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Family Games for Family Fun

If you're looking for family fun, playing a game is a fine start. Our selections offer games of memory, matching, strategy, scavenging -- and old fashioned giggling.
Richard Scarry's Busytown Eye Found It! Game Richard Scarry's Busytown Eye Found It! Game
Ages: 3 & Up
Wonder Forge Inc., $16.99

The premise of the game is simple - players need to work together to make it to Picnic Island before Pig Will and Pig Won't eat all the food. Players take turns spinning to advance spaces on the board, solve a Goldbug Mystery or give up picnic dishes to the hungry pigs. The player who spins a Goldbug turns over a card to reveal an object that all players must locate on the game board. The board is filled with Busytown scenes that include one or more pictures of the object. When the timer starts, each player searches for as many of the objects as possible and uses their magnifying glass token to mark them. When time runs out, everyone adds up the number of magnifying glasses on the board and advances that number of bonus spaces. Although the game is designed for kids 3 and up, adults shouldn't assume that searching for objects is an easy task. Lots of small hammers, balloons, trashcans and other tiny objects are "hidden" within the scenes and finding them provides an entertaining challenge for all ages.

Cat in the Hat - I Can Do That! Cat in the Hat - I Can Do That!
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Wonder Forge Inc., $19.99

The high-energy game that combines balancing, jumping, sliding, giggling and more to celebrate your child's "I Can Do That!" attitude! The Cat in the Hat - I Can Do That! Game brings to life the beloved Dr. Seuss book giving kids a new and incredibly fun way to experience this classic Dr. Seuss story. 33 Activity Cards and 9 game pieces right out of the Cat in the Hat story by Dr. Seuss, including the Cake, Ball, Book, Fish, Gown, Fan, Rake, Toy Man, and Boat.Product Description

Cranium Hullabaloo Cranium Hullabaloo
Ages: 4 & Up
Cranium Inc. , $24.95

Kids listen closely and think fast as they bounce, twist, spin, high-five, and dance to the music, sounds, and friendly voice of Hullabaloo. Cranium Hullabaloo rewards quick thinking, cooperation, and creative problem-solving, so whether after school, at a birthday party, or even on a rainy day, Cranium Hullabaloo gives kids something to cheer about.

BOOM BLOX Bash Party BOOM BLOX Bash Party
Ages: 5 & Up
Electronic Arts, $39.99

If you loved the original title, Boom Blox, a 2008 Parents' Choice Gold Award winner that evolved from the creative collaboration of Steven Spielberg and Electronic Arts, you're going to be crazy in love with this sequel. And, yes, Spielberg was in on this, too. Players scrutinize each Jenga-type puzzle, tower, and structure looking for critical or vulnerable targets--the weak link that'll topple it totally--then aim and swing the Wii remote with a whip-like motion. That hurls bowling balls, blocks, slingshoted objects, bombs, cannonballs or paintballs to knock apart the blocks. There's even a new "virus ball" that can vaporize blocks with a viral chain reaction.

FlapDoodle FlapDoodle
Ages: 6 - 12 yrs.
Wiggity Bang Games, $19.95

Flapdoodle is a game of silliness. Players move toward the Flapdoodle Factory on the game board by drawing cards, performing the actions or feats designated on the cards, and advancing the number of spaces the cards indicate. "Mr. Sourface" cards send players backwards a few spaces or even all the way back to the start if the player cannot meet the challenge. Regular cards get the players to name colors, make toes talk to one another, turn fingers into worm dancers, or even wear socks on their hands.

Cranium Triple Triumph
Ages: 6 & Up
Cranium Inc. , $19.99

Lovers of abstract strategy games proved avid fans of this game. The challenge is to build a structure by matching and stacking 62 pyramids alongside of, or on top of, each other. Each side and each base of each pyramid is colored either purple or green. When placing pieces, adjacent sides must match in color.

FUNDOMINO FUNDOMINO
Ages: 6 & Up
Blue Orange Games, $19.99

The object is to be first to get rid of all your curved dominoes by connecting them to either end of the serpentine layout. The dominoes must match by color and must also fit directionally. Some have numerals; others are "action" tiles requiring a player either to draw a domino before taking his turn, to take a second turn, or a "wild" card which can be played next to any color.

Buzzword Junior Buzzword Junior
Ages: 7 & Up
PlayMonster, $19.99

A version of Buzzword that makes play accessible to a younger set, Buzzword Junior tests players on their word skills by giving teams 45 seconds to solve a set of clues where all of the answers must include the buzzword. This game is great for sharpening your vocabulary. Although the words you have to guess aren't very difficult, with less than a minute to make your guesses, you have to be able to call up those words quickly. It's an appealing game for the family; the clue words are simple enough that players of all ages can guess most of them using the buzzword as guidance.

Ruckus - The Game of Takes and Double-Takes Ruckus - The Game of Takes and Double-Takes
Ages: 7 & Up
Funstreet, Inc., $9.99

Accumulating sets is the aim of the game... it's holding onto them that's the trick! Each player is dealt seven cards, from which sets are quickly formed and placed face up on the table. Taking an opponent’s set is easy. Just place a matching card from your hand on top and slide the captured set in front of you. But beware: it’s not what you take, it’s what you keep that counts.

Cornerstone Cornerstone
Ages: 8 & Up
Good Company Games, LLC, $39.95

This challenging and attractive wooden game requires spatial awareness and careful observation. Each player has the same assortment of pieces made of alternating cubes of light and dark wood. In a turn, a player must add a piece to the construction, while maintaining the alternating pattern in 3 dimensions. Think of it as 3-D Blokus, with a touch of Jenga thrown in for good measure.

Make 'n Break Extreme
Ages: 8 & Up
Ravensburger, $29.99

A new dimension in building. Race against the clock using differently shaped building blocks to create totally unique structures. Each card shows a new combination to build - some easy and some tricky. Extreme cards bring a level of challenge and excitement. You'll need quick, steady hands for this fun family game. Product Description

One Up One Up
Ages: 8 & Up
Family Games Inc., $34.98

This is a commendable variation on four-in-a-row challenges. The playing pieces are ball bearings, each surrounded by a colored ring so players can identify their own four bearings as they slide them from square to square on the game board en route to the desired alignment. Two special features heighten the interest of this game. After each player has completed one move, a "counter" is moved up a notch to number 2, which means that each player now completes 2 moves (either moving one bearing two spaces, or 2 bearings 1 space each). The counter moves up an additional notch after each turn, until 10. The second feature is that players are not restricted to moving their own bearings; they can move another player's bearing if it will help their own strategy.

RUKSHUK - The Game of Rock Balancing RUKSHUK - The Game of Rock Balancing
Ages: 8 & Up
Zabazoo Corporation, $24.99

f block-balancing games are too bland, advance to this game of arranging irregularly-shaped rocks to replicate the pattern on one of the picture cards. It is best played by a group (up to 5); onlookers can amuse themselves by offering strategies from the sidelines.

Squint Junior Squint Junior
Ages: 8 & Up
Out of the Box Publishing, $16.99

Players build pictures with transparent cards, two inches square, each containing a shape that is a variation of a line, angle, circle, or curve. By combining several such cards, either side by side or overlapping at various angles, players create pictures as simple as a house, or as complex as waterskiing. A not-to-be-overlooked feature of Squint Junior is that it is one of the few games that can accommodate more than four players - up to eight, in fact.

Ticket to Ride Ticket to Ride
Ages: 8 & Up
Days of Wonder, $39.95

In this cross-country train adventure, players travel by rail on a beautifully laid-out game board map that shows train routes connecting major cities in the United States and Southern Canada. Players draw cards, attempting to collect enough of the same color "tracks" to "claim" any route of a matching color. Placing one's miniature colored train playing pieces on the tracks establishes one's ownership of the route. Points are scored in three ways: by claiming individual routes, completing a path of routes between twog more distant cities that match a "destination card," and completing the longest continuous path of routes.

YAMSLAM, Roll To Win! YAMSLAM, Roll To Win!
Ages: 8 & Up
Blue Orange Games, $19.99

Roll the dice, collect chips, and win if you have the right scoring combinations. The packaging is sleek, shaped like a playing field in which the dice can be tossed without flying all over. The chips that are earned for specific dice combinations are neatly stored in niches that show both the name of the combination and the number of points earned. Pictures of the scoring combinations are in the instruction book, as well as in miniature pictures around the outside of the metal game box.

Ruin
Ages: 10 & Up
Buffalo Games, Inc., $29.99

In Ruin, the object of the game is to be the first player to move your two pawns around the game board and up the stairs into Ah Kinchil's Treasure chamber. Players use a 20-sided die to advance their pieces, and have the chance to change the path around the game board with path cards, thus aiding their journey or creating a dead end path for their competition. Some of the game cards have secret stairways that players can use to advance quickly, but watch out! With players using new path cards, the board is never the same for long! Ruin is a great strategy game that appeals to kids and adults of all ages, from 7-77.


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