Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The year’s best new easy-to-learn, fun-to-play children’s board games

By Amy Kraft | February 17, 2010 | Z Recommends

The year’s best new easy-to-learn, fun-to-play children’s board games
When working my way through the sea of board games offered at the 2010 Toy Fair this week, my philosophy is simple: If you can't explain it to me in 30 seconds, it's too complicated for my kid. With the best game design, gameplay should be easily learned and intuitive, but most of all, fun. Here are some of the best that I found.

Gobblet Gobblers (Blue Orange Games): It's a cross between tic-tac-toe and Blue Orange's hit game Gobblet. You need to get three in a row, but bigger pieces can gobble up the smaller ones. | $20,

Tsuro (Calliope Games): Place one card at a time to create your path to the center of the board, making sure your path never takes you off the board. $26,

Name 5 (Endless Games): Can you name 5 TV Dads? How about 5 pizza toppings? Female rap artists? Mollusks? Work your way around the board, and rattle off lists of five as you go.

Destruct 3 (Uncle Skunkle Toys): Build up pieces and then find the most efficient way to knock them down, with the catapult, pendulum, or ramp. This board is so lovingly crafted your family will be playing it for a long, long time. | $45,

Stop 'N Go (Talicor): In this speedy card game, place your cards as fast as you can by matching the color on your card to any player's discard pile, strategically using special cards along the way.

Kewbz (Family Games): Place your colored blocks to form corners on the board, trying to be the last person to place a block on a 5-block tower.

Blockers (Briarpatch): Place your tiles on the board according to their number, letter, or symbol as you try to create the fewest clusters of blocks of your color.

Zenith (MindWare Games): Place your colored tiles on the board in either an empty space or on a cluster of triangles where one has the same color as the tile you’re trying to place. Here’s a demo from game creator, Nicholas Cravotta:

Zenith has an MSRP of $30 and is on sale for about $25 on

In other fun gaming news, Lego has announced that they will begin distributing ten Lego-based kids' games in the U.S. Lego has been selling games in Europe for over a decade, and their current offerings there look like a lot of fun. Word is they'll start distributing these games in the U.S. this summer.

Amy Kraft is an independent kids' media producer and publishes Media Macaroni. You can read her previous dispatches from the 2010 Toy Fair here and here.

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