Tuesday, January 13, 2009

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things - Games Edition

OK, enough with the bitching. It's time for a post about things I *like*!!! This will be the Game Edition.

Of course, I like all of YOU. And, since I know that there are some of you out there who don't comment, I'm putting this baby up:C'mon, you know you wanna.

I am also loving that the kids are old enough to play real games now. We got several new ones / add-ons for old ones at Christmas, including The Settlers of Catan, Risk 2210AD, Battleground: Crossbows and Catapults and several expansion packs, the China and Madagascar expansion packs for the Xeko card game (we already have Indonesia), Wizardology: The Game, and Classic Parcheesi. Both kids love games, and even Patrick is now able to sit and play games that take up to an hour to play.

Risk takes approximately forever, and this one is very cool because the map depicts the world's layout 200 years from now, with continental shifts, country reorganization, and places that have been re-organized by flood. In addition, there is a map for the moon, and you can colonize it with your Rocket Man and armies! While it's not a great thing for teaching geography, it's really cool, and to be honest, I hadn't expected the kids to want to play it, anyway. DH had wanted it for Christmas, so I bought it for him thinking we'd play together and at dinner parties and stuff. It's awesome that the kids want to play, too! The last two nights, we're played while we've eaten dinner.

Wizardology takes about an hour to play, too, and that's once you know what you're doing. The first game takes longer. It's SO fun!!! The kids love that, too, because you're playing to collect magical objects, and you can steal from other people, cast spells, and go in all different directions. That was for Josie, and I got it for a steal at Target over the summer - $12 compared to the $25 on Amazon. In fact, it's such a hit that Josie is getting Patrick the Pirateology game for his birthday, which is tomorrow, so the package better get here today, since I paid for express shipping on THURSDAY, but I digress.

Settlers of Catan is mine, and we haven't played it yet, but I've been ogling it for years at the game kiosk at the mall. I wasn't going to buy it for $50, but it went on supersaver sale on Amazon before Xmas for $15, and I believe it's still on sale now, so hello, it's mine!!! It's on schedule for tonight, since we've done Risk two nights in a row.

Xeko is very cool. It's a card game where the animals are competing for resources, and is much like Magic for kids, with educational benefits. Each card tells about the animal, where it's from, what it likes to eat, etc, plus any special powers that the game credits it with (+2 attack, etc).

The Classic Parcheesi was on Patrick's Christmas list, which surprised me, since the picture on the front didn't have Star Wars, any kind of sword, or a cartoon on the cover. The box and board are beautiful, and the playing pieces are old-Hindu-design-looking animals. They're really, really pretty, no reading is needed. Josie learned the hard way that blocking the path (by putting two pieces on the same spot) until everyone is lined up behind her is a BAD IDEA, since that means not only is everyone mad at you, but they're all within a dice roll of landing on you and sending you home!

Also for Christmas, to Patrick from Josie, was Guess Who? Star Wars Edition, where two players each have a board with little flip-down tabs that have the characters on it from SW. Each person gets to ask one question and then eliminate characters on their board based on the answer until only one is left, revealing the answer of which character the opponent picked. There are a few editions of this game out, so if your kid isn't into SW, you can use someone else, but personally I think this one is better, since you get to ask whether the person is an alien, or if they have green skin, or if they have Bun Hair. I'm just sayin'.

Another game we all love and play all the time is Zooreka. We've had it for a few years, and Patrick has been playing on his own (rather than as a team with DH or I) for over a year now. It's not complicated, although at first it looks like it is, so young kids need to be on a team for at least the first couple of games. In that one, you are building a zoo, so you have to collect food, shelter and some other card that I can't remember now, and once you get enough, you trade them in for an animal for your zoo. In the meantime, you roll dice, bet on what other people will roll and win cards based on whether you're right or not (this is easy - you put your marker on the picture of the food, shelter or other thing and if the special die comes up on your picture, you get a card). The animals are cool, too - naked mole rats, sharks, elephants, penguins, etc.

We also play card games a lot. Sleeping Queens is great (this is easy for anyone over 4, and there's no reading required), and so is The Scrambled States of America, which has the added benefit of also being educational, yet pretty simple to get the hang of (Joshua can play this, but he can read, which is helpful in this game - really, I think it's better for 6+). Castle Keep requires only that you be able to recognize colors and basic design; you have to build a castle, and the cards have to be touching something that is similar in shape (pointy, curved or straight walls) or color. Another favorite is There's a Moose In The House, which I'm going to need to replace since in our moves we've lost too many cards to play it anymore. This one requires no reading, and our kids find the concept of a moose appearing in a bed, standing in a kitchen with it's rear hanging out of the fridge, or sitting in the bathtub absolutely hysterical.

These games have really brought home to me the benefit of not having any more babies in the house, or at least in having kids that are old enough to play cool games. We are no longer stuck on Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Apple-O or whatever it's called, and other things that made my brain ooze out my ears. By the time we're bored with the games, winter will be over, and it will be time to go outside, anyway.


LoriD said...

Except for Risk, I've never heard of any of these games! I'm taking note, though, because I love a good board game.

Lisa got two games for Christmas: The Game of Life and Cadoo. Both are very fun, I don't mind playing them at all. Bart got Junior Scrabble, which is good for the little guys on the "easy" side and good for Lisa on the "challenging" side. Something else Lisa got was Kids Charades. It's hilarious to watch their thought process as they act out simple words.

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

I haven't heard most of these games either! But I love Boggle, Cranium, Uno and Phase 10.

Cherish said...

We are only just now getting to a point where we can play the next stage of games. We have Zooreka and we love it! The other card has a paw print on it, but Im not sure what it is? Happy de-lurking day!

AndreAnna said...

Oooh, I can't wait for my kids to be old enough to play games!!

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard of these either (other than Risk). Very interesting!