There's nothing worse than fidgety guests when you run out of small talk or hearing "we're bored" when the weather keeps your kids from going outside. That's why we've created honest game reviews of classic, new and unusual board games. Whether it's a traditional set for family bonding night or something edgy for when you have the girl's (or guys) over; we'll help you find the ideal game to keep everyone entertained.
Simply select the age range of the players in the left navigation or go by category like strategy, board or party to see honest video reviews of 1,000s of games. We'll even help you find the best price by showing you the cost per game at each of the major stores. It's never been easier to be prepared for those unexpected times when you need to have something fun for everyone and on the fly.
from Thames & Kosmos $39.95
from Hasbro $9.99
from Kidzgames, LLC $19.95
from Hasbro $19.99
from Blip Toys $34.99
from Cardinal $19.99
from Blip Toys $49.99
from Hasbro $14.99
from Mattel $34.99
from Smart Games $16.95
from Mattel $19.99
from Blip Toys $39.99
Some History on Games...And How To Find A Great One for Your Family
When you're shopping for games, there are several things you want to keep in mind. As with all toys, you want to know who you're shopping for including his or her interests and level of sophistication. Not all games will appeal to all people. For preschoolers, it's a safe bet that games featuring some of their favorite TV or movie characters will entertain them, and simple games that encourage understanding concepts such as taking turns and being a good loser (or winner).
Many games come in different versions, such as Monopoly that keeps getting updated with new tokens and other innovations. The gameplay doesn't change that much, so unless you're buying a collectible version based on movies like Star Wars or Star Trek, it's played the same way it's been for 70 years.
Whether for family or party entertainment, there are many options to choose from, all of which can create a lot of laughs, and won't break the bank.
Check out our full reviews of the games to see if they're right for you, and, of course, use the TTPM Price Check to find the best deals and where they're in stock online.
And then, get ready for some fun!
Great games endure from generation to generation. The history of Checkers and Chess, for instance are measured not in years but in millennia. Backgammon is reported to be more than 5,000 years old, which may explain why the pieces are called "stones," since that's what they probably were at the beginning. Playing cards, which were first created in China, date from the 14th century, and dice go back to the 24th century, BCE. Tops and Yo-Yos, though not traditional games, were among the playthings discovered when the pyramids were opened.
So, it's clear that games have been part of every human culture, including what are referred to as board games. In the modern world—say from the 19th Century till now—board games are an integral part of every culture, and many contemporary ones are played the world over. That's because there really is no play experience quite like a game. It's competitive. It's social. It's all about the people playing them. They are great family entertainment. Complete strangers can sit down across a table and instantly be engaged with one another.
Classic board games like Monopoly, Sorry, Clue, The Game of Life, and Trouble, to name just a few, are virtually unchanged from when they were first introduced. As we like to say at TTPM, a great game is:
- Easy to learn.
- Different depending on the people playing it.
- An experience people want to have again and again—and to share with others.
While every great game is different, there are some common types of games.
Traditional Board games include so-called "chase games" like Trouble or Parcheesi. (Parcheesi created a kind of cultural mania around the turn of the 20th Century.) Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land and many others fall into this category. They all have some similar elements. You're in a race to get to the end of a path, but there are twists and turns that may send you back to the start. These are great for intergenerational play because the primary component is luck, as a spinner or dice randomly determine the next moves.
Word games require a little more skill and a bigger vocabulary. Scrabble is easily the most recognized classic word game. It almost didn't make it when it was first introduced in 1949, but today it's sold around the world in many different languages. There are versions of Scrabble for younger kids, as well, aptly named Scrabble Junior. Boggle, and recently Bananagrams, a version of the classic game Anagrams, are all great. These are also good for players of different ages, as they can help younger people develop stronger vocabularies. But mostly, they're a lot of fun.
For a little more thinking, try a strategy game. These games requires you to think a few moves ahead, and essentially out-strategize your opponents. Checkers and Chess are probably the original games of this type that we know, but Othello, Stratego, Battleship and many others challenge minds of any age to think several moves ahead. Strategy games are also very popular for serious gamers, and many sophisticated titles from small companies have small, but intensely loyal followings.
Skill and action games are games that require some kind of manual dexterity—and a bit of luck. Many of these were developed by the renowned game designer Marvin Glass in the mid-1960s, but in recent years, there has been a resurgence of this type of game. Mouse Trap, Crazy Clock, Dynamite Shack, Tip-It, Don't Wake Daddy, Operation and so forth are just a few of the long list of games of this type. These are also good for players of varying ages, and they usually result in some kind of hilarious and controlled chaos.
Suspense games also experience a new level of popularity today. These are games that generally have some kind of mechanism that will randomly activate, indicating a loser or the person who is out. The hottest game in this category right now is Pie-Face, in which you may get pied with a dollop of whipped cream, which is, naturally, hilarious. That is, when it happens to your opponent. Other recent games in this category are Wet Head from Zing and Toilet Trouble from Hasbro. The fun of these games is always the anticipation that you might—or luckily might not—be on the receiving end of the joke. Classic games of this type include Time Bomb (a kind of hot potato game), Gooey Louie and Booby Trap.
Card games are also great for players of all ages. Uno, Skip-Bo, the classic Mille Bornes and many others are great games and have the advantage of being portable. Just tuck them in a bag, and you're ready to play wherever you are.
Finally, Party Games. While there are many for children like Apples to Apples, the big excitement has been in party games for adults. Probably the most popular party game of all time was Twister, introduced in 1966. Right in the middle of the "swinging sixties," the game got people all tangled up with one another. Today, we tend not to think of how revolutionary that was, but at the time, it definitely shattered barriers. After that, though, adult party games seemed to fade away, and people in the toy industry tended to think that they wouldn't be successful.
Well, that was until Trivial Pursuit came along. This global phenomenon sparked a whole new craze for party games. Pictionary, Out of Context, Taboo, and many more. Not always just for adults, these games provided family entertainment over many nights that was less expensive than movie tickets. Today, there's also a boom in games with a darker sense of humor that are more risqué and that are really only for adults, such as Cards Against Humanity and Exploding Kittens fall into this category.
You can see the best and most complete game reviews of the most popular new and classic games here on TTPM, so you can find the best ones for your family, and start having more fun!