A timely roll of the dice – 10 games to keep you sane

Posted 4/1/20

Maybe there’s something serendipitous about the timing of the board and card game golden age that has been occurring for the last few years. As families have been looking for ways to step away …

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A timely roll of the dice – 10 games to keep you sane


Maybe there’s something serendipitous about the timing of the board and card game golden age that has been occurring for the last few years. As families have been looking for ways to step away from small screens and look each other in the eye, dozens of games have been released each of the last few years to meet the growing demand. Here are ten that are easy to learn and can help pass the time with family and friends – whether you’re social distancing or not.

Kingdomino – Inspired by the classic Dominoes game and resource-gathering strategy games, this game has players place tiles in a certain order to maximize the resources they have once all of the tiles are used. Simply put – whomever has the most crowns in the land at the end of the day wins. Published by Blue Orange, this game is appropriate for ages 8 and up and accommodates two to four players. Retail cost without expansion is under $20 plus tax.

Quiddler – This simple word game uses hands of cards that increase in size over eight consecutive rounds. Players take the cards which have calligraphy letters and point values for each letter to form words, similar to scrabble. The first hand starts with three cards while the eighth hand has ten cards. Whomever has the highest point total at the end of the game, wins it and can be declared the biggest word nerd – optional rule, there. Set Game publishes this card game which can support two to ten players and games take about 35 minutes. Cost is $9-$14 plus tax depending on the vendor.

Fox in the Forest – This card strategy game has players collecting tricks similarly to Bridge or Boston and players get points for the number of tricks one, but be careful – if a player gets too many tricks, they may lose points. Cards are illustrated and have special effects such as whenever someone loses a trick, they may be able to play a card that allows them to play first in the next round. This game is published by Foxtrot Games and Renegade Game Studios and retails for about $15 plus tax. Fox in the forest takes about 30 minutes to play on average and supports two players.

Exploding Kittens – This game is very similar to uno with perhaps a bit more sense of humor. Players take turns drawing cards hoping not to draw the Exploding Kitten card. The cards they draw allow them to keep the kitten from exploding or transferring the explosion to another player. Parents are warned that there are two versions of this game – one is family-friendly while the other has some adult humor that parents may find inappropriate. This game, published by Exploding Kittens, Inc. and supports two to five players. Games take about 15 minutes to play. This game retails for about $16 plus tax.

Dungeon Mayhem – This strategy card game – inspired by the fifth edition of the “Dungeons and Dragons” roleplaying game – lets players take on the role of a barbarian, wizard, paladin or rogue in a free for all mock combat. Players start with ten hit points and use cards to attack, defend, cast spells and find treasures such as healing potions. Published by Wizards of the Coast, this game can support two to four players and each game lasts about 15 minutes. The game retails for about $15 plus tax.

Blockus – This game features a grid with tiles that players fill with their own brightly-colored pieces. The object is to place as many pieces of the player’s color on the board as possible while blocking opponent’s placement of their pieces. Each player’s color must only touch at the corner of another like color. The game ends when no more pieces can be placed and the player with the fewest number of pieces in-hand wins. Blockius is published by Mattel Games and retails for about $25 plus tax depending on the edition purchased. Games often take less than ten minutes. This game is recommended for ages seven and up.

Bananagrams – Imagine if “Scrabble” were a race and instead of counting points, players counted the number of words they could make before any player ran out of tiles. That’s “Bananagrams. Once a player uses all of their tiles, they shout “peel” and all the players draw new letters. A fun, educational game for one to eight players ages seven and older, this game is published by Imagination Gaming and takes about 15 to 30 minutes to play, depending on group size. The game retails for about $18 plus tax.

Mysterium – This title has two to seven players working together to solve a mystery. Everyone wins if the mystery is solved – but everyone loses if the bad guys get away. One player tries to lead the others – all psychic investigators – to the culprit. Clues are revieled each night, but will that lead to the murder weapon and the location and identity of the killer? Only the players will find out. This game is recommended for two to seven players ages ten and older. Games take about 45 minutes and the game is published by Libellud.

Adrenaline – Having a hard time getting the kids away from the video games? Maybe try this first-person shooter board games. The same fun of picking up weapons and equipment and blasting opponents, but with friends and family in-person rather than a glowing monitor. The game takes about 15 minutes to learn and games last about an hour. Expansions for the game are available and the core game costs about $43 plus tax. The core game, which is published by Czech Games Edition, supports three to five players ages 14 and older.

Dungeon – Want to play “Dungeons and Dragons” but don’t have the time? This board game version allows players to go dungeon crawling. Players move their character tokens throughout the dungeon to fight monsters and take their treasure. Once a player collects a certain amount of treasure based upon their character’s class – that player wins. This game, published by Wizards of the Coast, a Hasbro company, is appropriate for ages 13 and older and takes 45 minutes to an hour to play.


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