Roll the dice on these board games

01/05/2012 12:00 AM

01/05/2012 6:15 AM

A few weeks ago, I wrote about new board games your family might consider for the holiday season.

Since then, our family has tested, played and replayed a few more games (isn’t winter break lovely?). And because I take my role as this newspaper’s official Board Game Advocate seriously, I need to tell you about them.

So put down those new iPads, iPods and Playstations, gather ’round the kitchen table and explore one of these old-school time-wasters:

•  Quelf (Spin Master, $22) — This game of crazy questions and ridiculous stunts had our family laughing so hard, we could barely read the next card. We managed, though, because the game’s only rule is OBEY THE CARD! Five minutes into one game, I was asking my foot for permission to speak, my husband was snorting like a pig, my son was wearing a pink scarf and lipstick, and my daughter was writing a haiku about her armpit. Good stuff. (Note: The game is for ages 12 and up and a lot of fun for the right crowd. But if your friends or family members don’t appreciate random silliness, stick with Scrabble.)
•  Name Five (Endless Games, $24.99) – Similar to Anomia, which I wrote about last time, this game requires quick categorical thinking. Can you name five Tina Turner songs? Five vegetables beginning with “a”? Five things that could make a person sneeze? It’s not as easy as it seems when you’re pressed for time.
•  Ticket to Ride (Days of Wonder, $32) – My son got this beautiful game as a gift awhile back, and we resolved to play it more this year. It’s simple enough for children (the game is rated for ages 8 and up) but engaging for all ages. Players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout the United States and Canada. The longer the routes, the more points you earn.
•  Hedbanz (Spin Master, $18.99) – My daughter, Hannah, played this with two girls she babysits and pronounced it: “Harder than it looks!” The rules are simple: Attach an adjustable plastic band around your head, put a card in the clip (no peeking!), flip the timer and ask each opponent a question to help you identify your picture. Are you a hot dog? A bicycle? A cat? A shoelace? Only your opponents know, and it’s up to you to ask the right questions and solve the mystery.
•  Farkel (Legendary Games, Inc., $5 and up) – This easy, fun, addictive and travel-ready dice game is a great way to pass time while tailgating, in a hotel room or just waiting for your pot roast to cook. Best of all? It’s produced and packaged right here in Wichita. A new Farkel Game Set features a dice-rolling tray with scoring combinations printed inside.
•  Bubble Talk (Techno Source, $19.99) – Think of this as Apples to Apples with photographs instead of green (adjective) cards and quote-bubble captions instead of red (noun) cards. The judge passes a picture around and each player submits a caption that he thinks best goes with it. The judge chooses the caption he likes best – usually the funniest – and the person who played it gets the picture. First one with five pictures wins.

About Suzanne Tobias

Suzanne writes about family life on Thursdays. She has covered local news for The Eagle since 1990. Suzanne is a native of North Carolina and earned an English degree from North Carolina State University.

Find her on Twitter: @suzannetobias

Contact Suzanne at 316-268-6567 or by emailing her at

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