Sunday, November 30, 2008

Board Game Gift Suggestions

This is an article I wrote for our local homeschool group newsletter...

Many of you know that I'm not just a homeschooling dad & pastor - I'm also a board game collector. So it's not surprising that I recommend that families play board games together... and that they purchase some as gifts! (Board games, btw, do an excellent job of teaching logical thinking, reinforce math practice, and develop interpersonal skills... all wrapped in a lot of fun.)


Here's are three suggestions for the Christmas of 2008 for games your family might enjoy:

Sorry! Sliders - This is a dexterity game with pawns with small marbles in the bottom & a variety of boards & targets. Players score using Sorry!-like boards and smaller pawns. Children age 6+ have a blast with it - esp. since they can change the way the boards are set up to make 4 different games. And adults like it, too - at my last games club, we ended up playing 5-6 games of it AFTER the kids were gone. (This is available pretty much anywhere right now - the best price I've seen locally is Target - $15.)

Gulo Gulo - As homeschoolers, we're often looking for games that work with mixed age groups: parents, teens, kids & even the preschoolers in the family. Gulo Gulo is possibly the best fit I've seen for a number of reasons. First, this dexterity game (you're plucking wooden eggs from a "nest") rewards the tiny fingers of small children - and makes life difficult for those of us adults with "fat" fingers! Second, while you can be sent backward in the game, it's pretty easy to catch back up with the pack, which means less hurt feelings. Finally, the components are gorgeous. (This may require more work to find - one of my favorite online stores is run by homeschoolers - Game Surplus!)

My third suggestion isn't one game - it's a company - Haba. You may or may not have seen their stuff before (they make wooden toys & delightful furniture)... but once you get to play with their games, you'll understand why I'm so happy to recommend their stuff. We personally own over 35 different Haba games at the Jackson house. The best place to find Haba in the U.S. is (Disclaimer: I have a reviewers relationship with Haba USA & maukilo - they send me games to review & I send people their way. Their prices are as good as other online retailers so I don't feel cheesy in doing so!) maukilo has a number of their games on sale right now - here's some that we'd recommend to you!
  • Coolympics ($8.93) - a dexterity/race game with wooden Eskimos, seals & polar bears
  • Keep It Steady Mini ($4.75) - a nifty pick-up-stix variation in a tiny container
  • Marrakesh ($12.83) - a camel racing game that works great for younger (age 3-4) kids... a Jackson family favorite that is (sadly) going out of print
  • Robby Robber ($13.30) - we know this game as Corsaro... but this is a more recent edition with a different theme. Either way, it's a cooperative dice game that I liked enough to help get included in the game book I worked on.
There are other great Haba games that aren't on sale:
  • Bountiful Beetle ($18 - a dice game for small kids, esp. girls, due to the ladybug hand puppet)
  • Castle Knights ($33 - a cooperative dexterity game)
  • Dancing Eggs ($18 - a wild party game in an egg carton w/rubber eggs!)
  • Kayanak ($33 - my #1 game on my Kid Games 100 list - see below - it's an ice-fishing game that is fun for kids & "big people")


OK, a couple of more links for you to follow about board games:
  1. Like I mentioned above, I was a consultant on the new Klutz Press board game book, The 15 Greatest Board Games In The World. It's on sale ($12.65) at Amazon. You can read more about my involvement with the book in a blog post I wrote entitled Klutz & Konsulting.
  2. My blog, aka pastor guy, has a lot of different stuff on it - one of my recent series of posts is the Kid Games 100, where I'm counting down my favorite games for kids age 8 & under. Some of them are out of print & difficult to find but all of them are worth tracking down.

1 comment:

bitterbetterideaguy said...

While I'm sure it helps that you're a frequent reviewer, Maukilo just has awesome customer service.

Here's an experience I had this holiday season.