Best Family Games of 2016 so far

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Animals on Board

AoB

You are trying to get animals onto your ark, but some dude called Noah keeps taking all the pairs! At the end of the game all single animals (1 Giraffe) are worth their numbered value, if you have 3,4 or 5 of one animal type they are all worth the full 5 points. As previously mentioned though, if you only collect 2, Noah nabs them and you get nothing.
The game play is simple. On your turn you either split a group of animals and take a food crate or take one entire group of animals, paying one food per animal in that group and adding them to your Ark. Once you take animals you are out for the round, which ends once everyone but one player has taken animals, leaving the final player with one last action. Reform the remaining animals into one large group and replenish it to 10 and repeat, splitting or taking a group until one player fills their Ark with 10 animals. Most points wins.
Simple, but very deceptively tricky in regards to which animals to split apart and which to take. You may want to take a specific animal group, but you don’t want to leave those two Rhinos together when you know your opponent in collecting them. A great game for families and would be enjoyed by both kids and adults. A single game takes about 20 mins, it’s very reasonable priced and best with 3 or 4 players.

Karuba

karuba

HABA’s first entry in the family game market (traditionally they just release kids games). It’s an excellent little puzzle game in which you place tiles to try and connect your explorers to the respective temples via pathways.
Everyone sets up the game identically, with all the temples and explorers placed on the same spots on each player’s board. The 36 path tiles are all placed face up, except for one person who has them face down. They will now draw them one at a time, calling out the number on the tile. Players will either place the tile on their board, or discard it to move their explorer. These decisions will determine the players’ fates. Same set up, same order of tiles, but what you do with them is they key.
It’s a very quick 20 minute game, with lots of tough decisions. You never play it once, people always want a second crack at it to try and do better. It can be played with 8 years old and up, but adults will most likely beat them as the puzzle aspect can be quite tricky.

Costa Rica

CR

More exploring! This time in the jungles of Costa Rica, where you’re rescuing animals from the evil clutches of poachers. Players create a giant hex board made up of smaller hex tiles and place one of their 6 explorers at each of the corners of the board, forming groups that will move through the jungle. You are looking to collect sets of single types of animals as well as sets of one of each type of animal.
On their turn, a player will move a group of explorers containing one of their own guys one tile and flip it over to reveal the animals on it. They can claim all the tiles they have revealed or pass and let the first player to their left who is also in that group claim the tiles, or they can pass and so on. If no-one wants them, the group move on and reveal another tile repeating the claim process until someone take the tiles. They then remove their guy from the group and can no longer move it. The next player now picks a group to move and decides if they want the tile….keep going until all the explorers have been removed from the board. Some of the tiles contain mosquitoes, turn over two and your turn is over. Finally, the different land types have different probabilities of specific types of animals and mosquitoes, helping you decide where to move the group.
A great fun, push your luck style game. Easy to learn and very engaging, with lots of subtle strategies that reveal themselves to you as you play the game. Again, this would be no problem for an 8 year old and the luck aspect is a nice balancing agent when playing with adults.

Sushi Go Party

SGP

Sushi go, the pick and pass drafting game has been a mega-hit among people of all ages over the last few years. Now they have released the ‘Party’ version (its not that ‘partyish’ I’m afraid). It’s still Sushi Go, but now instead of just 11 types of Sushi, you have 22. However, you only play with 11 each game, allowing the game to stay a lot fresher (no-one likes old Sushi) than before. It’s an excellent update to the game, but does contain the original version in it, so if you already own the basic game, you are only getting 11 new Sushi.
This will be no problem for kids as young as 7. There are suggested setups for different levels of difficulty included in the rules.

Stockpile

SP

A game about insider trading on the Stock Market, what fun! Over the course of a set number of rounds, you are trying to get the most cash by investing in stocks. Each round each player secretly get to see how one company’s stock will perform (up, down or payout). Then some shares will become available to buy and players will bid on them. After that you can sell any number of share in turn order, then players reveal what is happening to the different stocks. If they go high enough, the shares double in quantity, but they can also go so low that they bust out and become completely worthless. You will try to read other players bids and sales to read how the shares will perform.
The game has three different levels of play, from a very basic version, right up to a one with very different types of stocks and player abilities.
The basic game can be played by 10 years and up and once they get comfortable with the rules, you can add in the extra knobs and bells. Its a lot of fun, with many screams of delight and pain as share double up or become utterly worthless. Highly recommended.

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