2012 Holiday Board Game Gift Guide—Party Games

26 11 2012

Today’s category for the Gift Guide is Party Games! These are the ones you bring out when everyone’s crashed your pad for Christmas. Or when your adult small group gets together for New Year’s and someone wants to play Catch Phrase for the millionth time… Or when you have a group of restless teenagers wanting to burn off some energy.

The Resistance—This is hands down one of our favorite games of the year. It’s also a great game for larger groups and supports play with up to 10 people! Take all of the elements you like about Mafia, or Werewolf, and leave out the bad, and you have The Resistance. Players are members of the Resistance trying to topple the evil oppressive government, but there are spies among them trying to sabotage them at every turn! The Resistance is a quick playing highly interactive game, that will have players wanting to play again as soon as the first game ends! We seriously can’t get enough of this game! You can read our review here. There’s also a new version called The Resistance: Avalon that has some special powers, and is a good next-step after the original.)

Cost: $20

Available From: Amazon, your local game store, and soon big box department stores.

Ages: Probably 14 and up for this one.

Fluxx—This signature game from Looney Labs has become a staple game for larger groups. It’s easy to learn, but hard to win—in fact when the game begins there is literally no way to win! Players take turns drawing and playing cards. As cards are played new rules, goals, and items are added to the game; once a goal is met, then the game is over. The game is always changing, and planning a turn in advance is nearly impossible; it’s high on luck, and low on strategy, which makes the game both fun and frustrating at times. Fluxx comes in many different flavors, including Pirate, Wizard of Oz, Zombie, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail! Check out our review of Fluxx right here!

Cost: $15

Ages: 8 & up

Available From: Amazon, most department stores and your local game shop.

Time’s Up: Deluxe—I’ve (Firestone) played this charades variant a RIDICULOUS number of times, and I love it. We play in teams, and everyone is given the same 40 names of famous people. You play in three rounds: In the first one you can use words and actions and sounds and pretty much whatever to get your team to guess the name. In the second round you’re all playing with the same exact words, but this time you can only use one word (but still actions and sounds). And finally, in the third round, again using the same batch of words, you can only use actions and sounds. So much fun.

Cost: ~20

Available From: Amazon, and your friendly local game store.

Ages: Adults (I don’t think this would be a good game for teenagers—too many names they’ve never heard of.)

Wits & Wagers—The great thing about this “trivia” game is that you don’t have to know a lot of trivia to do well. The game asks a question—such as “How tall is the Statue of Liberty?” Everyone answers, and then you bet on whose answer you think is actually closest. You do get points for having the answer closest to the actual answer, but you can still do well by betting well.

Cost: ~$20

Available From: Amazon, Target, and your friendly local game store.

Ages: 10 and up (There’s also Wits & Wagers Family, which removes the “gambling” element and has questions that are appropriate for kids and the whole family.)

Dixit—Bring your creativity for this game. There are lots and lots of wild and interesting pictures. Everyone is dealt a hand of the cards. On your turn, you pick a card from your hand, place it facedown, and say a word or phrase that describes that picture in some way. Then everyone picks a card from their hand that could also describe the word or phrase you said and adds it to the facedown pile. You shuffle the cards, place them faceup, and guess which card you think was the original card. You don’t want to be too obvious in your descriptive word(s), because if everyone guesses correctly, you get no points. And anyone who played a card that was guessed (incorrectly) gets points, too. I really like how this stretches me creatively.

Cost: ~$25

Available From: Amazon, Target, and your friendly local game store.

Ages: 8 & up

Spot It!—This might be a little short for a party game, but if your group likes short games, this is perfect for large groups. Everyone is trying to be the first to spot the symbol on the middle card that matches one in front of them. It’s harder than it sounds. This game is cheap, portable, and easily explained—perfect for a party! Check out our full review here!

Cost: ~$14

Available From: Amazon, Target, and your friendly local game store.

Ages: 5 and up. This would work great with any group.

Jungle Speed—Everyone has a pile of cards. Each person in turn flips the top card of their pile. If the pattern matches someone else’s, there’s a duel where you both try to grab the stick in the middle. Bandage everyone up, and continue! We reviewed the whole game a few weeks ago.

Cost: ~$15

Available From: Amazon, department stores, and your friendly local game store.

Ages: 7 and up

Say Anything—You’re asked a question, such as “What is the most overrated band of all time?” People write down what they think your answer would be. You secretly pick one of the given answers as the “correct” answer. Then everyone bets on which of those answers they think you picked. (BTW, the correct answer is The Dave Matthews Band.)

Cost: ~$20

Available From: Amazon, Target, and your friendly local game store.

Ages: 8 & up (Like Wits & Wagers, this one has a Family version with more family friendly questions.)

Bang!—The Spaghetti Western card game, another fun “role” based game in which players are dealt a role card that determines how they play and win the game. Lots of finger pointing, dueling, and just plain taking pot shots at your friends! Check out our full review here.

Cost: $20

Available From: Amazon and your local game store

Ages: 8 & up

We Didn’t Playtest This at All—A game that not only rivals the quirkiness of Fluxx, it surpasses it! WDPTAA is a very fast-playing game for larger groups. The goal is simple: win. There are a few ways to win, but the best way is to not lose. And there are a TON of ways to lose. Players can lose one at a time, or in large fell swoops, depending on the card played. It’s totally random, but totally fun! Every time we play it there are a ton of laughs! And you can read the full review on the game right here!

Cost: $15 (On Amazon, although my copy was $8 at my local game store)

Available from: Amazon, and local game stores

Ages: 8 & up

So what did we miss? Leave a comment and let us know. And thanks for reading!

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What You Missed

16 11 2012

Another fun week here on our humble blog. Here’s what you might have missed…

  • We kicked the week off with a glimmer of hope regarding the new Race for The Galaxy expansion, Alien Artifacts. Apparently it really shakes things up.
  • Finally we gave you a heads-up on a cool-looking Kickstarter project—that’s almost over!—for the game Boss Battles.

Thanks so much for reading, and have a great weekend!





A Review of Jungle Speed

13 11 2012

By Firestone

Remember the classic youth group game Spoons? What’s it known for? Bloodshed… Well if you like Spoons, you’ll probably like Jungle Speed—which plays up to 10 people. Once it’s out of the now-unnecessary box, it’s a simple cloth bag, a set of rules, a deck of 80 square cards, and a plastic “totem.” The goal is simple: Get rid of all of your cards. Like Spot It!—which we reviewed a few weeks ago—there are a few variants that mess around with how you deal out cards and how the game is played and so forth.
In the basic game, you place the totem in the middle of the table, shuffle the 80 cards, and deal them out as evenly as possible to everyone playing. In turn, players flip over the top card of their stacks—using only one hand—to create a face-up discard pile. The cards feature various designs of various colors. Whenever a just-flipped card matches the design—not the color—of another card on the table, those players are now in a duel! Both players try to be the first one to grab the Totem. The loser takes the winner’s cards, their own discard pile, and any cards that might be in the middle of the table (from other card effects I’ll get to), and place them face-down under their draw stack. Play continues as before, with the loser of the duel starting.

The insidious thing (and I mean that in a good way), is that the designs look VERY similar. So often people will incorrectly grab the Totem—and in that case they have to take all of the face-up cards on the table. That’s the same penalty you take if you accidentally drop the Totem as you’re trying to grab it. There are a few special cards, such as one with a bunch of arrows pointing in, and everyone is basically in a duel as soon as that comes up, with the winner placing his or her discards in the middle of the table under the Totem. There’s also one that changes what triggers a duel to matching colors, rather then designs—so one more chance for you to accidentally grab the Totem and mess yourself up.

That’s basically it. So let’s talk about the Totem. It’s just a plastic piece that you grab. You’re not worshiping it or praying to it or anything else related to the traditional Totem you think of in other religious traditions. Since it’s just a name, if you felt strongly about it, you could easily change the name of your Totem. Call it the banana, or the grabby stick or the whatever.

Bottom line: It’s not the best party game I’ve played, and it’s certainly not the worst. But it’s a fun, party game that everyone can play, and would be great for a group of teenagers.

Thanks for reading!








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