In the game each person starts out with basic supplies for an adventuring party represented in cards. Using the cards you have collected you can either head to the village to purchase supplies or recruit and level up; or you can delve into the dungeon and battle creatures for experience points. The game play is pretty simple once you get it figured out, though I will admit that the setup is a bit on the complicated side to determine from the book. Just be sure to read through the instruction book and it will all come together pretty easily.
Game: Apples to Apples
Where can I get it: Target, Fred Meyers, Amazon, Etc,
What is it: This is a card based family game. It comes in two varieties the party pack and the junior version. Apples to Apples is one of the few “big box” games that we play these days. While it has made its way into the mass merchant shops it is still played heavily at Gamestorm (the gaming convention we attend). The pace is quick enough to keep it interesting and personal enough to make it fun.
How is it played: Each player has a set of cards in their hand representing different items or things. The judge picks a card from the top of a stack of special descriptive cards and then all the other players are to put a card from their hand down that best fits the descriptive card. For example, using cards from the junior set (only difference is easier words) here is my hand.
Birthday Cake, Sledding, Snow White, Aladdin, and Dinosaurs. The judge has placed Stinky in the center of the table.
Nothing I have is classically stinky, but if I was playing with my son and he were the judge I might put down Snow White, as he is still in the “girls have cooties” stage of life. The determination of which card is considered Stinky (in this case) is made by the judge, so it pays to look at it from another person’s shoes. Which makes for a good laugh around friends and a good, subtle lesson for kids in perspective.
The kids version is for 7+ and 4-10 players, taking less then 30 minutes to play. From my gamer family to yours I suggest picking this one up!
Tired of playing Monopoly and Life for the millionth time with your kids, ready for something new and interesting to play on game night. There are a wide array of games that can meet your needs and now that there is the internet to make ordering easier these games are available to almost anyone. I have been slowly growing my collection of these card and board games for the last decade or so. Here I plan to review these games as a way for you to determine which might work best for your family. With any luck you should be able to find a number of new games to try out.
Lets start with a simple, yet complex card game called Fluxx. The game starts with the simple rule of draw one, play one, simple enough. As the game goes on people play goals for winning, which constantly changes as well as they can play different rules that can change a variety of aspects of the game. While it sounds complicated you will find it is easy to play and with all the expansions, like Family Fluxx, it is a great family game. This is one that I enjoy playing with my son, age 8, and my daughter, age 6. It is a bit over my daughters head she enjoys playing it none the less. You can pick it up at most any game store, in the Greater Portland Area we like going to Rainy Day Games as they have a great selection.