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Our Best Board Games / Board Game Reviews
Board Games - Timeless Fun For Families
Board games have been around for a long time, and yet they are still going strong. Many of the best board games have been around for several decades, and yet remain popular, despite the shift to technological gadgets such as games consoles. As a family, playing board games is an excellent way to pass the time - it can even help to bond a family. Some of my fondest memories of childhood come from sitting round the lounge table, playing board games all together. After all, as the saying goes, 'Families that play together, stay together.' Wise words, and very true. And the great thing about board games is that all family members sit together, concentrating on the same task, in a relaxed and fun manner. And a bit of friendly competition in a fun, family environment is never a bad thing - despite the confusing messages children may receive at school these days, what with all the political correctness about how everyone has to be a winner. Board games are just like real life. Not everyone can be a winner all the time, and sometimes everyone, even children, will come last.
Our Best Board Games
This article is a collection of our best board games - meaning the board games that my family have loved the most. There are so many board games on the market that there are bound to be many available which other people consider should be on the list, but I have decided to write only about the games my own family have enjoyed. After all, I like to write honest articles, and I can only do that if I write from my own experience.
So what are our best board games? Well, I am going to start with a game that has been hiding in my parent's house for quite a number of years - in fact, it belonged to my sister who was first given it more than twenty years ago. Often, when we visit my parent's house we play this game, and the children enjoy it immensely. It is a game of memory, and can be played fairly quickly - in fact, you can adapt it to suit your own time requirements. The game is made by Ravensburger, and still available on Amazon. It is called:
Enchanted Forest is a delightful game. Basically, you have a set of cards which are set in the middle, with the top one turned over for all to see. On the board, trees are placed in the designated places, and under each tree is a picture of some treasure (one picture to match each card in the set). Everyone must search for the top card, by moving around the board at the roll of the dice, and sneaking a peak at the 'treasure' under any trees they land on. However, discovery of the matching picture should be kept a secret until it can be announced upon arrival at the castle. Anybody seen heading towards the castle should be treated with suspicion - but then, the card can always be changed if a double is rolled! The person who correctly identifies the most matching pictures is the winner.
Enchanted Forest is a really great game for families. It is fun, playing time is not too long, and it helps to boost the memory skills of your family. From around 6 years plus.
Pay Day is another favorite in our house. Like its name might suggest, Pay Day is all about making the most money. Basically, the winner is the player whose finances are in the best shape at the end of the game. Unlike Monopoly, however, Pay Day is a short game, which can be easily fitted in to a spare half an hour. And it can not be compared to Monopoly at all - Pay Day is a fun game in which players can receive money as a birthday gift, play the lottery (chances of winning are far higher than the real thing!) and receive unexpected bills that cripple your savings.
Pay Day is an excellent board game, recommended for families with children aged around 8 plus. It is a lighthearted approach to the world of finance and is made by Waddingtons, a company well known for designing some great family board games.
Tomb of Doom
I'm not sure that Tomb of Doom can correctly be labelled a board game, since it is more a sort of free-standing skull on top of a treasure chest type of structure. However, it is a family game, none-the-less, and immense fun for children. Basically, each player takes a turn to draw a card from the top of the pack, and if a challenge is drawn, then the player attempts the task. Success gives the player a chance to choose one of the eight keys to open the treasure chest - but if it is the wrong key then the sleeping skull suddenly wakes and reverts into a huge, rattly sounding laugh, whilst his eyes seem to roll about in his head. If it is the right key, the player chooses some treasure and you start again (the first to win three pieces is the overall winner). If it is the wrong key, the key goes back into its slot and the game continues.
Some of the challenges include the Challenge of the Eye, in which you must predict which chute, out of a possible three, the 'eye' will choose when pushed from the top; and the challenge of the map, in which a player turns over two, from a possible four, pieces of map and hopes to match the pieces.
A great game, also encouraging memory skills, as you will have to remember which keys have already been selected. Tomb of Doom is advertised as suitable for children from 5 plus.
Clue / Cluedo
Called 'Clue' in America, and 'Cluedo' in the UK, this is surely one of the best board games ever. Clue is a Who Dunnit game - players work to discover the identity of the murderer, plus the weapon used and the room in which the deadly crime took place. It could even be you! Three unidentified cards are taken and placed safely away for the duration of the game - these three cards will reveal the details of the murder. The remainder of the cards are dealt between players. Players question other players upon entry into one of the rooms in the mansion, as to which cards they are holding - if a player holds a card then it is shown with discretion and eliminated from the suspect list. Only one card has to be shown, however.
Clue is a game ideal for older children - it is advertised as suitable from age 8 plus, but remains enjoyable to players of any age. Though it is another game that has been around for a generation, it has undergone a revamp in recent years but remains just as much fun as ever. You can also purchase a simplified version for younger children from 5 plus.
Is there anyone at all who hasn't heard of Monopoly? This property development game must be one of the most well known board games in the world - it has been around for more than 70 years now, yet is still going strong. Why? Perhaps it is the excitement of building our own empires that keep Monopoly right at the top of the best board game charts. After all, property investment has always been big business, and gaining a monopoly over all the other players just makes you feel good! Of course, it doesn't always turn out right - but in Monopoly, as in life, you have to take a gamble.
A great game, although the playing time can be long sometimes. And recently there have been several new editions to the original - Monopoly The Simpsons Electronic is a fun version, very apt for the modern age. It even comes with credit cards instead of cash. There is also an electronic version more comparable to the original. Other new versions are Monopoly Here and Now World - a global edition in which players can travel around the world building empires in different countries. in Monopoly City, players can create their very own city using 3D buildings such as skyscrapers and stadiums. Whichever version you decide upon, Monopoly is a much loved game and certainly seems to be sticking around.
As with Clue, there is a junior version of Monopoly, suitable for younger children.
Guess Who? is another excellent game, although only two players can participate at any one time. The aim of the game is to guess the identity of the other player's card (one of numerous characters that appear on the board) by asking questions in order to eliminate all the others. You can ask questions such as 'Is your person a girl?' or 'Does your person have a hat on?' This is a good game for children age 6 plus, and it teaches the art of skillful questioning and logical thinking. Guess Who? was a game we had in our house when I was a young child, just as my children have it today.
I had this game when I was a child and I absolutely loved it. An entertaining detective game, Scotland Yard is more suitable for older children. One player is chosen to be the unscrupulous Mr X, all other players are detectives. The scene for the game is the city of London; the aim is for the detectives to catch Mr X. However, as the shady Mr X moves around central London by means of taxi, bus or tube, he cannot actually be seen as he does not have a counter. Instead, Mr X must record his position in the log book after each move, and only at certain points within the game is his position revealed. The winner of the game is the detective who uses his skills to occupy the same spot at Mr X, but if Mr X succeeds in making 24 moves without being caught, then Mr X is the winner. Another great game by Ravensburger.
All Families Should Play Board Games
Family board games are great for digging out on a rainy day, or on a relaxing weekend evening. Families who partake in activities together remain closer, and laughter and lighthearted fun are two of the best ingredients for a happy home. I think all families should play board games together - as I mentioned before, my memories of playing board games throughout my childhood are some of the best I have.