Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tabletop Tuesday: Holiday Game Recommendations


Hello and welcome back to another Tabletop Tuesday!

Formerly a weekly post about tabletop gaming, Tabletop Tuesday has been resurrected as a biweekly series. New posts are published every other week. Previous posts can be found under the Tabletop Tuesday tag, also linked at the top of the page.

With the holidays fast approaching I thought it would be nice to take a break and focus on games that are family-friendly and have already been featured on this blog. My family always ends up playing games at the holidays, whether it's Grandma's favorite (Scrabble) or a new one I've picked up to share and blog about.

This post is a list of my five favorite family-friendly games, appropriate for a variety of ages and skill levels. All of these games are very portable, easy to slip into a backpack or tote to take with to Grandma's house. Some are competitive, others are cooperative. Whatever your play-style, I think these games are sure to please.

If you're in need of a gift recommendation or something to do with family or friends this Thanksgiving, hit the jump!


1. Dragonwood, by Gamewright



Game: Dragonwood
Manufacturer: Gamewright
Ages: 8+
Players: 2-4
Cost: about $15
Link to review

The first game I'm recommending is Dragonwood, by Gamewright. This game has quickly become one of my favorites. Combining simple strategy and basic math skills, this game is appropriate for a variety of ages. Because it is easy to learn I think this game is perfect for family gatherings where you don't want to take an hour to teach new players how to play.

Using cards and dice, players fight fantasy creatures to earn Victory Points, which are tallied at the end of the game. The mechanics of this game are simple, but depending on dice rolls, luck of the draw, and strategizing cards keeps things interesting for seasoned players.


2. Sushi Go!, by Gamewright



Game: Sushi Go!
Manufacturer: Gamewright
Ages: 8+
Players: 2-5
Price: about $15
Link to review

Sushi Go! is adorable and fun to play. This game uses cards and uses mechanics similar to rummy and other card games - the goal is to score points by collecting cards of different values and combinations.

Each game consists of three rounds, and at the end of the third round all the points are tallied and a winner is decided. To win points, players collect pieces of sushi from their hand of cards - but cards are passed frequently between players, so it is necessary to strategize which pieces you want to collect and how to best win points. This game is especially fun in groups of three or more players and is pretty easy to learn.


3. Munchkin, by Steve Jackson Games



Game: Munchkin
Manufacturer: Steve Jackson Games
Ages: 10+
Players: 3-6
Price: about $25
Link to review

Munchkin is a card game that advertises itself as a tabletop RPG without the character backstory and role-play. Players use cards to craft a character, giving them attack power through weapon and armor cards, or by adding races (elf, dwarf, halfling) or classes (rogue, warrior, cleric). With this combat power, the players fight monsters, gather treasure, and gain levels - and the first player to ten levels wins the game! This game is a lot of fun and is a little different every time you play - luck of the draw and ganging up on other players (buffs can be added to monsters to overpower other players) add to the replayability of Munchkin. The artwork and humor in the card text is also really amusing.

Munchkin is also available in a variety of themed decks - we even featured the zombie-themed version of this game during our zombie game series last month! The rules for these themed decks are very similar to the basic game.


4. Forbidden Island, by Gamewright



Game: Forbidden Island
Manufacturer: Gamewright
Ages: 10+
Players: 2-4
Price: about $15
Link to review

Forbidden Island is a coorperative game; players must work together to collect all four pieces of lost treasure and escape the sinking island before it floods! This game is pretty easy to learn/teach, and the difficulty can be changed using the flood meter. The board is randomly generated each game by shuffling the tiles and each player can randomly pick a character to play, giving them different abilities to help navigate the board - all of this contributes to the replayability of the game. And as a fan of Indiana Jones and similar adventure stories, I really enjoy the theming of this game.

If you're looking for more of a challenge, I also recommend Forbidden Desert! It has similar rules and goals, except the threat is a swirling sandstorm - the board changes more frequently, mitigating the piling sand is harder than combating the floods of the Forbidden Island, and the locations of resources can move.


5. Gloom, by Atlas Games



Game: Gloom
Manufacturer: Atlas Games
Ages: 13+
Players: 2-4
Price: about $25
Link to review

Gloom is a card game that focuses on scoring points and storytelling... with a macabre twist. Each player represents one of four families, and it is the player's goal to gain enough Pathos Points to... um... kill the family members off. Other players will try to combat this by adding happy points to those players. All the while, the players must construct narratives about what happens to their characters, leading to their untimely demise.

Gloom is easy to learn, requires basic addition skills, and seeing as how I'm recommending this for family holiday gatherings, I think it also requires a sense of humor. The artwork is delightfully gloomy, reminiscent of Masterpiece Mystery! on PBS, and the see-through cards are a neat feature of the game.


Do you enjoy playing tabletop games with your family and friends during the holidays? What are your favorites?






The Tabletop Tuesday series is a personal hobby - I did not receive any compensation for these reviews. 


Thank you for reading!

2 comments:

  1. I got to play GLOOM at ECCC and SUSHI GO at PAX. I ended up buying Sushi GO and I want to get GLOOM. GLOOM took me a bit to figure out how to play but it was loads of fun! And the art on both games are so great!!

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  2. I adore Sushi Go! I've definitely been wanting to play Dragonwood for awhile but I haven't gotten around to it. Hopefully, soon!

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