Published on November 23rd, 2008 | by Greg0
Board Games o’ Plenty: Out of the Box
We'll be taking a break shortly for Thanksgiving, but before we do, we wanted to share the results of our month-long gaming marathon. Fought nightly in between testing other items, we looked at around a dozen board games, most of them pretty new. Some of them are aimed at families, others at groups, and a few of them at more specific audiences- but almost any of them would make a good gift for the appropriate person, because pretty much all of them were fun!
Next up is Out of the Box Games, who sent us three varied games to try. The smallest, simplest, and cheapest ($20) of them was Whad'ya Know?, based on the public radio (NPR) show with Michael Feldman. You don't have to like the show to enjoy the game, but it does help! A party game in the vein of Wit and Wagers, it includes a bobblehead figure that seemed a bit extraneous, but that resides in the hands of the "host" player. Two players are contestants, and the rest of the group (works best with more than one) make up the "audience", who try and convince the contestants that they know the correct answer. The humor is in the difficult and interesting questions, but the real fun is from the audience's persuasion techniques (and a good host, if you can find one). It doesn't work as a general trivia game, but is fun as a party game, and capable of handling pretty large groups.
Squint is another party game, but this time aimed at visual fun. Included are 72 cards with odd shapes on them, and players alternate using the shape cards to create a picture of their assignment, given from the deck of 168 Squint cards. Three to eight people can play, and it works pretty well for older kids, but the real fun is with adults (who may be tempted to make up some of their own cards). Fast, easy to learn, and with plenty of replayability, this is a game to satisfy those who like Pictionary but can't actually draw. The restrictions actually increase the fun quite a bit, and really bring out some creativity from folks who may be shy about their artistic side.
Cineplexity offers, yes, a party game aimed at movie fans. This isn't a trivia game at its core, but challenges players to name a movie that includes elements from two different cards. One of them may have a genre listed, or setting, or scenes, or characters, and players race to be the first to come up with a movie that fits both. Some combinations (many of them) are pretty tricky, and breadth of knowledge is much more important than depth. The trickiest part is that someone needs to judge the answers, and as often as not, the judge may not know the movie in question… The cards are easy to read, and in the right crowd can be pretty fun, but definitely isn't for everyone. And like the above games, replayability is definitely there, but the games wouldn't work well for a younger audience. Both Squint and Cineplexity are $25, and all OTB are available online and in many shops.