The Baltimore Sun Has 10 Board Game Gift Ideas
Mike Amos
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The Baltimore Sun is running their gift guides and my wife drew my attention to the one on board games. There are some good, some bad and some ugly here but I thought I would share. Click here to see the original.

Feel free to comment or add other thoughts.
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1. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:196] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Mike Amos
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What the Sun has to say:
Info: 3-6 players, age 8+, $35, asmodee.com

Goal: Use subtle sentences to describe the theme of your card, then stack it with other cards. Win points if your opponents can't guess your card. For example: You can use the theme "Things aren't as bad as they seem" for a drawing of people huddled under umbrellas, oblivious of a sunny day.

Why we like it: We dig storytelling games, and this one has a great playing surface and illustration style.

My thoughts: This seems like a great start. A newish game with an interesting idea behind it that is accessible to all levels of gamer.
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2. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Mike Amos
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What the Sun has to say:
Info: 2-4 players, ages 10+, $45, riograndegames.com

Goal: Quickly turn your deck of minerals and lowly estates into gold and provinces to create the biggest dominion of monarchs in this easy-to-learn, hard-to-master strategy game.

Why we like it: Even after repeated playings, it remains an addictive challenge that we can't get enough of.

My Thoughts: This is the game that caused my wife to mention the list to me. We've been playing Dominion a lot lately. Seeing it on this list really got my hopes up. What will we see next, TtR, Settlers?
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3. Board Game: The Green Game [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
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What the Sun has to say:
Info: 2-6 players, age 8+, $27, tdcgames.com

Goal: Reduce your carbon footprint by correctly answering questions about saving energy.

Why we like it: The game is secondary to learning many useful, interesting, well-researched facts. Did you know creating a Web site with a white background causes computer monitors viewing the site to use more energy?

My Thoughts: WTF?! We were on such a roll. Ok, I'll assume this was the political pick, we'll get back on track in a sec.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Green Game featured is not this one, it's one that doesn't appear to be in the database.
 
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4. Board Game: Jishaku [Average Rating:4.90 Overall Rank:15184]
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What the Sun has to say:

Jishaku
(Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune / November 24, 2009)
Info: 2+ players, age 8+, $20, playjishaku.com

Goal: Players alternate putting magnets on the playing board. If during your turn, magnets on the playing board are drawn to and stick to your magnet, you must take all the connected magnets. First person to empty his hand wins.

Why we like it: Beautiful magnets and simple, compelling game play makes for unending fun.

My thoughts: I don't know this one but magnet games always seem cool. They rarely work out so well but I can totally see this as a legit gift idea.
 
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5. Board Game: Mindflex [Average Rating:4.95 Overall Rank:14534]
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What the Sun has to say:
Info: 1-4 players, age 8+, $80, mindflexgames.com

Goal: Strap on a headset, and seemingly mentally control the speed of a fan that keeps a ball aloft. Try to negotiate the ball over, under and through obstacles on the board.

Why we like it: It's challenging to control your stress level to govern the ball's height. After a week, the game might get old, even if you do change the obstacle course. Put it out of sight (and out of mind) for a while, and it plays like new.

My thoughts: meh. I can see this one making the list. It's got TV commercials and all. They didn't say the games HAD to be board games but this one seems to be treading in a grey zone based on the established motif of this list.
 
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6. Board Game: Pictureka! [Average Rating:5.43 Overall Rank:14351] [Average Rating:5.43 Unranked]
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What the Sun has to say:
Info: 2+ players, age 6+, $20, hasbro.com

Goal: Find objects -- witches on a broom, for example -- hidden on this lovely illustrated board, whose panels can change during the game.

Why we like it: Gamers young and old can play together, and even after a year of playing it, we're still having a blast.

My thoughts: Ok, this seems like it could be fun for the whole family. Why I'm not seeing Say Anything! or Wts & Wagers I don't know. I mean, North Star is a Maryland company.
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7. Board Game: Ratuki [Average Rating:5.25 Overall Rank:14533]
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What the Sun says:
Info: 2-5 players, age 7+, $13, usaopoly.com

Goal: In this card game, empty your hand by adding to a deck of cards that is increasing or decreasing in sequence. Be fast; your opponents are trying to unload their cards at the same time.

Why we like it: Recognize-and-react games lead to peals of laughter, as you try to keep your eyes on the changing deck and the cards in your hand.

My thoughts: This looks like a basic speed game, come on now, we had Dominion on this list, you can do better.
 
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8. Board Game: Telestrations [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:225]
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What the Sun says:
Info: 4-8 players, age 13+, $30, usaopoly.com

Goal: Each player draws an item or scene -- a satellite dish, say -- and passes his or her pad to the person on the left, who writes down what she thinks she sees (if she writes "satellite dish," hurray; if she writes "school bell," uh-oh). The pads pass around the table until they return to each original owner. Max points for good guesses.

Why we like it: It's a hilarious written version of the telephone game that will liven up any party.

My thoughts: This looks like fun, I'm still feeling bad about the lack of North Star games.

NOTE: Weird no picture. I'll try to add one when I'm done here.
 
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9. Board Game: Vatican: The Board Game [Average Rating:4.92 Unranked]
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What the Sun has to say:
Info: 2-6 players, age 15+, $40, vaticanboardgame.com

Goal: Overcome luck (and the game's complicated, flawed instructions) to be elected pope in this unusual game that takes too long to play but somehow winds up being intriguing.

Why we like it: It's not a great game, but there's a lot for Catholic school kids young and old to learn and enjoy.

My thoughts: I quote from the Sun "It's not a great game". Really, then why is it on your list of game ideas?
 
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10. Board Game: The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:736]
Mike Amos
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What the Sun has to say:
Info: 8-18 players, age 10+, $13, asmodee.com

Goal: You're a villager trying to avoid werewolves or a werewolf who kills by night and tries to disguise his identity by day. Using deduction, villagers debate and try to guess the werewolves, as werewolves try to throw villagers off the trail.

Why we like it: This old, quick-play card game is new to us -- we found it at the recent Chicago Toy and Game Fair -- and too much fun to keep off our list.

My thoughts: Werewolf games are generally popular, this seems like a nice one to throw in. I guess we'll call this, ending on an up note.
 
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11. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$ [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:887]
Mike Amos
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This one isn't from the Sun but being that it's Baltimore I felt compelled to toss this in the mix. Ca$h and Gun$, a great pick for any Baltimorian.
 
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