Cabbage patch kids, marbles, knuckle bones, Lego, Star Wars, Matchbox cars, Viewmaster…there are so many great toys we had as kid.
Which was your favourite?
Cabbage patch kids, marbles, knuckle bones, Lego, Star Wars, Matchbox cars, Viewmaster…there are so many great toys we had as kid.
Which was your favourite?
For some, the idea of playing a board game is met with thrill as the excitement of taking on an opponent is just too strong to pass up. For others, it dredges up dark memories of many a Christmas Day afternoon where monopoly got a little out of hand.
It seems the world of board games is springing back into life as there seem to be more and more games available to play and what’s more, they aren’t all competitive…in fact some of our favourites promote collaboration amongst players.
Here are our top five picks.
Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out. Players must work together playing to their characters’ strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. For example the Operation Specialist can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases. The Scientist needs only 4 cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal 5. But the diseases are out-breaking fast and time is running out: the team must try to stem the tide of infection in diseased areas while also towards cures. A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose. As skilled members of a disease-fighting team you must keep four deadly diseases at bay while discovering their cures. You and your teammates will travel across the globe treating infections while finding resources for cures. The clock is ticking as outbreaks and epidemics fuel the spreading plagues and you must work as a team to succeed. Can you find all four cures in time? The fate of humanity is in your hands!
If you’re interested in board games that keep you thinking and reward strategic planning with a victory, then we highly recommend you consider Power Grid. The objective in Power Grid is to be the person who can supply power to the most cities in the network when the game ends. And the end of the game is triggered by the players. Keeping an eye on the other players, their progression, their city network, their power plants, and their resources is key to doing well in the game.
Players mark pre-existing routes between cities for connection, and then bid against each other to purchase the power plants that they use to power their cities. However, as plants are purchased, newer, more efficient plants become available, so by merely purchasing, you’re potentially allowing others access to superior equipment. Players must also acquire the raw materials (coal, oil, garbage, and uranium) needed to power their plants (except for the ‘renewable’ windfarm/ solar plants, which obviously require no fuel), making it a constant struggle to upgrade your plants for maximum efficiency while still retaining enough wealth to quickly expand your network to get the cheapest routes.
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is a cooperative deck building game for 2 to 4 players that, depending on which game you’re playing, could take 30 minutes, or well over 90 minutes.
Players are taken on a journey through the seven films adapted from the books. They span the years of Harry Potter learning at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, meanwhile encountering the likes of various villains and one particular villain who-should-not-be-named. Players achieve their goals through some pretty standard deck building mechanisms and combating villains with spells, items, and companions along the way. It is a wonderful introduction to cooperative games and deck building for new gamers.
Think you have what it takes to make Mars habitable? Well well have we found the game for you!
In the 2400s, mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment is habitable. In Terraforming Mars, you play one of those corporations and work together in the terraforming process, but compete for getting victory points that are awarded not only for your contribution to the terraforming, but also for advancing human infrastructure throughout the solar system, and doing other commendable things.
The Settlers of Catan is a highly rated board game that has won several awards and members of the Booko online community highly recommend. Between 3 and 4 people can play the base edition, but a 5 to 6 player expansion is also available if you want to play with more people. You can use multiple strategies to win, and there are lots of variations to the rules. Picture yourself in the era of discoveries and after a long voyage of great deprivation, your ships have finally reached the coast of an uncharted island. Its name shall be Catan! But you are not the only discoverer. Other fearless seafarers have also landed on the shores of Catan and the race to settle the island begins!
There’s only six more weeks until we frantically decorate trees with tinsel and baubles and wrestle with tape and ribbons as we wrap pressies for all of our loved ones. But not to worry, we have your back…and can even save you from the wrapping frenzy!
We have scoured the world in search of the best games, DVDs and ebooks to give to others this Christmas. Make yourself a cup of tea, sit back and smugly do all your Christmas shopping in one big swoop! You’re very welcome.
Ka-Boom! This board game just about broke the internet when word got out that Dan and Phil were releasing a board game! Gather your friends and get ready – it’s time to drop some truth bombs. Answer questions about each other and prepare for funny facts, awkward admissions and random revelations that’ll cause explosions of laughter. Grab a pencil, pick a question and bombs away!
The explosively honest party game that helps you find out a bit more about your friends Lay out some Question Cards, pass around the Target Sheets and let those truth bombs fly Once all the questions are answered, prepare to hear awkward admissions, random revelations and explosions of laughter Fresh from the minds of YouTube legends, Dan & Phil Age 14+, 4 – 8 players.
When you play the Game of Thrones Monopoly, you win or you die…Wait! It’s not as serious as death but you will have to pay up, as the number 1 property board game meets the hit TV series Game of Thrones! Game of Thrones fans, brace yourselves, Winter is coming and so is the Game of Thrones Monopoly Collector’s Edition! Mr. Monopoly definitely took a wrong turn at Old Kent Road and ended up in Westeros. Get your friends and family together and join him in the world of Game of Thrones to see who will rule the Seven Kingdoms and sit on the Iron Throne. Each property square and title deed card contains a beautiful artwork from Game of Thrones and the center of the board has a stunning map of Westeros itself. This amazing Collector’s Edition allows players to invest in some of the most popular locations from the show, such as King’s Landing, Winterfell and Braavos. Traditional Houses and Hotels are transformed into custom Villages and Keeps.
Every legend hides a secret.
Humans are at war with the Transformers, and Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving the future lies buried in the secrets of the past and the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Now, it’s up to the unlikely alliance of Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), Bumblebee, an English lord (Anthony Hopkins) and an Oxford professor (Laura Haddock) to save the world.
Okay, to be honest I completely binge watched this and I would love to watch it all over again. This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century. As a young Elizabeth becomes Queen, she must manage major political issues and personal matters, which often clash in ways she never imagined. Created by Oscar nominee Peter Morgan, this epic tale won Golden Globes for Best Drama Series and Best Actress. Starring: Claire Foy, John Lithgow, Matt Smith.
Take an adventure in the secret world inside your smartphone to Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favourite emojis live. In this world, each Emoji has only one facial expression – except for Gene (T.J. Miller), who is bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to become “normal”, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 (James Corden) and the notorious code breaker Emoji Jailbreak (Anna Faris). Together, these unlikely heroes embark on an epic “app-venture” through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the code that will fix Gene.
The Rooster Bar by John Grisham
Law students Mark, Todd and Zola wanted to change the world – to make it a better place. But these days these three disillusioned friends spend a lot of time hanging out in The Rooster Bar, the place where Todd serves drinks. As third-year students, they realise they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specialising in student loans, the three realise they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.
So they begin plotting a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they have to leave law school, pretend they are qualified and go into battle with a billionaire and the FBI . . .
The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape
This has been sitting on Booko’s most click list for most of the year and it has been selling out in bookstores all over Australia this year – it was even the subject of major theft in some book stores – that’s how popular it was!
‘This is the only money guide you’ll ever need’ – that’s a bold claim, given there are already thousands of finance books on the shelves. So what makes this one different? Well, you won’t be overwhelmed with a bunch of ‘tips’ … or a strict budget (that you won’t follow). You’ll get a step-by-step formula: open this account, then do this; call this person, and say this; invest money here, and not there. All with a glass of wine in your hand. The prefect gift for any member of the family.
How do you extend that summertime feeling to the rest of the year? For me, summer holidays mean more time to enjoy the company of family and friends – eating, chatting and playing together. Such quality time may seem impossible within the busyness of your normal routine, but is definitely worth scheduling. Start with an activity that can involve your whole family – such as cooking, making things, playing games or reading – here are some resources to get you started. And if you are a fan of board games, don’t forget that Booko can help you find the best prices for games as well as books!
The latest version of this award-winning game comes as a set of colourful cubes. Make rows or columns of cubes by matching either the colour or shape on their faces. The cubic shape of the pieces add an extra level of game play – you can try to change the shapes you have by rolling the cubes. The basic rules are easy to learn for even young players, while some tactical thinking will ensure you achieve high scores. For 2-4 players, ages 6+
Sleeping Queens has become a family favourite after we travelled with it this summer. It is a compact card game with a fairytale / Alice in Wonderland flavour (and this special 10th Anniversary edition comes in a beautiful carry tin). The Pancake Queen, the Rose Queen and their ten queenly friends have fallen into a magical sleep and need to be woken up. A King can wake a Queen but watch out for Knights that might steal her away! Winning is based on a little skill, some maths and some luck. Sleeping Queens also shines through its gorgeous and funny art. For 2-5 players, ages 8+
Parlour Games for Modern Families shows how to play silly and raucous games with big crowds and small, and with few or no props at all. Unusual games such as Farkle and Blind Potatoes join old favourites including Chatterboxes, Murder in the Dark and Dictionary. There are chapters for word games, drawing games, card games and mystery games. Suitable for ages 4-104, these games will help to lighten up rainy days, family gatherings, even dinner parties and work functions.
We’ve all been there – that resigned feeling of doing an activity “for the kids” rather than “with the kids”. Banish Boredom promises to change all that, with suggestions on activities that are stimulating and fun for both adults and kids. From art to science experiments to excursions, Rebecca Green offers a variety of ideas as well as useful tips on how to plan, manage and extend activities. Banish Boredom is a great parenting resource for any time of year.
Listening to audiobooks turns reading into a social activity, especially useful on those long holiday car trips. Comedian-turned-superstar-author David Walliams is the creator of bestsellers including Mr Stink and Awful Auntie. Many reviewers see him as a successor to Roald Dahl, skilfully mixing over-the-top humour with poignant reflections on friendship and loneliness. David Walliams voices his audiobooks himself – but listen out for cameos by famous guests such as Matt Lucas. For immediate gratification, choose the 14-CD 5-story set ; or pre-order the Bumper-tastic 27-CD, 8-story edition , out in late January.
Cooking is a great activity to do with children – not only will there be a delicious outcome, you will also be nurturing some healthy habits and useful life skills. Cooking with Coco is a collection of recipes Anna Del Conte has cooked with her children and grandchildren (Coco, now in her teens, has become a confident and creative cook). The collection features classic dishes including baked polenta, beef rolls, basic biscuits and pear cake – sophisticated food that will appeal to both adults and children, without resorting to novelty shapes or lollies.
Okay, we all know that the festive season is looming and with that comes the inevitable obligatory “Family Board Game Fun Time”…except this year we have a doozie for you*… a list of books that will help you beat Great Aunty Myrtle.
*actually these make great gifts for any board game fanatic but in the spirit of competition, don’t gift the books of the games you are likely to play…or at least read them first!
Let’s get something straight, Monopoly is not a game of chance. There are ways to actually get Mayfair and Parklane first rather than end up with Stand and Whitehall…every single time!
One of the principal functions of this book is to explain and clarify the rules of Monopoly, and show how to avoid some of the obstacles that get in the way of just playing the game. It also catalogs some of the many strategies that operate during a good game, but which most players seem unconscious of, even when they themselves are using the strategies to excellent advantage. There are definite techniques by which you can improve your chances of winning.
The Ultimate Trivial Pursuit Question & Answer Book by Puzzle Wright Press
We all know a cousin who thinks they know everything and seem to be able to fill that little round disc with every piece of pie before you have even managed to get the pink entertainment one! So this book is definitely for you.
Trivial Pursuit is a game unlike any other because it tests your knowledge of events that have all happened outside the realm of the game so you have to actually study to win this one. Luckily, this book is a collection of over twenty-five years of trivia questions featured providing questions and answers in the fields of geography, entertainment, history, arts & literature, science & nature, and sports & leisure.
Total Diplomacy: The Art of Winning RISK by Ehsan Honary
Risk is a complex board game involving both luck and skill. The goal is simple: take over the world. Despite this simple goal, the game is very complicated and dynamic. Players attempt to take over the world by eliminating all other players who are eliminated when they lose all of their troops on the game board. Players must be skilled in troop deployment and must be aware of the underlying probabilities present in the game.
This book aims to teach you how to beat all relatives this Christmas in your own way. But the book’s lessons evolve outside of the game, learn how to use diplomacy effectively to get what you want in life and apply this knowledge to negotiate more successfully and be in control.
Collins Little Book of Scrabble Secrets by Collins Dictionaries
Inside the covers of this little book lie the secrets of Britain’s only ever Scrabble World Champion. Scrabble is played by millions but mastered by very few and unless you’re a Scrabble player who likes to lose, this book is a must. In it Mark Nyman spells out the most useful two letter words, what to do when you have a case of irritable vowel syndrome, strategies for how to get off to a flying start and lists our language’s strangest and most unbelievably useful words. Between these golden tips come anecdotes and words of wisdom from a lifetime at the top. Be careful who you give it to though.
Okay so this isn’t technically about Twister…nor is it a book… but it will certainly help you put left foot blue and right hand yellow without spilling any of your Christmas Mince pie or falling over Uncle Jo.
Bring on Family Board Game Fun Time!
When it comes to spending time together as a family, the habit is often to jump in the car and get ‘out and about.’ Children want unhurried time with their family where you can just take pleasure in each other’s company. Quite often, the actual activity isn’t that important. Bearing that in mind, board games have come back into vogue and also have a secondary benefit of teaching social skills such as how to win, lose, take turns and comprehend rules together. Some board games are particularly useful in boosting number, shape and letter recognition, as well as hand and eye coordination in children.
We may have been brought up on old favourites such as Monopoly, Cluedo and Scrabble as children, but there are a fantastic range of new board games on the market that you can play together, all available on Booko. Here are some of our recommendations:
The aim of this game is for players to claim train routes between European cities in turn-of-the-Century Europe. There are different coloured routes linking cities such as Paris, Moscow and London . Players must collect train cards that match the colour of the route to win it. A light-hearted family game, this is best played with 4-5 players. This game is fun and easy to understand for younger players.
Part of the larger series of Carcassonne games, ‘Carcassonne Over Hill and Dale’ allows players to be farmers who care for animals on their large farms and cultivate the fruits and vegetables in their fields. Players must take turns selecting tiles and fit them with the current landscape. Players can claim control of roads or fields and win points when these are completed. This game is more of a relaxing, thinking game than high energy.
Pandemic Legacy has been reviewed against hundreds of board games and crowned ‘The Best Board Game Ever Made.’ Such an impressive title, but the subject matter is slightly depressing: the game is based on a fight between four disease specialists who travel the world trying to find a cure to four different diseases that threaten to bring the world to the brink of disaster. Each month will bring new surprises and your actions in each game will have repercussions on the next. The game is played co-op style and is won by curing diseases. The thinking man or woman’s board game.
A card game played using 110 cards, ‘Timeline: Music and Cinema’ is based on players placing their cards in the correct chronological order of an historical event. The winner is the person who places all of their cards in the correct date order. Great for lovers of pop and historical culture. Ages 8+.
Mysterium is a cooperative game involving ghosts, a psychic and a murder. All players bar one are psychics, spending time in a haunted house after a murder has taken place. The ghost must guide the psychics to the correct murder weapon, crime scene and culprit as quickly as possible. The final round involves psychics deciphering a single dream to tell them who committed the murder. This game is loads of fun and an easy to play card game.
Dixit Memories is the latest offering from the Internationally best-selling Dixit series. A card-based game for 3-6 players, there are 84 cards to the series. Each of the cards contains surrealist images from artists Carine Hinder and Jerome Pelissier. The cards contain images of exotic landscapes and beautiful creatures. The active player must provide a clue to what their chosen card is. The remaining players must then select one of their cards that best represents the clue from their pack. The players must then vote on what they believe the active player’s card is. We were enchanted by the beautiful artwork on the playing cards.
For more options on the board games available through Booko, visit our Pinterest page.