Gaming 2381

Published on November 23rd, 2008 | by Greg


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.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Appleā€™s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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