Top Picks for 2013: Best New Family GamesJoslyn Gray
I love me some family game night. Sure, we play plenty of video games, too, but board games are really the thing for getting our whole family to the table together. Our family plays a lot of Hedbandz, Apples to Apples Jr., and Uno, but we’re always up for a new addition to our supply of games.
I saw tons of new family games at the 2013 American International Toy Fair in New York City. The ones that made the cut for this list were well-made, well-executed games that I think will be played again and again.
As for price, any one of these games is far cheaper than taking our family of six out to the movies for one night.
Another factor that garnered points from me is the ability to include kids of a variety of ages. The cards in American Trivia: Family Edition have both “junior” and “expert” questions to keep things fair and fun for everyone. Family Scavenger Hunt also has cards for adults and kids.
I also found some very cool puzzles designed for families to do together, with small, medium, and large pieces making up different sections of the puzzle. These are a great option not just for families with young kids, but also for families with anyone with dexterity difficulties or vision impairment.
Some of my picks are available now, and some won’t be out until later this year. Happy playing!
Top Picks for 2013: Best New Family Games 1 of 13Click the arrow to scroll through my picks for the top twelve new family games for 2013!
Family Dinner Box of Questions 2 of 13If your dinner table conversations are getting a little stale, break out this great game of questions. Strengthen family bonds with questions that get, and keep, the conversation going. Eighty-two thought-provoking questions encourage family members to share thoughts, experiences and memories.
Age 6 and up. Available from Melissa and Doug, $9.99.
Family Scavenger Hunt 3 of 13My kids loooooove scavenger hunts, but I'm not always in the mood to create them from scratch. This game is a perfect solution, with sets of cards for indoor fun or outdoor fun. Even better? Separate cards for kids and adults to make the game fair and fun for everyone.
Age 5 and up. Available from Amazon, $24.95.
Family Puzzles (With Small, Medium, and Large Pieces) 4 of 13The coolest puzzles for families are ones that let everyone participate. 400-piece family puzzles from Cobble Hill have small pieces at one end, larger pieces (for kids or seniors) at the other end, and medium-sized pieces in the middle. Brilliant!
Available in 22 different styles from Cobble Hill Puzzles, $14.99.
Panorama Puzzles 5 of 13These gorgeous photos from National Geographic are turned into "panorama puzzles" -- 3 separate puzzles that become one larger puzzle. One puzzle has 24 larger pieces; the middle one has 48 medium pieces, and the other end has 100 small pieces. Great for encouraging teamwork when your kids are different ages!
Available in three styles from Uncle Milton, $15.99.
American Trivia: Family Edition 6 of 13This trivia game is awesome! Family Edition cards have two sides - one with easier questions (Junior side) and the other with more difficult questions (Expert side), allowing families of all ages to play together.
Age 9 and up. Available on Amazon, $26.50.
Monopoly: Despicable Me 2 Edition 7 of 13Monopoly has made a huge comeback this year, with the exit of the Iron and the introduction of the cat. That's cool, but I think game tokens that look like Minions are going to appeal to kids even more. In the forthcoming Despicable Me 2 edition of the classic game, Gru is back with a villainous plan to take over the Monopoly game. Spin the Minion to make your move, collect Banana Bucks fast, and own all your favorite Despicable Me properties. Monopoly has never been this mischievous! A great way to introduce Monopoly to younger kids, his version is a bit scaled-down from the classic version, with the recommended age as 5 years and up. (Classic Monopoly is recommended for ages 8 and up.)
Age 5 and up. Available from Hasbro May 2013, $19.99.
Jenga Tetris 8 of 13The world's two best-known stacking game have joined forces to combine Jenga Tetris. Push, pull and stack the iconic Tetris hapes into a Jenga tower like never before. The Tetris design makes the game more complex, so this version is for age 8 and up (traditional Jenga is recommended for age 6 and up.)
Age 8 and up. Available from Hasbro August 2013, $14.99.
Bop-It Tetris 9 of 13This all-new light game challenges you to match the iconic Tetris shapes as the challenges get faster and faster. Offers hundreds of puzzles and both solo and social play.
Bop-It + Tetris = marriage made in heaven. I really didn't want to put this one down.
Ages 8 and up. Available from Hasbro August 2013, $24.99.
B-Daman Breakbomber Battlefield 10 of 13Duuuude this game is so much fun. Basically you're using little catapults to shoot marbles, knocking blocks out of a wall. Stray marbles are (pretty much) kept in play by the arena.
Fun and fast-paced, there's no turn-taking to worry about. Just keep flipping the marbles at the wall. Extra points for embracing destruction (which, let's face it, is fun) without being violent.
Will be available Fall 2013 from Hasbro, $29.99.
Twister Dance Rave 11 of 13A fun, modern take on Twister, the Twister Dance Rave lets kids learn dances and show off their moves. Songs from popular artists are included, but you can also plug your own mp3 player into the console. Follow the lights and the beat, stepping on the iconic Twister spots (not a mat) in head-to-head or freestyle play.
I love that you can plug your own mp3 player into the console. I can see this being a huge hit with my 11-year-old daughters and their friends, and would be great for parties, playdates, and any time your kids need to burn off some energy indoors.
Age 8 and up. Available Fall 2013 from Hasbro, $34.99.
Draw Something Party 12 of 13Based on Zynga's contagiously fun app game, the Draw Something Party allows you to draw on the two-sided, glowing drawing screen with either the included stylus, or just your finger. Work in teams to shout out guesses to earn coins.
Age 8 and up. Available from Hasbro August 2013, $24.99.
Words With Friends Race 13 of 13Another game based on an addictive Zynga game app, Words With Friends Race is a high-speed word game that takes the fun off your smartphone and into (gasp) real life. Forget about taking turns, just grab your tiles and build words as fast as you can in this version. I was surprised to see that this game is recommended for ages 13 and up, but then I realized that's probably because my younger kids would cry when they realize how much I will DOMINATE at this game.
Age 13 and up. Available from Hasbro August 2013, $9.99.