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Board Game Reviews

The New Generation of Family Board Games – board game reviews, game reviews and recommendations for kids and family game nights. Find your next “classic” family board game.

In the age of apps and tablets, there is still something special about the time-honored tradition of family board game nights.

As parents, we all love the board game classics. Everyone family seems to have a classic like Monopoly, Trouble, Yahtzee, Scrabble, or Connect 4 near the living room just waiting for a power outage or the rare instance when everyone in the family seems to be home and settled in. But, what about the next generation of family board games?

There is a new generation of family board games that many families and kids aren’t aware of because the board game classics are so hard to knock off the family game night pedestal. So, which new family board games are worthy of a spot next to your tattered old edition of Stratego or Clue?

I’m setting up this page for Board Game Reviews and recommendations of newer family board games, card games, and dice games. The following family board game reviews are of games that have come out in the past 10 years or so. You may have heard of some of them, I’m hoping you’re not aware of all of them as you search for your families’ future go-to game for family game night.

Board Game Reviews

Board Game Reviews – Telestrations – Ages 8+ and Ages 12+; Telestrations resembles Pictionary but is set up as individual play rather than teams. Each player gets a laminated spiral notebook and a white erase marker. Everyone picks a card. The first player rolls the die. The corresponding number on each person’s card is the item that gets written on the first page of their spiral notebook. Each player then flips the page and passes their book to the person next to them. That person looks back at the word and then tries to draw a picture on the next blank page. They flip the page and pass it to the next person. That person looks at the picture and writes in a guess on the next blank page. This process continues until the book reaches the first person and everyone looks to see if anyone guessed the term correctly based on the drawings. Telestrations board game is not as much a game of keeping score as it is about just having fun. Full review

Board Game Reviews – Tapple – Ages 8 & up; The concept around Tapple is to think of words that fall within a specified category. The catch is, there can be only one answer per letter and you have only ten seconds to come up with it. For example, the category might be “red things.” Players take turns coming up with words that fall in this category – rubies, strawberries, etc. Once a letter is used, it gets “pressed” and the timer is reset for the next player. As players fail to complete this, they are eliminated from the round and the last one standing keeps the card. The first player to reach three cards wins. To make the game longer, you can change the number of cards required for the win.

Board Game Reviews CrossWays – Ages 8 & Up; The concept around CrossWays is to create a path with your game pieces that takes you from one end of the game board to the other side. Your opponents will take every opportunity to break your chain path and block you from getting to the other side. CrossWays is very similar to Sequence… they both use playing cards and strive to achieve a sequence of game pieces. The biggest difference with CrossWays is that you have to go a distance (vs getting just 5 in a row like Sequence), and you don’t have to stay in a straight line. So, as you pick up cards, you place your game pieces in the most effective fashion to get from one end of the board to the other. And, as the CrossWays tag states… “The path to victory is not always a straight line.” Not a huge fun factor with CrossWays but if you like strategy – you’ll be impressed.

Board Game Reviews Blokus – Ages 5 and up; In Blokus, you have 4 colors that start at 1 of 4 corners of a board and you have to match varying block pieces to fit the board and “block off” opposing players. The goal is to place as many of your pieces as possible on the board (each must touch another piece of the same color at the corners). You can strategically block your opponents to improve your chances of laying down more pieces. This is a great game that teaches strategy since you have to think ahead and strategically place each piece.

Board Game Reviews Qwirkle – Ages 6 and up; Qwirkle is a game where you place rows of similar pieces together to form a “qwirkle.” It’s somewhat of a “learning” game as well as teaching strategy. Each player holds tiles with different patterns and colors. There are a total of 108 wooden tiles of six different shapes in six colors. Each turn allows for a player to place tiles of similar patterns or similar colors in a line, without repeating or breaking the pattern. Turns rotate as players add to the existing placed lines. Once a line/row reaches 6 tiles, that player gets a Qwirkle. The objective is to place as many tiles as possible each turn, and get as many Qwirkles as possible to reach the highest points score.

Board Game Reviews SET card game – Ages 10 and up; This is a game about quick recognition and deduction. Players are in a race to recognize a “set” of three cards among 12 total cards laid out for all to view. Each card contains one of three symbols (squiggles, diamonds, ovals) in varying quantities (one, two or three), colors (purple, green, red), and degrees of shading. The players work all at the same time, without taking turns, to find “sets” of three cards linked by combinations of sameness or difference. When someone spots a “set,” he/she yells out “SET!” and takes the cards. The player with the most “sets” once all the cards have been used is the winner.

Board Game Reviews Would You Rather – Social card game. Ages 15 and up; You can play this one with younger kids, but be sure to “screen” the questions for them. Would You Rather is a funny game of crazy choices. Players take turns answering the dilemmas while others try to guess what a player would choose. You might think you know someone and how they’d answer, but these dilemmas are challenging and you don’t always know how someone will respond. So, it’s a great game to play with the family, or as an ice breaker at a party. Points are awarded based on the number of correct guesses and each player moves their token around the board. The winner is the first to move their token completely around the board.

Board Game Reviews – Toss-Up – dice game – Ages 8 and up; You can definitely play this game with kids younger than 8. Toss Up! is a dice game that can fit in your pocket, travel anywhere, and is super easy to learn. Toss Up! is played with 10 small dice that have colored sides. One side is red, and the rest are green and yellow. The object of Toss Up! is to be the first to reach 100 points. You earn points in Toss Up! for every die you roll that shows up green. Set the green dice aside, and you can stop and take your points, or you can continue to roll and earn more greens. But if you roll a red with no greens or yellows also rolled, you lose all the points you earned in that turn. So, the game is filled with taking risks and knowing when to stop.

Board Game Reviews – Mad Gab – social card game – Ages 10 & up & up to 12 players; The theme of Mad Gab is “It’s not what you say, it’s what you hear.” The main point of the game is to be able to decipher what someone is saying when it is re-written with different wording but similar sounds. For example, if you say “Anger Say Weigh” over and over again out loud, you will hopefully be able to decipher the true phase  “Anchors Away.” More fun with more than 3 people and more fun with children older than 12. Full review.

Pop your popcorn, pick up new family board games, and gather the family around for family game night! Which of these do you think are destined to be the next board game classic?

Stay tuned! More family board game reviews are coming soon!

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