Things to Do - Board Game Reviews!! (YAY for Board Games!)


Due to the blizzard, the kids had almost two extra weeks off school (12 days including weekends); basically a second Christmas break (as if we needed another). I love my kids, but I missed my own routine (oh, how I've missed it). Anyways, it seems that all the energy we previously invested in craft projects (remember those days?) we now use on board games.

And I have to say, I'm SO EXCITED that the kids are old enough to play real games (no more Sorry! or Chutes and Ladders!). I went a little crazy this winter and purchased quite a few new games - here are our reviews (and to read about last year's favorites, click here).


"EASIER GAMES" (i.e. T, age 6, can play)

1. Monopoly Here & Now Game - When I purchased this, I assumed it would be almost identical to "real" Monopoly, but with an updated board. Yet it's actually quite different - game play moves much faster (games only last about 30 minutes) and you can't trade properties. Still, the kids love it and it's perfect for before bedtime.

2. Lost Cities - The Board Game - We played this almost obsessively during the blizzard and for a few days F proclaimed this her favorite board game ever. Dan and I really like it too, so it seemed like Lost Cities was here to stay. But then the following problem emerged - although gameplay itself is relatively simple (so all three kids caught on easily), the strategy needed to win as a little bit more complex, so the kids never beat the adults and after awhile they became sick of losing all the time.

3. Tokaido Board Game - This is one of those games that seems complicated, but once you begin you realize that game play is relatively simple. I love it because the game centers around a journey, so you receive extra points for stopping at scenic vistas, buying souvenirs, meeting new people, etc. Thus, even if you lose you still have an interesting "gamer" vacation (plus the board and cards are gorgeous to look at). Although after awhile the game seems a little overly simple. Luckily, there's an expansion pack that is supposed to make it more complex (we haven't bought it yet).

4. Lanterns The Harvest Festival Board Game - This was probably the least successful of our new board game purchases. It's a pretty game and the play is simple, yet requires some degree of strategy (you place various lantern tiles in order to receive color cards, which you can then trade in for point tiles). But something about it never really "clicked" with the kids.

"OLDER" GAMES (i.e. best for kids 8 and over)

5. Coup (The Dystopian Universe) - This game is a little tricky (even for an adult) to learn at first. There are five different types of "characters" all of who serve different functions and it's important to know exactly what each character can do and how the characters interact. Each player draws two characters and then competes to kill off his/her opponents. Games last 10 minutes at most (so you can play multiple rounds).

Once the kids and their friends got the hang of Coup, they played CONSTANTLY. For a few weeks, it seemed like that's all they ever did. So on the upside, Coup is addictive and fun (and, unlike most games, up to 8 people can play). On the downside, it's a cruel game - you need to kill your friends, gameplay often involves lying about the cards you have, and it's easy for two players to gang up on another player. All that being said, my kids love it because, "wouldn't you rather us fight through a board game then fight in real life?"

6. Splendor Board Game - This by far is my favorite of our new games. You use coins to buy cards and then the cards act like money to help you buys more expensive cards. Whoever gets to 15 points first wins and most games only take about 30 minutes to play. While all three of my kids understand the basic strategy, T has a hard time with the "ultimate" strategy of buying the right cards to win; the girls, however, often beat Dan and me.

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