Bowling For Bunnies

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

What kind of game do you buy for a two year old? Even the most advanced young strategist may find it difficult to resist the temptation of chewing on cardboard game pieces and wooden dice. For kids under three, try a more physical game like Bowling Bunnies.

Bowling Bunnies, also known as Skittles, is a very basic bowling game. It includes two soft, safe cabbage bowling balls (fuzzy green bean bags), five cute bunny pins about 8" tall with wooden bases and ribbons around their necks, and one King Bunny pin. Great for the whole family. $40

What’s in Ned’s Head? Game

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Another great game for kids as young as four years!  Winner of several awards, What’s in Ned’s Head is a game that appeals to kids’ love for gross stuff while increasing sensory awareness

Ned’s Head is a large plush head with openings in the mouth and ears.  Each player draws a card indicating a weird object for which the player must feel around inside Ned’s Head.  A nationwide contest resulted in inclusion of some kid-suggested objects like "Bird Poop With A Worm" and "Dirty Diaper".  Included are a total of 15 silly objects with corresponding cards, and 10 extra blank cards so you can add your own wacky stuff!

What’s In Ned’s Head?, $35, 2-5 players, ages 4+

Prices and availability may vary – call store for current info.

Rumis, Award-Winning Strategy Game

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Rumis (also marketed as Blokus 3D) is a challenging strategy game in three dimensions.  Like some other strategy games, the end goal is to cover most of the board with your own color of blocks.  The hard part is that only the top layer of any part of the structure counts – the player with the most stones visible from above is the winner. 

Included are 6 "building plans", different gameboard footprints inside which your stones must be placed.  Each game board also has guidelines for how high a structure may stand at any given point – this adds difficulty and makes for very interesting-looking structures. 

Great for game nights, whether for just grownups or for family.

Rumis, $30, 2-4 players, ages 8 to adult

Prices and availability may vary – call store for current info.

Spin Me a Rainbow Puzzle Game

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Finding good games for kids under 5 can be difficult.  Many concepts are a little too difficult, and many children are frustrated by strategy and competition.  But try this one:

Spin Me a Rainbow is an adorable game from Eeboo, a company that has very consistently cute and lovely artwork.  They make several different versions of the classic memory matching game, but this one is has a bingo twist to it. 

Flick the spinner to play; first to gather all the shapes wins.  Combining colors, shapes, matching, and cute animals, this is an adorable and very simple game that children three to four years old will enjoy.  (Older children may find it not challenging, but we have several other Eeboo games to suit a variety of ages.)

Spin Me a Rainbow, $16, 1-4 players, ages 3+

Prices and availability may vary – call store for current info.

Bananagrams!

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

 

Bananagrams is so much fun!  Think of it perhaps as a portable, scrambled version of Scrabble.  The attractive banana-shaped carry bag and the banana terms make this competitive anagram game quite apPEELing.

Players each build their own crossword, often rearranging to accommodate new letters.  “SPLIT!” starts the game; the reserve pile is the “BUNCH”; players may “PEEL” and “DUMP” to replenish their letters or trade them out; and the game ends with a player calling “BANANAS!” 

Standard game play can be hectic – players grab and scramble and often must draw new letters that require major shuffling of their crossword.  The instructions provide alternate rules that allow for shorter, easier, or solo games.

If you leave the tiles out on a table, you will probably find yourself and your family magnetically drawn to play “just a quick round” any time you pass by.  For more challenge, try playing in another language, using a foreign dictionary to decide allowable words.  We have a demo out on our games table – stop in and play a round!

Game of the Week: Set Cubed

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

I have long been a fan of the SET card game, and, recently, I finally had the pleasure of playing Set Cubed. In a roomful of Set enthusiasts, this version is no less engrossing than the original. As usual, players from other tables tend to wander over between turns and help out (though I think this is more out of compulsion than compassion!).

The similarities to Scrabble are many: players draw SET dice from a bag and play onto any existing set on the board, and there are also bonus squares and wild dice. I worried that the omission of the shading variable in this version would make the game too simple, but the strategy required for piece placement more than makes up for this. Deciding on an order of placement for your pieces can have a profound effect on other players’ ability to build further sets from those same pieces.

SET is fast-paced and quick-thinking, while Set Cubed is careful and contemplated. Because of the strategy involved, Set Cubed is recommended for 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, and both games are equally thrilling for both kids and adults.

Game of the Week: Chocolate Fix

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Set Chocolate Fix out in your living room – the scrumptious realistic (plastic) chocolate game-pieces make it hard to keep hands off.  This sudoku-like single-player game of deductive reasoning is good for ages 8 and up, but especially recommended for your honey bunch on a special occasion.  Wouldn’t a birthday or anniversary be lovely with flowers and a box of challenging chocolates?

Solve puzzles by looking at clues as to where to place each shape and color of chocolate.  Difficulty ranges from easy to expert.  If you solve all the puzzles (which you will, because you’re amazing!), you can also try Grid Works, a book full of puzzles based on similar clues, but with flat, non-chocolate playing pieces. 

Thinkfun makes tons of puzzle games and word games, and we like them so much that we have an entire display island devoted to this brand.  Come see!  We’d love to open them up and show you how to play them.

Game of the Week: Loot

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Avast, scurvy dogs!  Although International Talk Like a Pirate Day has ARRRReady passed, all ye scalawags can still celebrate the adventure of the high seas.

LOOT is a quick game, playable in about 20 minutes.  The instructions may seem a bit wordy at a glance, but the rules are easy to remember after playing one round.  Players begin with 6 cards.  On your turn, you may lay down a merchant ship (if you have one), play a pirate ship on someone else’s merchant ship, or draw another card to beef up your hand.  (This is one of the only games we’ve seen where you either draw or play on your turn, but not both).  Players may play pirate ships to defend their own merchant ships, and any card that makes one round without contest goes to the last player who made a move on that ship.  Admirals and Pirate Captains nearly guarantee victory on a vessel and are thus available in very limited supply.

Merchant ships have different values, so players have incentives to save up their pirate ships and wait to compete for more coveted merchant ships.  On the other hand, a thoughtful player might snatch up all the low-valued merchants while everyone else is too focused on a single high-value ship.  Yet another player may use most of his turns to stockpile useful attack ships.  There are several useful strategies to consider in this game, and it is best suited for players ages 10 years and older.

2 to 8 players makes this a fun party game, especially if you all use maritime slang and wear pirate hats.

Official Site

Game of the Week: In a Pickle

Friday, September 12th, 2008

In a Pickle is a game that will expand your imagination.  Players hold cards marked with nouns both tangible (pickle, portrait, zoo) and intangible (universe, chaos, space).  Some are also ambiguous (pickle – food or conundrum, head – cranium or bathroom, etc).  Each turn requires a person to play one of their cards onto another card which could fit into the played card.  As you can see in the picture, there is juice in a pickle, a pickle is in the supermarket, and the supermarket is in a parking lot.  The player to place the fourth card on a stack claims the whole stack, unless the next player can continue the stack by playing an even "bigger" card. 

This makes for some very interesting imagery:  There is artificial flavoring in the turkey which has been placed in a hole that I found in the fog which is only found in my memory

You might think you’ve stumped everyone by playing the universe card, but the next player can play the portrait card – hey, haven’t several people painted the universe?  (All plays can be challenged, so be prepared to explain yourself!)

2 to 6 players

Ages 10 and up (for reading and concepts).  Adults will enjoy this one, too.

Game of the Week: Matching Madness

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

 

"You Must Be Quick to Make the Pick!"

Previously known as figurix, Matching Madness is the next step up for kids who have already mastered simpler matching games.  Roll three dice.  One turns up one of 6 images; the other two represent a colored circle and a colored ring (each red, yellow, or blue).  The game board depicts the possible combinations of the three dice.  The first player to spot the matching combination on the board gets to place their chip.  First to run out of 7 chips wins.

2-6 players

Sharpens visual acuity and recognition skills.

Recommended for ages 5 to 10

…but also a favorite at staff game nights :)