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Board Game Gift Guide 2013

Party Games

Party games are great icebreakers, family bonding experiences, and ways to pass the time with friends and loved ones.  These games may involve some loud noises, laughter, and memory making opportunities.

1.  Dixit (Dixit Odyssey)

Dixit isn’t a party game with lots of loud noises and crazy gestures, it is a story telling game where players listen, think and get to be creative.  There is still usually a lot of laughter and joking around the table.  I love the game and the artwork and want to play it any chance I get.  The cards in Dixit are beautiful and surreal.  The storyteller gives a clue about their card.  It can be a word, sound, phrase, statement, quote, movie title, poem, or so on as long as it describes the card.  The other players look at their cards and choose one that best goes wit the clue.  These are mixed together and placed in the numbered spaces on the scoreboard.

Players try to guess the storyteller’s card. When everyone has voted the players reveals their vote together. The storyteller reveals their card and the round is scored.  The trick is for the story teller to not be too obvious with their clue while at the same time not making it too difficult to guess. If all players pick the storyteller’s card or if no does, the storyteller scores no points. Each other player scores two points. For any other result, the storyteller scores three points. Every player who chooses the storytellers card scores three points as well. Any card that was voted for, scores one point for its own, to a maximum of three points.

I love the creativity and personalities that come out when you play Dixit.  I get to know more about the people I play with as they pick cards and give clues.  You also get to know who knows who the best when a player gives a clue that they know at least one player will understand, but probably no one else will.  It is a relaxing game where you can let your imagination run wild.

2.  Telestrations

Telestrations is another artistic game that reminds me of the game telephone and Pictionary put together.   The players are sketching a word chosen from a card within the time limit.  Then they pass the book to the next player who writes a guess as to what the picture is. The book is passed again and the player draws the word, the fourth player writes a guess again, the fifth draws a sketch, and the sixth writes the final guess hoping to match the original.  With fewer players you just play fewer rounds.

Young and old can enjoy the game and you don’t even need to worry about keeping score.  Like most party games it is about the experience and those funny moments that you never forget.  It is the unpredictable outcomes that make the game fun.

3.  Reverse Charades / Reverse Charades Jr.

I love Reverse Charades for its twist on a classic game.  Instead of one person acting and everyone else guessing, you reverse the roles: everyone acts while one person guesses.  Players get to work together to act out words like Merry-go-Round or Wedding.  It is hilarious to watch people slowly warm up to playing together to working together to act out the clues.  It is exciting to see a group silently scoring a touchdown with their teammates.

I also enjoy using this game in the classroom for either an icebreaker or even a vocabulary lesson.  Students look forward too it and ask for it all the time.  Adults can also feel more comfortable when they aren’t the only ones making a fool of themselves in front of the group.  There is also a junior version available but either version works well.  You can take out the more challenging cards from the regular version.

4.  Word on the Street / Word on the Street Jr.

Word on the Street can be played on teams or as a single player.  Players are trying to claim the tiles from the game board.  On the players turn they are given a category such as “something that stretches” and they must come up with a word that matches and then move the tiles in that word toward their side of the board.  If the letter isn’t on the board it is skipped.  If the team is able to move a letter off of the board it is theirs.  The first team to move 8 letters off the board wins.

The game is simple, but requires some thinking and spelling ability.  It is fun to watch the tug of war over the letters as players compete to win.  Because you play as teams even younger players can enjoy the game.  They may be the ones to give the word while the older sibling gets to spell it out for them.  The junior version includes all the letters of the alphabet.

5.  Wits & Wagers Family

Wits and Wagers is a game of guessing and numbers.  The family version is geared more towards family play so that is why I would recommend it over the original version.  Also the “gambling” element is removed.  In Wits and Wagers Family, players are asked a question, they write their guess down (don’t worry if you aren’t right) and then put them on the table from smallest to largest.

Everyone then places their Meeples on the answers they think are correct.  Players get points for placing the meeples on the correct answers and by getting the correct answer.  The first player with 15 points wins.

This is a fun trivia game where you don’t have to know the answer to enjoy the game.  Children may be better at some questions than they adults in this game!

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