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happypamama

2017 Christmas Games Reviews

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I know there is a thread on what games you were giving this year, but I figured we could use a thread for reviewing them.

 

My mom got us Chomp (Gamewrights). There are some scenarios not well-defined in the rules, but the game is fun. No reading required. The smallboys love it. 4yo is REALLY good at it.

 

Clue (I think it’s not challenging enough with the new extra cards, but I like the 2-player variation) is a big hit. I expected my 9yo to love the mystery aspect and my 12yo to like the strategy, and sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. 12yo begged to play multiple times yesterday. This brought back so many memories from my childhood, even the dimensions of the board. Scarlett even still goes first.

 

We set up Forbidden Desert and started going through the rules; it looks great, but 9yo had a headache and decided he wanted to go to bed, so we shall try it later. My smallboys keep wanting to “play†Pyramix because of the cool board, but we haven’t actually learned the rules yet, so they’re just tumbling the pieces around. 15yo DD seemed especially enthused at Timeline, and they were all thrilled to see Codenames Pictures. My mom also found us a couple of vintage card games that we haven’t tried yet but which look good.

 

As you play this year’s games, tell us what you think!

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Forbidden Island was really fun, and quite easy to learn. I think it took one round to figure it out.  Dh, dd, and I played.

 

Speak Out from odd' girlfriend was hilarious!  Dh refused to play - I think he needs a few drinks in him to be comfortable playing it! 

 

Eureka was supposed to be for dd to take to back to university, but I brought it out on Christmas eve.  Yds and I loved it; everyone else was 'meh' about it.

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My kiddos don't love playing games  :crying:  so we didn't get any new ones for Christmas. However, I had bought the game Exploding Kittens a few months ago, but we had never gotten around to playing it. I pulled it out last night and begged everyone to play. We had a BLAST! Even my moody 13 yo ds had fun!!! I really think it is the most fun game I've played in a while and I think everyone will agree to play it again.

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This year's additions:

 

5-Minute Dungeon - Love this one!  So far, the favorite of all the new games.  Nifty take on cooperative card-building dungeon games, with a timer added.  The only downside is that DS4, who can usually play these kinds of games with a bit of help, is pretty lost with the time constraints.  But for the ages on the box, it's a lot of fun.

 

Bugs in the Kitchen - Move the pieces on the board to change the "maze" and get the Hexbug to scuttle to your trap.  DS8 got this one and everyone, even the bug-hating child and a too-cool-for-games teen, got into it.  The battery started to go out on the Hexbug from so much play time.  I bought a second Hexbug (we're going to try using two at a time later) and a battery pack.

 

King of Tokyo - DS9 and DS8 learned quickly and were able to play it alone while we slept in this morning.  Once we fully hammer out the strategies and get familiar with the cards, I think it will become a favorite.

 

Catan - Enjoyed it.  Not too far from the Junior version, so we already felt familiar with it, but with enough extra complexity to not be boring.

 

Castle Panic The Wizard's Tower Expansion - Not as challenging as I had expected, but a lot of fun.  We did feel like we were dragging the kids through a little bit, but I think they'll catch on quickly as we play it more.  It does add a little more time onto the game.

 

We still have a few to play - Splendor, Roller Coaster Challenge, and something else I can't remember right now.  More later!

 

OH!  Pie Face.  I have not laughed so hard in a long time.

Edited by BarbecueMom
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Sushi go: we had only played it once with a large group while camping with a double deck and it was so confusing. I knew it was really liked so I got it anyways. We have played it lots of time now and really really like it.

 

Forbidden Island: only played it once with my 7 year old but it was easier to figure out then I thought. I did watch a couple YouTube videos first. I liked that it was complex but also fast. We love TtR and Catan but don't always have the time to play do this seemed great.

 

Rat a tat Cat: we have played a similar game with plain cards. Really liked this version and keep coming back to it.

 

Quixx: we liked it. Only my 7 year old and I have played it so far. Want to try it with some others too.

 

Prime climb: haven't played it yet. Really excited to though.

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Timeline has been deemed awesome by my husband, me, and the two older kids!

 

The first attempt at Forbidden Desert was okay. It has a lot of things to remember and to track. I think we will love it when we’re more confident, and when 4yo is not being a (cute but frustrating) tornado.

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We played Santorini. It was fun for both the kids and adults. It looked misleadingly simple. The game offers a higher level of play with power cards, and I was sure we'd be using them. So far, we find it challenging enough without adding the cards, lol!

 

We also played Check the Fridge. We own the other two card games that this company has and have really enjoyed them. Dd2 needs math facts to be part of daily life and these games offer that while being really fun and fast for the rest of the family.

 

Splendor us up next!!!

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This year we got 3 new games.

 

Castles of Burgundy: It's a great strategy game that will take time to learn well enough to not need the rule book in hand. We really enjoyed it, even ds who has been kind of burned out on strategy games.

 

Bring Your Own Book: We really enjoyed playing this party type game that has an Apples to Apples feel.

 

Exploding Kittens: I got this for ds because I thought he would enjoy the funny aspects and artwork. As I mentioned above, he was kind of getting out of the love of game playing, and I wanted to bring him back into the fold! He likes all the games!! It's a fun card game.

Edited by mom31257
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Dd received Ocean Raiders as a gift. It's similar to Chutes & Ladders, but with addition. Had I known that, I would not have put it on her wish list.

 

Math game is a plus.

 

The interminable gameplay of sliding up and down, I. Just. Can. Not. Do.

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We got a LOT of games. I haven’t played most of them yet, although the kids played a lot with my parents yesterday. 

 

So far I think the biggest hit is Revolution. We like that it’s mostly strategy with little to no luck. It’s also much shorter than some of the other strategy games (like Catan). And it feels faster, everyone is doing something every turn. 

 

We also got Bring Your Own Book. We played once and I really like it. I’m not sure anyone else likes it as much as me. I like that it’s interactive so I could see playing it a lot in bigger groups. 

 

 

 

Edited by Alice
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My kids’ favorite new game is Chameleon. I’d never heard of it but needed a last gift and it had good reviews so I took a chance and won.

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This year we got a lot of games!

 

5 minute dungeon--fun, but super stressful!

 

Kingdom builder--we all like it. Scoring is always close even though we all had different areas built on.

 

Kingdomino--awesome quick game. Really like this one

 

Professor noggin us history--easy but we are learning tons. Family asked for more from the company.

 

Starfall--fun, strategy matters. We all like it.

 

Star wars monopoly -- nice change from original. We limit ourselves to an hour when playing monopoly. This version was fun.

 

Space game. Tin of cards that can be played 4 ways. Another one that will get easier as we memorize the material.

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While I thought we would not receive any games this year for Christmas, DH bought and gifted the family with TWO expansion sets to go with Kingdom Builder (which we got last year), plus Alhambra.

 

So far, we've only played Alhambra. It is new to us, but actually came out in 2003, and was an award-winner. Really enjoyed it. It involves cards that are the 4 different types of "currency" for purchasing the tiles, which have 6 different types of building components on them. You "build" your Alhambra with those tiles. There are 3 scoring rounds -- one each at approx. 1/3 and 2/3 through the game, and one at the end. Scoring points comes in two ways: having the most contiguous sections of wall around the perimeter of your Alhambra, and through having the most of a type of building component.

 

It is a family game for ages 8+, and for up to 6 players. It was pretty quick to learn, and has enough strategy + luck to hold the interest of an all-adult group. Two thumbs up! :)

 

We LOVE Kingdom Builder, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the expansions are like.

Edited by Lori D.
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I got Photosynthesis (using light to convert little seeds to big trees). We enjoyed it. It was a lot to remember (which direction, who is shading who, planning with the sun). I'm looking forward to trying it again when I have more brain cells. The trees are beautiful and the rules are fairly short. 

 

We played a Timeline game dh gave me (trying to place countries in a line from least to most while racing the other players). It's a quiz on geography, population, gnp, eco footprint. Each round was a different aspect. Take away: Papua New Guinea is really big. So is Madagascar. It really exposed some of my Euro-centrisms, but I still won. I tend to be good at these games so we'll see how long it lasts. 

 

DH got Near and Far but it's a bigger rules upload so we haven't played yet. We also got Magic Maze today from friends. 

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Are video games included? The new Super Mario Odyssey is by far the best of the Nintendo Mario brothers adventures so far. Lots of side quests before saving Peach who once again gets captured by Bowser. Very well done.

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I really enjoyed the past thread, though I don’t think I participated.


Monster Trap was a hit. I really like it, but I’m not sure it’s going to have a lot of long term use. My little ones will like it, but it really needs 3-4 people and it’s helpful if two of those playing are older. But we really enjoyed playing it.


Gobblet Gobblers is a good fast 5-minute game that my boys played for 45 minutes in happy bliss this morning. It’s a win.


Dutch Bliss and Blink are good. We’ve enjoyed these. Both girls like speed games.


Tumult Royale was good. One kid liked it, One did not. I didn’t love that it has a lot of set up. BUT next time we play, set up and play should be much faster-that’ll be helpful.


We have several more that we still need to play. I’m most excited about Imhotep and Lost Cities Duel.


 


I want to buy new games in 2018. One a month. And these threads provide great lists J I love hearing what your family has received and liked!


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We got several new games. Here are some we played:

 

Baba Yaga: card game from gamewright. It isn’t my favorite gamewright game, but my kids like it

 

One night ultimate alien: up to 10 people can play. The kids love it.

 

Letters to Santa: fun, quick card game. It is just like Love Letter, but a different theme.

 

Star realms: ds9 and ds11 Love this 2 player deck building game

 

6 nimmit- a fun card game for up to 10 players

 

Zany penguins- fun quick card game. Kind of like sushi go

 

Kahuna: 2 player game. Only played once. I don’t love it yet, but I am going to give it a few more chances

 

Imhotep: probably my favorite new game

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Tossing my reviews here too. 

Sushi Go Party:
I love how it is so easy to customize the game play based on who is playing - I can pick simpler games for the younger kids and harder ones for the adults.  Everyone enjoyed it that played it from young to old - the theme is very cute, art work too.  


Sleeping Queens:
This is a winner with my 7yo and 9yo - they both loved it and keep asking to play again.  I love how short it is.


Clumsy Thief Candy Shop:
This one also really enjoyed with the 7yo and 9yo and hopefully will get them a bit faster with some of their math facts to 20.


Ticket to Ride:
Yay, this one was the perfect choice. I really debated getting the Europe version because of reviews that it's better, but I think that this version is perfect for my family right now. My husband said he even enjoyed playing it (wow! he doesn't like games). So yay, happy about this one!


 

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I clicked on this thread thinking it was about football!!  :lol:

 

I  OD on football this time of year - luckily the break starts in February after the Super Bowl.

 

I don't watch much preseason football so I think I am still sane.

 

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Things: pretty much Apples to Apples but instead of getting cards to use, you provide your own answer. The object of the game is to guess who provided which answer. Lots of fun for all ages.

 

Escape Room: like the "real thing" that most people are familiar with. There are four "rooms". We did one last night. It was a LOT of fun! We finished and got the correct solution with about 5 minutes to spare. It was not easy (age 14+ i think it said). We had four (two adults and 15 and 17 yo dc) playing. Looking forward to another round. They get progressively harder. Not cheap considering you only have four hours of play, lol, but you can purchase expansion packs that use the "equipment" so I'm assuming they're a bit less expensive.

 

Suspend: building/balancing game kind of like reverse pick up sticks. Players place metal pieces on a base piece and try not to let it fall. Lots of fun, especially with the teen/ya boys/men.

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Our favorite game for Christmas (so far) is Potion Explosion!  My dd describes it well as a combo of Splendor and Candy Crush!  There is a contraption you put together (easy) that dispenses marbles which represent ingredients in the potions you will be trying to make. The marbles are different colors and go into the contraption randomly.  On your turn you choose a marble to take out of any row, trying to create an "explosion" by other colored marbles knocking into each other to make a chain of 2 or more.  You get to collect ALL the marbles that "explode" after the first marble you take and then you use them to create potions. Everyone has 2 potion cards with spaces for various marble combinations.  Once your potion is complete, you can choose to "drink" it and use it's power (usually getting more marbles or using marbles like wild cards to make your potions).  You always have 2 potion cards going, drawn from several draw piles. There are a few fun ways to earn points at the end, including points for each potion--more if your potion was more complex (required more marbles).  

 

This is for ages 14+ but I think a 12yo who doesn't get easily frustrated by not getting all the possible strategies you can use would do fine.  You can sort of sabotage others and then there is also a little luck depending on which marbles are available in the contraption on your turn.  There is a little waiting between turns but not bad.  We think it's really clever!

Edited by 6packofun
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Sushi Go Party: It is very similar to the original, but I think I like Party better due to the game board score keeping (easier for kids to keep track) and extra sushi card options.

 

Exploding Kittens: Perhaps I just had it too built up in my mind due to the rave reviews I have seen just about everywhere, but I was rather disappointed with this one. It was okay. I don't think the kids were overly impressed.

 

Kitty Paw: I don't know why, but I had a difficult time with the instructions for this one. Once we figured it out (it is really quite simple) we enjoyed it.

 

Yet to play:

Magic Labyrinth

Dr Eureka

Ice Cool

Iota

Stack Up

Zooloretto

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Dragonwood: fun!!!  It looks complicated but it's not.  Get cards, make matches, then you can either slice, stomp or shout at monsters.   Fast, easy and a good time for all  of us (age 7-adult).

 

Hit the Habitat Trail: my kids really enjoyed it, good for those who love Wild Kratts, Brave Wilderness and nature documentaries in general.  The board is huge, so I thought it was going to be a slog, but it was fun.  Some of the questions are easy; some stumped the grownups.   My 9 year old knew more than me several times, it was fun to see her shine.  I was impressed with the quality and thought that went into the game and questions.

 

Still to try:
Patchwork

Ticket to Ride
Clank!

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DS9 and I really enjoyed Prime Climb, but we are simplifying the rules a bit until we learn the nuances. We also enjoyed Exploding Kittens.

 

I got sucked into the other game post pre-Christmas, so we have a number of additional games to play... :-)

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Invisible Think-this was a family gift. We had so much fun playing it. It’s like Pictionary but you spin a spinner and either the person drawing or the guessers or everyone on the team is wearing glasses that make the drawing invisible. You either can’t see what you are drawing, what your teammate is drawing or you’re all blind for the turn. Some of the word cards have forbidden words on them. If the guessers say the forbidden word, the turn is over automatically. It was really fun and wild.

 

Ion- a card drafting game, surprisingly easy to learn and fun to play. Dd who hates Chemistry won.

 

We also got 2 more Professor Noggin games. Always a hit

Edited by scholastica
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This year we got:

 

Castle Panic: DH and I are really liking this one.  For those that play this one: Our first game was with 5 players. On the very first monster draw I drew the goblin king (?) and had to draw 3 more, and one of those was a draw 4. So we got slammed right out of the gate and lost by the third player on the second round. But we've done better in subsequent plays!

 

Splendor: We haven't played this one, yet. 

 

Rat-a-tat-cat: The kids like this one a lot! DD5 caught on quickly and totally kicked my butt last time.

 

The Magic Labyrinth: They have really liked this one, too. DD5 has a hard time remembering where the walls are, but she still does pretty well. 

 

Evolution: The beginning: DD9 and I have only played this one once. We struggled through it at first but caught on by the end. I think it overwhelmed her a bit so I might have to convince her to give it another try. I think it will be better the second time now that we know what it's about. 

 

Prime Climb: We haven't tried this yet. 

 

Smallworld: This was a surprise one from MIL. We haven't had a chance to play this one, yet, either.

 

We don't really get game time during the week. Hopefully we'll be able to give them all a go this weekend. 

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So far, we've played Plague, Chickapig, and Not Parent Approved.  All thumbs up!

 

Not Parent Approved, a kiddie version of Cards Against Humanity, is a HUGE hit.  But it definitely gets my youngest very wound up.

 

 

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We've become Splendor addicts!! Not difficult to learn and easy to play after opening the box. It's fun with basic strategy and only gets more fun as you develop your understanding of the game. We all love it!

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We got several new games:

 

Pandemic (I assume everyone knows that one already) - I thought it was a bit complicated, older ds thought it was a bit boring (probably as it was quite slow-moving due to learning the rules). I think we may like it better if we play it a couple more times.

 

Magic Maze - I think there is something a bit wrong with it as the 3 person version seemed off/skewed. However, the kids basically played it as a two person game and liked it a lot. It is a fast game with everyone playing at the same time which the kids liked (me not so much as I like things a bit slower).

 

Holmes - We actually all really liked this one! The rules are a bit complicated (hm, maybe it isn't the rules but me that is the problem) but it is fun. Younger ds was worried about the detective/crime aspect but really it is a card collecting game and has little to do with mystery/detectives. 

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Rat a tat Cat: we have played a similar game with plain cards. Really liked this version and keep coming back to it.

 

We played Rat a Tat Cat a lot when my daughter was younger and enjoyed it a great deal.  My sister and brother-in-law take it along when they travel.

 

We also got Bring Your Own Book. We played once and I really like it. I’m not sure anyone else likes it as much as me. I like that it’s interactive so I could see playing it a lot in bigger groups. 

 

The Bring Your Own Book game was my favorite find this year, so much so that I gave it to others.  I hope to play more of it.

 

 Blink are good. ...

 

I gave Blink to my husband as a Christmas gift.  We often play games on New Years Eve, so I'm hoping to play it tonight.

 

Played a gazillion rounds of Love Letter today. We loved it!

 

Thanks to whoever mentioned it. It was a last minute stocking stuffer.

 

That might have been me as we also like Love Letter.

 

Have you seen the other versions?  They all play roughly the same but have different themes ~  Munchkin Loot, the Hobbit, Archer, Letters to Santa, Adventure Time, Lovecraft Letter, Batman.

 

Thanks for starting this thread, happypamama!

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Escape Room: like the "real thing" that most people are familiar with. There are four "rooms". We did one last night. It was a LOT of fun! We finished and got the correct solution with about 5 minutes to spare. It was not easy (age 14+ i think it said). We had four (two adults and 15 and 17 yo dc) playing. Looking forward to another round. They get progressively harder. Not cheap considering you only have four hours of play, lol, but you can purchase expansion packs that use the "equipment" so I'm assuming they're a bit less expensive.

 

 

So which version did you get?  We got Dr. Gravely's, we had a lot of fun with it but DS said the actual room was harder than the game.  Took the box to Christmas for my sisters and niece and nephews to play.  They didn't enjoy it as much as we did,  they go frustrated because most of the puzzles only one person could work on at a time and slowly they drifted away.  My sister she would play that type again but would prefer to do it solo rather than as a group.

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My husband and I played several games last night to celebrate the New Year.  We were in the midst of a game when we heard much hoopla and realized that midnight had arrived.

 

We enjoyed our new game BLINK and found it a quick game indeed. 

 

We also played some two player games that were in our game cupboard ~

 

WORD SPOT  (this is easy to begin playing)

 

Morels (this one requires some time to learn how to play)

 

(Note: I see there is an expansion set that makes the game usable by two to four players: Morels Foray;  there is also a European version of Morels called Fungi Board Game which is less expensive than Morels.)

 

Regards,

Kareni

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We played CLANK last night. It's complicated and took forever, but, lots of fun.    My 7 and 9 year olds played just fine- the 9 year old won.

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I know this is an old thread, but thought I would bump since it is that time of year!

Our kids really enjoy Splendor, Dominion, Forbidden Island, and Dragonwood for our gamers.   Quiddler, Sleeping Queens, Bad Beets, and Brain Games the board game for our nongamers

Gloom, and Magic the board game got a meh, but they liked the art

They also like the classics, Sorry, Monopoly, Life and Scrabble

With there being 8 of us, there are very few games that all 8 of us like, but we got Bubbletalk and enjoyed it. Kind of on the lines of Apples to Apples. We also like Bring your Own Book.

Edited by saraha
added more info
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