I swear, one of these years I’ll formalize the way I do my holiday picks article, but like usual TAGIE, ChiTAG and all the follow up work after it have sucked away the last couple weeks. So here I am, a week late posting my “Holiday Picks” article — still that’s better than last year!
Here it is, a list of games which will make great gifts and entertain your family during the holidays and the long winter (and my top picks of the games I reviewed in 2011 plus 2 new games).
High Low RACKO, Winning Moves $9 NEW!
I invented it! (so this is somewhat of a shameless plug) This is rack-less RACKO and players have their 10 cards lined up face-up in front of them. Players then take turns drawing a card from the deck. They MUST replace one of their cards with this new card and pass their discard to the next player. Once the card has gone around the table, the next player draws a card. Keep an eye on what you’re discarding or you may give your neighbor a win!
City Square Off, Gamewright $20 REVIEW
This is one of those games that I’ve played a lot even after I reviewed it. Not all of the games I review end up in the regular rotation (because there are so many others I have yet to play and possibly review) but this one did. It’s a great 2-player tile placement game that’s quick and easy to learn and play and it doesn’t really matter if one player is an adult and the other a tween, it’s still an even match.
Can’t Stop, Gryphon Games $32 REVIEW
IT’S BACK!!! I’m so excited this Sid Sackson classic push-your-luck game is back on the market (now with Gryphon Games). Back when I reviewed this game in July 2009 I had found a copy in the UK and had it shipped to me — and let me tell you that is not cheap. It’s still not a steal at ~$32 BUT it’s worth every penny and with the giant plastic board, you know where some of the money went. Any dice-game lover on your list will thank you for this one!
Sherlock, Playroom Entertainment $9 REVIEW
This one’s been around for a while, but I just reviewed it this year and LOVED IT. It’s an adorable twist on memory because you are not just recalling which item is where, but you also have to plot a way to get to a face-up card. You see, each card has a number and arrow on it and that tells you which card you have to guess next. It a really fun game and definitely levels the playing field between kids and adults.
Solitaire Chess, Think Fun $20 REVIEW
I mentioned this one in last year’s Holiday Picks article (see HERE) but I hadn’t played it enough to review it yet. After much post-holiday play, I reviewed it the 2nd week of January because I really enjoyed it. Sure it’s a solo-play game — and essentially a chess brainteaser — but it’s really satisfying. In truth, I like the app more than the physical game since you don’t have to bother resetting the board if you screw up.
Split Decision, Mental Floss Games $25 REVIEW
I really mulled over whether or not to include Split Decision on this list — this game was a riot with a large group. They did such a great job on the cards; they’re hilarious! BUT you blow through a lot of cards in one game. Still if you’re looking for something to play with a large group over the holidays, have 1 person be the reader and designate 1 side of the room “A”, the other “B.” Losers sit, and play until there’s 1 person left — give them a nice prize. YAY!
This giant box of trivia questions is great for a long trip or a lazy day where you don’t want to sit around a board game. Each card has 10 clues and 1 answer. Read them one at a time starting with 10 and counting down to 1 and if someone gets the answer on say the clue #8, they get 8 points. Get it? We decided to cross off the clues we used so we can reuse the cards later. Great gift for people who take the Trivial Pursuit box with them on vacation!
Halli Galli, Playroom Entertainment $15 REVIEW
I reviewed a couple good speed games this year (Jungle Speed being one of them) but I really enjoyed Halli Galli for a couple reasons. First, it has a bell which makes winning the round really satisfying. Second, it requires a little bit of quick math (not a ton) you just have to ring the bell when there are EXACTLY 5 of the same item shown on all the cards. Great fun for kids and tweens!
Hope you all have been good this year so Santa brings you lots of fun games! Happy Holidays! – Kim