So Frankly...

So Frankly...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Games in the Car – While Waiting!

Like many people, our family can be waiting for our turn, whether it is at a restaurant, the doctor’s office, or some other place.  Like many gamers, my solution is to have games available to play.  I have seen “car kits” put together by gamers to put in their automobiles, but I was never completely convinced on the solution.  I guess I was looking for something neat and tidy, and many of these kits were in plastic storage boxes; the kind I really don’t like in the car.

Then I saw someone had used a backgammon case for their car kit.  Whoa!  What a great idea!  After all, backgammon is a great game that many people can play, and our son needs to learn how to play.  I decided that was the way to go.  I grabbed our backgammon set (the full size one, not one of the two travel sets we own!) and opened it up.  The pieces and dice have their own space.  Aside from the dice cups, the playing area can hold a few items.

What to put in it?  What games should I carry?  I ended up with the following games in my car kit:

  • BackgammonKind of obvious, but worth mentioning if only for to make sure I count right at the end of this post!
  • Chess.  I have a small Drueke chess set from around WWII that fits nicely inside.  Chess is my favorite game, how can I not have a set in the car kit?
  • Brandubh.  This is sometimes referred to as Irish Chess, though that’s not entirely accurate.  The game predates chess in Ireland though, and is related to a family of tafl games that is various traced back to the Vikings, Welsh, Saxons, and Irish.  It is a print-n-play (that you print at home and make in a small amount of time), with aquarium/floral stones of different colors used as the pieces.  Printed on card stock, the board takes no room, and the 13 stones take very little.
  • Zombie in my Pocket.  This game has been around for a few years as a print-n-play game.  Zombies are chasing you through a home that you have never seen before, but which you know has the talisman inside which needs to be buried in a mystical place in the back yard.  This is silly, solitaire fun that can keep me entertained for a little while.  It easily fits inside a 3x5 plastic baggie, and then into the car kit.
  • Standard Playing Cards.  We are set for solitaire and two-person games, but there are three of us in the family.  A deck of cards is also a pretty obvious choice, since it’s essentially a whole bunch of games in a pocket sized packet that will work with any number of players.  With that goes a…
  • Cribbage Board.  This can be played multi-player.  The only problem with this is than I am the only one who knows how to play.  That can be fixed though.  To conserve even more space, this tiny folding board fits inside the backgammon dice cups when they are placed top-to-top.  Not much else would fit in there.
  • Bandits.  This game might be taken out of the car kit and go permanently into a Scouting bag of games.  The younger Scouts seem to love it, but it seems a little light.  While my wife likes lighter games, this one isn’t her style.  I will look for a replacement if I do.
  • Bananagrams.  The whole family likes this game; I reviewed it a while back.  This game is a little thick to go in, but I will push it a little bit.  It might help if I took it out of the banana-shaped bag, but what’s the fun in that?

That makes eight different games that can be in this kit.  Yet, as the infomercial says, “Wait, there’s more!”  With these components there are a few more games that can be played, and that’s not counting standard deck card games:

  • Liar’s Dice.  Many people who are aware of this game know it through the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  This is a centuries old game with many variations; my favorite is Mia
  • Fox and Hounds.  This is really a checkers variant, but could easily be played with the chess pawns. 
  • Lines of Action, Crossingsthese are games published in the great book, A Gamut of Games by the late, great Sid Sackson (who also designed Acquire, another favorite of mine.)  You might have to use more of the chess pieces, or draw a checkerboard to use with the backgammon disks.  This might be a little ugly, but what the heck.

Promotional Image for Treehouse Pieces
There are other systems to include too.  There is a whole set of games surrounding Treehouse (aka Icehouse) pieces for example.

As you pack the car for your summer outings, what will be in it?  Don’t forget the games as you head out of the house!  However you pack them, in a box or in a backgammon case, having a few games along might be the difference between your time being fun in the sun or bland in the sand.

It’s Your Move!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Zooloretto Mini-Expansions

I purchased min-expansions shortly after I received the game as a gift.  Since I finally played the base game this weekend, I thought I would punch out those expansions.  Some of them look interesting and shouldn't really add much in the way of rules.  This is a good thing for a lighter game used to introduce games to new people (a "gateway" game).  It keeps the game fresh for those who have played it a lot without complicating the game for new folks.

I also discovered we missed a rule in Zooloretto this weekend that would have put more money in the gameplay.  We will have to play again.

It's Your Move!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Game for the Whole Herd - Zooloretto

This weekend our gaming group met, and we featured the Spiel des Jahres winning games I own.  I have owned Zooloretto for several years, but had never managed to get it to the table.  Our group has recently (and suddenly!) grown to over ten players, some of whom are not familiar with hobby games.  I had heard Zooloretto worked well as an introductory game, so it was time to give it a try.  The game is thematically fun, has good components and has simple and elegant gameplay.

Image by tiggerix
In Zooloretto, each player is attempting to build the most complete zoo; the zoo that would attract the most visitors.  (No visitors were harmed in the playing of this game.)  Players are rewarded for filling their animal pens, building vending stalls, and expanding their zoo for more.  However, having too many animals and vending stalls is costly; they are stored in the barn and reduce your chance at winning. 

This game has solid, quality components.  Coins are wooden disks painted gray.  The animals, stalls and random coins are represented by tiles.  Coins on tiles are worth the same as the disks.  Each player has their own board to play on, which represents their zoo.  These are not the full thickness of a normal game board, but they are certainly sufficient.  There are wooden tile racks, referred to as “delivery trucks”, which are also included.  Each rack holds three tiles.  There is no real “awesomeness factor”, but the art is certainly of good quality.  If there was one drawback, it was that some of the players had trouble telling which animals were which on opposing zoo boards.  While the instructions discuss setting out three draw piles for the tiles, a draw bag is included so that is handled.

The game is played over a series of rounds.  The end is determined by how long the tiles last, which is impacted by how many players are in the game, and how full the trucks are upon delivery.  On their turn, each player chooses to perform one (not all) of three actions:
·         Draws a tile from the bag, reveals it to be an animal, coin or vending stall, and places it on a delivery truck;
·         Picks up a delivery truck, which may or may not be full.
·         Performs one of several money actions, which are primarily about expanding your zoo and moving animals around.
The catch is that once you have taken a truck, you get no more turns this round!  That’s where the biggest decision point is:  do I wait to receive a full truck, or do I take a truck with tiles I want early to make sure I get those tiles.  (Hmmm, or do I take the truck early to make sure you don’t get the tiles you want!)

Image by Chris Norwood
After everyone has taken a truck, everyone simultaneously places their tiles: animals in their pens, vending stalls on vending sites, and coins in with the money they already have.  If you have a male and a female, they immediately produce a baby – a free animal!  If you don’t have space for any animals or stalls they go in the barn.  Of course, you can only have one animal type in each pen, which is what drives the truck decision I mentioned above.  Now the next round begins.

After the game is over, points are scored.  Points are given for how well you have filled your pens and built vending stalls.  Points are taken away for animals and vending stalls stuck in your barn. 

As you can see from the theme and the overview of the rules, this is a game well suited for children and those who dislike direct confrontation.  As a result, it makes a good casual game, but it makes a superb family game.  I completely understand why this game won the Spiel des Jahres.  It is definitely a game that I will be pulling out for certain friends of ours for whom building a zoo would make a fun game. 

There are expansions, quite a few of which I own but haven’t played.  When I get a chance I will review them.

Vital Statistics:

                Ages:                     8 and up (little ones will want in; they may need Mom or Dad)
                Time:                     45 minutes
                Players:                 3-5

It’s Your Move!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Qwirkle wins Spiel des Jahres; 7 Wonders Kennerspiel!

Recently I wrote about the Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres awards.  This is just a quick nod to the winners:

Spiel des Jahres: Qwirkle
I have to say I am really happy about this, although I didn't expect it.  I certainly believe this is a great game; I was pulling for this one.  I reviewed it a few weeks ago - check it out.

Promotional Image by Asmodee
Kennerspiel des Jahres: 7 Wonders
I expected this from the buzz this game created.  It was very hard to get a copy; my order took a couple of months to arrive.  I still need to get it to the table though!

Congratulations to the winners!

It's Your Move!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Good Camping Game ≠ Good Scout Game

I spent the first half of this week at Boy Scout Summer Camp with our troop.  It was a great experience, despite the rain.  There is no better way to see how the future of our society will react to adversity than watching patient, yet determined young men (or women, your mileage may vary) work through mud, wet gear and soaked wood to build a fire in the pouring rain.  It makes me proud to think maybe I have some slight influence for good there.

Yet, all is not perfect.  One of the things I learned in the course of this week is that games that are good for camping, which I have discussed before, are not necessarily good for Scouts.  I had a deck of cards and several games with me at camp, three of which came out: Hive, Bandits, and one of my travel chess sets.  All were put to good use; putting them away was the issue.

Image by David Detwiler
Looking around the table, it was easy to see that playing cards were not given much respect.  In fact, the deck of playing cards that I brought had a few bent cards after just an hour.  I don’t particularly care about that; standard playing cards are cheap and easy to replace.  However, Bandits is a card game that uses its own cards, not standard cards, and would not be as easy to replace.  The game never really caught on in the gaming world, since it is a little simplistic and without a whole lot of choices.  Those facts make it great for young Scouts with little gaming experience; however, it also makes it a game that didn’t stay in print.  If I want it for future events, I need to keep it safe.  It went to bed when I did.

A took a bit more of a chance with my chess set.  Some of the boys were still up when I retired, and chess, unlike Bandits, is a well known game.  One of the new boys was playing, but with an older Scout, so I figured it would probably be okay.  I was wrong.  One knight was lost in the mud.  Since the pieces are less than a half inch tall, and the knight was maroon in color, it was never found.  The new Scout felt pretty badly, but disappointingly the older Scout was pretty cavalier about it.  I knew it was a risk, and I chose to take it, so I am not horribly upset.  I guess for each of those determined and patient Scout there is one who still needs work.  Well, they are boys after all.

Hive is always a huge hit! (Image by Richard van Vugt)
With Hive, I am taking an even bigger risk.  I left it at camp to be returned to me at next week’s troop meeting.  This game was once again a huge hit, and several more boys were introduced to it and loved it.  I left it with a new Scout, and left an older Scout to follow behind him.  The pieces are big and few in number, so I am confident I will get it all back.  Honestly, it was too good an opportunity to teach responsibility to one and leadership to another, so I couldn’t pass it up.  The senior Scout loves games, so I think he will place a little more value on the game coming back whole.
What makes a good Scout game?  First of all, it really needs to be fairly durable (or disposable), just as any other camping game.  Secondly, it really needs to have fairly simple rules.  Some of these boys find Egyptian Ratscrew, a variant of Slapjack, to be a good game, and that (along with Pokemon cards) may be the limit of their gaming experience.  A game like Pandemic may be asking too much, even if it is a good teamwork game.
I will be keeping a separate game bag for my Scout games.  What about you?  After all,
It’s Your Move!

P.S. - Yes, I know that right now Brandubh is also showing as a game I played recently.  I played it with one of the camp councilors.  Afterward I gave it to him, since they can never have too many games and they may need something to do on a rainy evening too.  It's an ancient game that can be made from a board printed on cardstock and aquarium stones.  Let me know if you are interested, and I can shoot you a copy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Invest your most precious commodity - Time

For the first part of this week I am at Scout Camp.   In my absence, I have asked follow game blogger Trent Howell to post his thoughts as a guest.  A little about Trent...

Trent Howell and family believe that every family should spend more time together playing games. Like most families, Trent and his wife try to find balance among all the activities pulling family members in different directions. By making it a priority to sit down and play games together, they’re able to reconnect with one another in a fun way that strengthens everyone involved. And to encourage other families around the world to enjoy the benefits of spending more face-to-face time with their families, they created The Board Game Family.

Through The Board Game Family, the 6 members of the Howell family share their love of games by publishing video reviews of fun family board games and card games as well as writing articles related to the benefits of family game time. But unlike other reviewers, The Board Game Family reviews come mostly from the children. It’s the kids that describe in the video reviews why they like to play the game.

Trent hopes that by sharing their enjoyment of games with others, more families will be encouraged to strengthen their own family relationships - and will have fun along the way. So check out to see what games might be good for your family’s game table.

If you were asked about any recent investments you’ve made, your mind might immediately turn to stocks, bonds, businesses, real estate, precious metals or some other large monetary purchase. Most likely no one would be surprised by that type of answer because that’s what we’re conditioned to think of.

Yet when asked at the end of one’s life what they wished they had done more of, most people don’t typically say money. What they wish is that they had spent more time with their family members.

But is it really "spending" time at all?
When we think about money, "spend" typically means we’ve passed our money on to someone else - we no longer have it. But when we "spend" time with those we love, we aren’t losing it at all. Instead we seem to be filled even more.

And that sounds a lot more like "investing" than "spending".

Time = Money?
You may have heard the phrase "time is money." However one of the biggest differences between money and time is that we can find ways to get more money. But no matter how talented we are, we just can’t find ways to increase the amount of time we have each day.

In a very real sense, our time is much more valuable than money. Yet we frequently hear stories of parents who buy things for their kids to make up for the lack of time they spend with them. They spend money because it’s easier than spending time.

But what if we can find a way to make the most of both our money and time?

Board games = great investment of Money and Time
Board games are a great way to invest both your money and your time. First, they don’t cost a lot of money. You can find a ton of great board games or card games for less than $30. Second, they don’t take a lot of time. But most important of all, they provide a fantastic return that keeps giving more and more every time you use it.

Sure we can spend $50-60 taking our family to the latest blockbuster movie. And we can have a great time and enjoy the experience together. But after those couple hours of staring at a screen are over, they’re over. But with a board game - we get to spend the time together over and over again. And in the process we’re talking to each other, seeing each other smile, and teaching values along the way.

Board games can provide a truly rich environment for investing time with your family.

Our time really is our most precious commodity.
The great thing about investing time in our family relationships is that our time spent with family can also generate our most precious memories.

Thanks to Trent for filling in for me.  Next time I (Frank), will be back, but until then

It's Your Move!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kids Games – Yes!; Movies – No!

It would make perfect sense to think a blog on casual and family gaming would include children’s games.  So, why haven’t I reviewed any?  Simply put, my son who is going on 14 years old has outgrown them, so I am really unfamiliar with any of the current crop of kid’s (under 10 years old) games.  I have reviewed Hey! That’s My Fish, but primarily because it works so well as an adult game too.  I may eventually do others, but it probably will never be a prominent feature.  My apologies.

It's a simple logo, but has lots of good info.
There are places to find out about this stuff, though.  The guys over at FatherGeek frequently cover children’s games on their blog.  However, if you are looking for a review site, rather than a blog, I would recommend KidGameRatings.  Here you can find games by age group, by name or search in various ways.  Like BoardGameGeek (BGG), it relies on user ratings, so these are real parents rating them.

Right on the front page is a short list of games that are appropriate for 2-3 year-olds, 4-5 year-olds, 6-7 year-olds, 8-9 year-olds, and kids aged 10 or more or 12 or more.  Just these lists of seven games in each age bracket make a quick birthday or Christmas list.  The last three lists are great games that really aren’t “kids” games, but also for adults.  (This is somewhat true of the 6-7 year-old list too.)  In fact, I own quite a few of them and trot them out for my game group. 

Clicking on “more” at the bottom of any of those lists brings up the search page.  In each case, it shows the same thing: all games sorted by minimum player age.  However, that’s also where it gets fun.  On this page, the viewer can put in a minimum age, a minimum rating, and a minimum number of ratings and get a more customized report.  There are headers that can be clicked for sorting, and a link is provided to each game’s BGG page. 

The actual “Search” page allows you to search for a specific game name or publisher name.  This is handy for finding out if you really want to give your child that copy of the Finding Nemo game, or if you will regret it.  Unfortunately, the database is not all-inclusive.  You won’t find Lucky Ducks, or the hint that the game goes off incessantly in the box and will drive everyone insane!

Nonetheless, the site is a wealth of information.  As fast as kids grow older (supposedly it’s at the same rate as parents, but I’m not sure I believe that!), the games they will be interested in will change quickly.  Soon it will be time to start the indoctrination  introduction to our adult gaming world.  They can play the “kid’s” games with their younger siblings or friends.

I only have one word of caution.  It was almost enough to keep me from writing about this site, but in the end, it’s not really about gaming, so I am okay with it.  This site also recommends the movie My Neighbor Totoro, which is AWFUL!  We rented it years ago, and it became a standing joke.  Really.  It ranks at the bottom with Cloverfield, which I saw last week and is easily the worst movie I have seen in the past ten years.

So read for the game reviews, but NOT the movies.

It’s Your Move!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kinderspiel and Kennerspiel des Jahres

Recently I wrote about the Spiel des Jahres, which is the German game of the year award for family games.  This annual award focuses on the types of game I write about in this blog, but is not the only award handed out.  The group that hands out the Spiel des Jahres also awards the Kinderspiel des Jahres and the Kennerspiel des Jahres.

The Kinderspiel des Jahres is the children’s game of the year, and spotlights those games with the 4- to 6-year old child in mind.  Many of the games under consideration never make it “across the pond”, so we in the States never see them.  I would like to see more of them available; I am pretty certain there are a few that bridge the gap between children’s and family games.

The Kennerspiel des Jahres will be far more interesting.  I am not sure how the term directly translates to English, but the purpose of the award is to spotlight games of interest to hobby gamers.  This year is the first year for this award, which was created (at least as I understand it) to avoid giving away “special” awards year after year, which has been happening of late.  These games will be available in the US, though only through specialty stores.  This year’s games include 7 Wonders, Lancaster and Strasbourg.  Many people thought 7 Wonders would be a Spiel des Jahres nominee, since it is very much a family game.  From reading the rules, it does look like the first game would be tough; there are a lot of icons on the cards.  That fact may have pushed it up to the next category.

I only have 7 Wonders, and it hasn’t made it to the gaming table yet.  (Almost, but not quite!)  Of the games either nominated for this year’s awards or recommended (those not quite good enough to get a nomination), I have three:  7 Wonders, Qwirkle (which I reviewed) and Blockers.  I will ask someone to bring Forbidden Island, rounding the month’s game session to plays of four different games.  At that point, I can review 7 Wonders properly and let you know what I think.

My monthly game session will occur about the time the awards are announced, and I will post the winners.  Until then…

It’s Your Move

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Take this game and shelve it!

My apologies to everyone for being so late this time.  I normally try to post on Friday, but work overwhelmed my gaming life.

I have to say that I am one of those lucky guys who’s wife supports his hobby.  Not only does fix food for my monthly gaming sessions, but she plays games when she isn’t too busy with other stuff.  However, the strongest support she gives is in providing me shelf space.  In fact, she found the shelving units we use for games.  It’s a little industrial in its look, but it holds the games wonderfully.  There are several things I love about these units: they have more than sufficient strength, they are deep, and they come with many shelves in each unit.

Strength?  Really?  We are talking about games, right?  Yes, and some of these are heavy.  Additionally, I don’t have to worry about the poker chip carrousel, which is a heavy old wooden one that my parents have.  Additionally, if I were ever to get into miniature wargaming (heaven help me!), they accumulated lead figures would be fine.  In the end, this is not so much a great thing as just a potential issue relieved.

Depth is far more important.  These shelves are 18 inches deep, which allows more games to go on the shelves.  “Big box” games can go on the shelves with the short side showing, and that is a great space saver in the long run.  These big boxes often are holding games with a lot of theme, which tend to be the kind of games I love.  With normal bookshelves, which are 12 inches deep, those games must be placed lengthwise.  This is not only space consuming, but also ugly. 

Lastly, and most importantly, there are six shelves per unit.  Now, if these shelves are so strong, why does it matter?  While the shelves can hold the weight, game boxes cannot.  Stacking games more than two high is a little risky.  Unless they are exactly the same size, so that the sides can hold the weight, the larger box will “dish”, or become concave.  (Some people insist that games should be stored vertically to prevent this.)  Many shelves allows better use of the space when stacking two high.  (Okay, three in a pinch.)

We added a table to the space, and now I have my gaming “room”.  We don’t always play there, but when a game takes a long time, we can leave it set up to finish later.  I really love the space.  My wife thinks it looks a little to “industrial”, but I like it!

Where are your games stored?  A closet?  Shelves?  Regardless, it warrants consideration.  As your game collection grows (and it will!), give careful consideration to where you store them.  It will save your games a lot of wear and tear, make them easy to get to, and visible when you are choosing what to play.  Where will you keep them?

It's Your Move!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mass Market Marvel – Qwirkle

What in the world is a Qwirkle?  You know the old saying: “He’s a psycho, you’re eccentric and I just have a little Qwirkle!”  No, can’t say I’ve heard it either…

Promotional image from Mindware
Qwirkle is a game for two to four players that has been described as Scrabble with shapes and colors.  Not exactly how I would phrase it, but nonetheless it gives a mental picture of what each player is doing.  It has been available at Target for quite some time, and has made its way to K-mart in my area, which is fantastic.  Why?  Because it is a great game that won the 2007 Mensa Select award and is now up for the 2011 Spiel des Jahres.  It is fun, accessible for all ages, and develops pattern recognition skills.  However, do not mistake this for an “educational game”; this game is quite a bit of fun!  What follows is a look at the pieces, an overview of game play, and a bit on accessibility.

The components to Qwirkle consist of black blocks with six shapes painted in six colors on the “face” side.  The combination of color and shape gives thirty six individual blocks, each of which is repeated three times for a total of 108 pieces.  There is no board; the only other component is the draw bag.  The heft of all of these blocks means this game is a great game to play outdoors.  Nothing will blow away in the wind.  I probably wouldn’t take it camping (and certainly not backpacking!) due to the size and weight of the game, but my wife and I have played at the football field during our son’s practice with just a little folding game table and some chairs.  Playing this on the porch on a cool summer evening would be great!

Game play is equally simple.  On a players turn, they choose from one or more tiles in their “hand” and play them together to the table.  The goal is to create lines of one color with all six shapes, or lines of one shape with all six colors in a crossword style pattern.  One point is awarded for each tile (including already placed tiles) in the newly enlarged line.  If two tiles are added to a line of two existing tiles, the player will receive four points.  If they manage to add to more than one line, points are awarded for all of them.  If the play completes a line so that all six colors or shapes are present (called a Qwirkle!) the player receives an additional six points.  Then, tiles a drawn from the draw bag to replenish the “hand”.  The player with the highest score when blocks run out is the winner.  It’s easy to see where the comparisons to Scrabble come to mind.
Promotional image from Mindware

The game box says that children down to six years old can play, and that sounds about right.  Getting a typical 6-year-old to sit for 45 minutes at one game might be a trick though.  Nonetheless, Qwirkle is a game that we have taught lots of people to play, some of whom had never played games even as kids.  Occasionally, there will be a misplay by a new player, but I still sometimes make an illegal move by mistake, so I can’t complain there.  Those moves are normally caught by someone, before it becomes an issue.

This is a great game that I highly recommend.  It is priced very reasonably; great for a game on a budget. Particularly for family play, this game is fantastic.  

Vital Statistics:

                Ages:                     6 and up
                Time:                     45 minutes
                Players:                 2-4 (but we have pushed this to six players!)

It’s Your Move!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Spiel des Jahres

Recently, the Spiel des Jahres nominees were announced.  What is the Spiel des Jahres, and why do we care?  I am glad you asked.

According to BoardGameGeek, the Spiel des Jahres (SdJ) is the “most prestigious award for board and card games, is awarded annually by a jury of German game critics.”  To be honest, sales statistics would definitely support this, since winning the SdJ will easily boost sales by a factor of 50!  There are other awards, such as the Mensa Award, but the SdJ is the one I look to see on a game box.   In order to qualify, the game must be published in Germany in the year it is nominated.  That’s specifically interesting here because this year’s nominees include a game that has been in the United States for several years, but only now published in Germany.

This year, the nominees are:
·         Forbidden Island – which I briefly reviewed a couple of months ago.
·         Asara – of which I have no personal knowledge.
·         Qwirkle – which I own and my wife and I both really enjoy.

Qwirkle has been available in the United States for some time, and at Target stores for at least a year.  I plan to review it in the next few posts.  I would be happy with either Forbidden Island or Qwirkle as the winner.

For casual and family gamers, this award is the mark of a game that’s an excellent choice.   I own several of these games, and all of the awardees I have played are truly fun games with meaningful choices.  At the same time, they are games that are accessible to nearly everyone.  I have reviewed one already, Ticket to Ride (2004), and we love it enough to have three versions and three expansions!  Other winners we own include Dominion (2009), Zooloretto (2007), Carcassonne (2001), The Settlers of Catan (1995), and Rummikub (1980).  Of these, I can personally and heartily recommend all but Zooloretto (only because I haven’t played it yet!) and Rummikub (which is good, but which can’t compete against so many other games). 

When the winner is announced, I will let everyone know.  In the meantime, it’s a pretty safe bet that any of the three nominees are great games to enjoy with your friends and family.  So pick one up from your favorite gaming source, and then…

It’s Your Move!