New games

Before I write about some of the new games we have, I wanted to share a photo from A.'s little skiing adventure.

This is the run that A. was coming down when she had the unfortunate meeting with the picnic table. This is about halfway down the run, so you can see there isn't a lot of room at the bottom. Did I mention this was a double black diamond? And did I also mention that this was A.'s first time skiing? She was doing pretty well, I'm told, until she reached the bottom and swerved to avoid another person. Since there wasn't a lot of maneuvering room, she hit the picnic table instead. She is doing just fine now, though her legs are a rather interesting purple color.

Now onto some of the games that were received this year. Three of them have been huge hits and have been played fairly constantly. The first is called FITS by Ravensburger. This is a Tetris-like game that can be played by one to four players. Each person has a sloped board and a set of variously shaped tiles. There are cards which match each of the shapes. When a card is turned over, the players fit that piece on their boards, trying to cover as much as possible. Unlike Tetris, there are four different playing boards which are used during a game and each have different combinations of things that should be covered or uncovered. Also alike Tetris, there is non of that speeding up that is so frustrating. A full game takes ~15 - 20 minutes to play, depending on how long people take to think.

The next game is Asara, also by Ravensburger. If you've played Ticket to Ride and enjoyed it, you will probably also like this one. In this game, each person is trying to build the most and highest towers by buying different tower pieces. TM particularly likes this game and was even wanting to play it over and over even though he wasn't winning. (A rather momentous event around here, I might add.) I was interested to read the reviews of it on Amazon and wondered if some of the commentors were playing the same game. The biggest complaint seemed to be that it was too difficult to figure out. Oh please. If an adult takes the time to read the directions through first, it is a fairly simple game to understand. Certainly not any more complicated than the original versions of Life or Clue. Of course, if you are unwilling to take the time to read instructions, then what can I say? I do know that I spent one full afternoon a few days ago playing three straight games of this with my children. I'd call that a good game.

The last is Carcassonne. This is a game I had read many, many rave reviews of, but had never got around to purchasing. When I was deciding which family game to buy for Christmas this year, I decided it was time. I was a little curious as to whether it would live up to the hype. I am happy to say that it is a very fun game. The basic idea is that you turn tiles over and place them on the board, matching up cities and roads as you go. In the process you are also placing little people on the various items on the map to earn points. This game has been played several times over the past few days as well. Eventually, we'll get good enough that we can add the river sections to it to make it more challenging.

If you are looking for a new game for your family, any of these are great fun. As far as age... both TM and D. have enjoyed all of them without any problem and they are 11 and 10 respectively. A younger child could probably manage the rules, but each of them requires a bit of strategic thinking which may prove a bit frustrating.

As you continue to enjoy the holidays, take some time to play some games with your family. In looking back over past posts, playing games is evidently something I write a lot about. Can't get enough? You can also take a look at these posts:

Game storage revisited
Grown-up game night
Game day
Games for the whole family


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