Bananagrams! This is another new and welcome addition to the games cabinet. I’d never played before, and have thoroughly enjoyed doing so, both with Isak and alone. Possibly the lovechild of scrabble and boggle… you race to build words crossword-style, the goal being to use all your letters as quickly as possible, and you’re free to change any previous words mid-game.
I do love the word games. I like the flexibility of play and the portability of this one too. I gather you can even play with scrabble pieces, but who can resist a zip up banana?
For slightly younger players they have other fruity and fun games such as Appleletters (where you build onto the front and end of a word), and Pairs in Pears (rhyming/fill in the blank).
Warning: This game may inspire 7-year-olds to tell terribly redundant knock-knock jokes. Repeatedly. Still worth it though.
Operation: Star Wars edition
This was one of the games under the Christmas tree this year – how fun! Instead of “Sam”; that somewhat creepy light-up nose guy from the 60’s, you’re doing ‘bot surgery on R2D2 & C3PO. Still unnerving, an entertaining test of manual dexterity, the sound effects are great, and most of all… it’s fun!
One question I’ve had answered since playing in this century: “Since there will be times when the player drawing a certain Doctor card also holds the matching Specialist card, that player can purposely botch the first attempt in order to succeed on the second try for double value.”
Another interesting fact: “In the US version of the game, the winner is the player with the most money after all the pieces have been extracted. In the UK version, the winner is the player with the most successfully extracted pieces.”
Next… another fresh-from-beneath-the-tree selection: Bananagrams!
An honorable mention to a couple of games Isak played with his grandparents over the weekend… Probe, which was a leftover from when I was a kid and missing numerous pieces, so Isak and my mom made up their own crossword/scrabble type of game instead (we’ll try to find an intact version), and the Peter Rabbit Game, which he decided to play with my dad “for old time’s sake”.
A dear friend has also confessed that she’s ordered Bananagrams for us for Xmas, which should be great fun! Word games are a big hit lately.
I love, love, love Scrabble, and I’m not alone! We found another one of the long lost games boxes and had forgotten we had a great old-school travel Scrabble, which is great for keeping the pieces on the board when tiny fingers are around. We tend to share word ideas, but it’s great fun – we had our first go with this set (the first time Isak had played on a tangible board) over the weekend. Words are our friends!
Plus Scrabble is fantastic for honing those spelling and math skills.
We picked up a minty fresh Creationary game for $10 and finally had a chance to play over the weekend. It’s a bit like Pictionary (which I’d love to get as well), only with Lego instead of a pencil and paper. You roll the dice for a category, then try to build the picture on the card you’ve drawn while everyone else guesses what it is (or however you choose to play, there are multiple ways to change it up).
There are different levels of cards you can choose (to balance it out between players), and we had a lot of fun playing together, both following the cards and making up our own things. Sometimes it was a bit tricky with the pieces available and needing to build fairly quickly, but we laughed a lot. I don’t know that we would have gone the close to $45 they sell in in the store for here, but for a ten spot it’s a steal, even just for the pieces.
“It is a chicken? It’s a chicken. Is that a chicken? CHICKEN!”
Our newest board game addition is UpWords, which is a wonderful 3-D Scrabble game that Isak and I really enjoyed playing. It took longer than some of the other games, but was great for slipping on the linguistic thinking cap. We helped each other with ideas if we were stuck, and both give it a thumbs up, but you need to have a chunk of time to play, and it’s best if there aren’t tiny people around who might find the letters tasty.
We also found having the online Scrabble dictionary handy was helpful for word checks.
Thumbs up, big and small.
“The number of moves possible in any game of Jenga is dependent on the number of levels the game begins with. If the number of levels is expressed as “X”, the number of moves possible can be expressed as 6 × (X−2) + 2. Thus, for a standard game involving 54 blocks (18 levels), there are 98 total moves possible.”
We love Jenga!
This was a birthday present from me that we just opened. I hadn’t played for years and it was Isak’s first time, but we played over and over again, alternating wins. Again, a completely different flavor of game to add to the cupboard. I think M. will really like this one too, when he gets a chance to play with us.
Next up: Upwords! I grabbed this one last night, but we haven’t tried it yet.
“Pretty sneaky, sis…” (clatterclatterclatter)
We’ll count a vertical board too! I remember playing Connect 4 a lot as a kid. We picked up this mini version a while back, but I hadn’t played it myself in years. We had a handful of games over the long weekend. Great fun!
Motoring is a reproduction of a game published in 1933, a cute little dice rolling game with a fold out board and wee dice you roll to travel through the countryside towards the goal of a family picnic. Land on a red spot and read the corresponding event listed on the inside of the boxtop… decent, wonderfully portable, and appealingly vintage. Benign but charming (I guess it would be inappropriate to add a dot with psychotic hitch hikers or a Bonnie and Clyde car chase?).
We had our first three games yesterday – it made us want to make our own dice rolling game, which would be a good rainy day project.
Another freshly cracked hit! Residing in a purple brain box that doubles as a funny hat for the so inclined, Cranium Brain Breaks has a multitude of quick, fun, creative little games that had us laughing our heads off. Excellent for times when you don’t have much time (just go through a few cards) or keep going for hours if you want. It’s got a lot packed into a fairly small space. We went through a couple of dozen cards and had a blast.
“Enjoy the full cranium experience in instant, fast-paced fun anytime and anywhere. With more than 200 games that can be played in 60 seconds or less, families race to beat the timer using classic guessing, acting, sketching, sculpting and word-puzzling skills. A fifteen-minute break is enough to make family game night happen with cranium brain breaks. With years of experience getting families to hum, act, sculpt, draw and spell their way to victory, cranium is adding “snackable” fun to the family game night menu. Cranium brain breaks includes more than 200 individual games that can be played in 60 seconds or less. Bringing families the full cranium experience in just 15 minutes. Recommended age 8 and up. Players 2 or more.”