2012 Gift Ideas

Small and travel games

Timeline:Inventions -  a card game played using 109 cards. Each card depicts an invention on both sides, with the year in which that invention was created on only one side. Players take turns placing a card from their hand in a row on the table. After placing the card, the player reveals the date on it. If the card was placed correctly with the date in chronological order with all other cards on the table, the card stays in place; otherwise the card is removed from play and the player takes another card from the deck. The first player to get rid of all his cards by placing them correctly wins. Timeline: Inventions can be combined with any other title in the Timeline series.

Rory’s Story Cubes - Each jumbo 1″ cube has 6 images or icons, with a total of 54 all-different hand-inlaid images that can be mixed in over 10 million ways. You roll all 9 cubes to generate 9 random images and then use these to invent a story that starts with “Once upon time…” and uses all 9 elements as part of your narrative.Play it as a game for one or more players, or as a party game for three or more. Or play it as an improv game where each player contributes part of the story, picking up where the last one left off. Win award points for speedy delivery, inventiveness, imagination, drama and humor. Full instructions include several other ways to use the cubes to solve problems, break up writer’s block, enhance your imagination and heighten your ability to find unifying themes among the diverse images. Interpret or get at the meanings of your answers more quickly. It’s fun, easy, and mind-stretching.

Games for young children

Spot It! is a simple pattern recognition game in which players try to find an image shown on two cards.Each card in Spot It! features eight different symbols, with the symbols varying in size from one card to the next. Any two cards have exactly one symbol in common. For the basic Spot It! game, reveal one card, then another. Whoever spots the symbol in common on both cards claims the first card, then another card is revealed for players to search, and so on. Whoever has collected the most cards when the 55-card deck runs out wins! Rules for five different games – each an observation game with a speed element – are included with Spot It!, with the first player to find a match either gaining or getting rid of a card. Multiple versions of Spot It! have been published, with the game’s theme ranging from Halloween to hockey to baseball.

Animal Upon Animal - The animals want to show how good they are at making tall pyramids! They must be skillfully careful: Who will position the penguin on top of the crocodile, the sheep on top of the penguin, the serpent on the sheep? The hedgehog wants to stand on top of the pyramid but the height is making him dizzy.Tier auf Tier (a.k.a. Animal Upon Animal, Pyramide d’animaux, and Dier op dier) is a simple stacking game, listed for ages 4-99, with 29 cute wooden animals.

Party Games

Wits & WagersTrivia for People Who Don’t Know Stuff Not a trivia buff? It doesn’t matter! Each player writes a guess to a question such as “In what year did the bikini swimsuit makes its first appearance?” or “How many feet wide is an NFL football field?” and places it face-up on the betting mat. Think you know the answer? Bet on your guess. Think you know who the experts are? Bet on their guess. The closest answer pays out according to the odds on the betting mat. Strike it big and you’ll be cheering like you just hit the jackpot! Wits & Wagers is a trivia game that lets you bet on anyone’s answer. So you can win by making educated guesses, by playing the odds, or by knowing the interests of your friends. It can be taught in 2 minutes, played in 25 minutes, and accommodates up to 20 people in teams.

Say Anything - a light-hearted game about what you and your friends think. It gives you the chance to settle questions that have been hotly debated for centuries. For instance, “What is the most overrated band of all time?” or “Which celebrity would be the most fun to hang out with for a day?” So dig deep into your heart or just come up with something witty – this is your chance to Say Anything!

Family Games

Tsuro-of-the-Seas_1Tsuro of the Seas - The basic game play of Tsuro of the Seas resembles that of Tom McMurchie’s Tsuro: Players each have a ship that they want to sail — that is, keep on the game board — as long as possible. Whoever stays on the board the longest wins the game.Each turn players add “wake” tiles to the 7×7 game board; each tile has two “wake connections” on each edge, and as the tiles are placed on the board, they create a connected network of paths. If a wake is placed in front of a ship, that ship then sails to the end of the wake. If the ship goes off the board, that player is out of the game. What’s new in Tsuro of the Seas are daikaiju tiles, representing sea monsters and other creatures of the deep. On the active player’s turn, he rolls two six-sided dice; on a sum of 6, 7, or 8, the daikaiju will move, while on any other sum they’ll stay in place. To determine which direction the daikaiju tiles move, the player then rolls one die. On 1-5, the tile either rotates or moves in a specific direction. On a 6, a new daikaiju tile is added to the board. If a daikaiju tile hits a wake tile, a ship, or another daikaiju tile, the object hit is removed from the game. Another way to be ousted! The more daikaiju tiles on the game board, the faster players will find themselves trying to breathe water…

Word on the Street - In Word on the Street, players – either individually or in teams – try to claim letter tiles from the game board. To set up the game, seventeen letter tiles (all the consonants in English other than j, q, x, and z) are placed in a strip down the center of the game board – the median strip of the street, if you will, which has two “traffic lanes” on either side of it. On a turn, one team is presented with a category such as “types of fruit” or “something a player is wearing”, and that team has thirty seconds to come up with an answer in that category, then move the letters in that word toward their side of the game board. Any letters in the word that are not on the game board are skipped. If the answer were “pineapple”, for example, the team would move P, N, P, P and L. If a team moves a letter off the game board, it has claimed that letter and that tile will not move for the remainder of the game. The first team to claim eight letter tiles wins!

2-Player games

Lost Cities - Lost Cities is a card game whose object is to mount profitable expeditions to one or more of the five different lost cities. Card play is straightforward, with a few agonizing moments sprinkled through what is mostly a fast-moving game. If you start a given expedition, you’d better make some progress in it, or it’ll score you negative points. If you can make a lot of progress, you’ll score quite well. After three rounds, the highest total score takes the day.
Hive - Hive is a highly addictive strategic game for two players that is not restricted by a board and can be played anywhere on any flat surface. Hive is made up of twenty two pieces, eleven black and eleven white, resembling a variety of creatures each with a unique way of moving.With no setting up to do, the game begins when the first piece is placed down. As the subsequent pieces are placed this forms a pattern that becomes the playing surface (the pieces themselves become the board). Unlike other such games, the pieces are never eliminated and not all have to be played. The object of the game is to totally surround your opponent’s queen, while at the same time trying to block your opponent from doing likewise to your queen. The player to totally surround his opponent’s queen wins the game. Hive contains 22 pieces in total, with 11 pieces per player: 1x Queen Bee (Yellow-Gold) 2x Spiders (Brown) 2x Beetles (Purple) 3x Grasshoppers (Green) 3x Soldier Ants (Blue)

Josh’s top two:

Josh is the typical “oh – shiny thing” distracted player when it comes to gaming, and enjoys nothing more than ‘discovering’ new games. That being said, his two picks for favorites this year are both new releases:

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful Rebel X-wings and nimble Imperial TIE fighters, facing them against each other in fast-paced space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, the X-Wing Miniatures Game recreates exciting Star Wars space combat throughout its several included scenarios. Select your crew, plan your maneuvers, and complete your mission! Whatever your chosen vessel, the rules of X-Wing facilitate fast and visceral game play that puts you in the middle of Star Wars fiercest firefights. Each ship type has its own unique piloting dial, which is used to secretly select a speed and maneuver each turn. After planning maneuvers, each ship’s dial is revealed and executed (starting with the lowest skilled pilot). So whether you rush headlong toward your enemy showering his forward deflectors in laser fire, or dance away from him as you attempt to acquire a targeting lock, you’ll be in total control throughout all the tense dogfighting action. Star Wars: X-Wing features (three) unique missions, and each has its own set of victory conditions and special rules; with such a broad selection of missions, only clever and versatile pilots employing a range of tactics will emerge victorious. What’s more, no mission will ever play the same way twice, thanks to a range of customization options, varied maneuvers, and possible combat outcomes. Damage, for example, is determined through dice and applied in the form of a shuffled Damage Deck. For some hits your fighter sustains, you’ll draw a card that assigns a special handicap. Was your targeting computer damaged, affecting your ability to acquire a lock on the enemy? Perhaps an ill-timed weapon malfunction will limit your offensive capabilities. Or worse yet, your pilot could be injured, compromising his ability to focus on the life-and-death struggle in which he is engaged… The Star Wars: X-Wing starter set includes everything you need to begin your battles, such as scenarios, cards, and fully assembled and painted ships. What’s more, Star Wars: X-Wing’s quick-to-learn rule set establishes the foundation for a system that can be expanded with your favorite ships and characters from the Star Wars universe.

Mice and Mystics


In Mice and Mystics players take on the roles of those still loyal to the king – but to escape the clutches of Vanestra, they have been turned into mice! Play as cunning field mice who must race through a castle now twenty times larger than before. The castle would be a dangerous place with Vanestra’s minions in control, but now countless other terrors also await heroes who are but the size of figs. Play as nimble Prince Colin and fence your way past your foes, or try Nez Bellows, the burly smith. Confound your foes as the wizened old mouse Maginos, or protect your companions as Tilda, the castle’s former healer. Every player will have a vital role in the quest to warn the king, and it will take careful planning to find Vanestra’s weakness and defeat her. Mice and Mystics is a cooperative adventure game in which the players work together to save an imperiled kingdom. They will face countless adversaries such as rats, cockroaches, and spiders, and of course the greatest of all horrors: the castle’s housecat, Brodie. Mice and Mystics is a boldly innovative game that thrusts players into an ever-changing, interactive environment, and features a rich storyline that the players help create as they play the game. The Cheese System allows players to hoard the crumbs of precious cheese they find on their journey, and use it to bolster their mice with grandiose new abilities and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Mice and Mystics will provide any group of friends with an unforgettable adventure they will be talking about for years to come – assuming they can all squeak by…

Eric’s Top Two

Eric works too hard – and as such, values his gaming time as preciousssss. In that regard, his two favorites are both excellent games. They are very easy to teach to new players, have a large replay value and are quick to play through.

7 Wonders

7 Wonders lasts three ages. In each age, players receive seven cards from a particular deck, choose one of those cards, then pass the remainder to an adjacent player, as in Fairy Tale or a Magic: the Gathering booster draft. Players reveal their cards simultaneously, paying resources if needed or collecting resources or interacting with other players in various ways. Each player then chooses another card from the deck they were passed, and the process repeats until players have six cards in play from that age. After three ages, the game ends.

In essence 7 Wonders is a card development game along the lines of Race for the Galaxy or Dominion. Some cards have immediate effects, while others provide bonuses or upgrades later in the game. Some cards provide discounts on future purchases. Some provide military strength to overpower your neighbors and others give nothing but victory points. Unlike Magic or Fairy Tale, however, each card is played immediately after being drafted, so you’ll know which cards your neighbor is receiving and how his choices might affect what you’ve already built up. Cards are passed left-right-left over the three ages, so you need to keep an eye on the neighbors in both directions.

Ascension

Ascension is a fast paced deckbuilding game designed by Magic Pro Tour champions Justin Gary, Rob Dougherty, and Brian Kibler, with artwork by Eric Sabee. Ascension is a deck-building game where players spend Runes to acquire more powerful cards for their deck. It offers a dynamic play experience where players have to react and adjust their strategy accordingly.

Gameplay is similar to other deckbuilding games, with the player adding cards to their deck by purchasing them from a central deck, which has the top six cards revealed and available for purchase. When cards are removed, they are replaced with a new one from the top of the deck. Victory points are earned in three ways: firstly, each card purchased is worth one or more victory points; second, victory points can be gained by defeating monsters with a power resource featured on several of the cards; finally, some cards give victory points directly each time they are played

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